Recorded November 3, 2023

Roots Run Deep

Collective and Individual Trauma in Palestine/Israel

A live online conversation with Dr. Gabor Maté


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“No society can understand itself without looking at its shadow side”
– Dr. Gabor Maté

No statement, no words can speak to the immense human suffering, the devastation and the horrendous humanitarian crisis intensifying in the Middle East. The current tragedy is awakening existential fear, acute grief and deep despair. Unspeakable atrocities have left many in a state of deep shock and in need of support.

We are grieving with those of you experiencing the devastating loss of loved ones at this time. Although the conflict may seem far away for many, it has touched us nonetheless. Some of us might feel scared, others enraged, others paralyzed. Many feel shaken by the real possibility of a larger-scale war bleeding into the world.

Such raw times call us to walk softly, to speak firmly yet with compassion, and not fall into simplistic black and white narratives. They call us to look deeply at our own bias and more than ever not to lose sight of our shared humanity. We can stand against violence while seeking understanding. We can grieve the loss of innocent life in Israel and in Gaza. We can oppose antisemitism and islamophobia, denounce terrorist attacks and collective punishment.

Our SAND community includes a rich tapestry of healers, therapists, scientists, spiritual leaders, and change makers. In times of crisis, we may be called on to tend to others in increasing ways, to offer our help in navigating all the trauma.

Two years ago we released the film The Wisdom of Trauma, with Dr. Gabor Maté, which has been seen by over 10 million viewers globally. The film was screened in Ramallah and Tel Aviv and has helped many understand and address personal trauma.

Yet no trauma is ever only personal, it has roots in collective and intergenerational wounds we all have inherited. As our world ignites, some of the oldest wounds may come to the surface; we might struggle to make sense of and respond to the crisis.

Our hearts break every day that hostages are not released, every day that the death toll reaches new highs. In Gaza, a child is killed every 15 minutes as we write. We cannot remain silent in front of the ongoing bloodshed.

We invited Dr. Gabor Maté to address some of the pressing questions on our hearts, and to offer his insights on the unfolding tragedy. In this dialogue, we explored the roots of systemic violence, the impacts of historical and intergenerational trauma, and pathways to restore our shared humanity. How might we break tragic cycles of trauma transmission, widen our circles of compassion, and stand for dignity and justice?


Gabor Maté

Gabor Maté, M.D. is a specialist on trauma, addiction, stress and childhood development. After 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, Dr. Maté worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. For his groundbreaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction, and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown, Vancouver. Gabor is also the creator of a psychotherapeutic approach, Compassionate Inquiry, now studied by thousands of therapists, physicians, counselors, and others in over 80 countries.

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