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A Q&A with Dr. Gabor Maté & Daniel Maté
No statement, no words can speak to the immense suffering, devastation and horrendous humanitarian crisis intensifying in the Middle East. The current tragedy awakens existential fear, acute grief and deep despair. It also creates a rift among friends and families. Many are in a state of deep shock and in need of support, and the obstacles to communicating with loved ones only intensify the anguish.
In this Q&A session, Dr. Gabor Maté and his son Daniel discussed ways to listen and communicate across different perspectives and narratives.
Dr. Maté is a Holocaust survivor and an expert on trauma, addiction, and the connections between stress and illness. Daniel is an award-winning theatre songwriter and self-described ‘mental chiropractor’. Father and son have co-authored The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture.
They draw on their personal experiences and professional perspectives to help us foster a compassionate dialogue, even when grappling with divisive narratives, intergenerational trauma and incapacity to face hard facts.
When in the grip of trauma, it becomes extremely challenging to make space for a different perspective, or take in facts that don’t fit our narrative of choice. The sheer emotional pain can narrow our vision and harden our position. As Dr. Maté’s work reveals, beneath rigid beliefs and attitudes often lie unhealed wounds in need of care, not condemnation.
We explored how trauma brings about a false quest for security. When survival feels under threat, we instinctively adopt an “us versus them” bunker mentality, clinging to the familiar while walling off anything that feels foreign. This primal urge for safety and control ends up fostering the very insecurity it is trying to fight. Only by questioning these “normal” reactions can space emerge for a broader understanding.
* 100% of the donations for this event will go to Save Gaza’s Children, Defense for Children International Palestine and The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF).
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.
Daniel Maté is a composer, lyricist, and playwright for musical theatre based in BC and New York. He has been active since 2007, when he graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Writing. He also holds a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from McGill.
Daniel received the prestigious Edward Kleban Prize for Most Promising Lyricist in American Musical Theatre, a Jonathan Larson Foundation Grant, and the ASCAP Foundation’s Cole Porter Award for Excellence in Music and Lyrics (for his song cycle The Longing and the Short of It.) He has presented his work at the historic Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and New York’s Lincoln Center, and was an invited participant in the inaugural Johnny Mercer Writers Colony.
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