Dr. Gabor Maté


dr gabor mateGabor Maté (pronounced GAH-bor MAH-tay) is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of four books published in twenty-five languages, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness. His book on addiction received the Hubert Evans Prize for literary non-fiction. 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. His books include In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction; When the Body Says No; Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection; Scattered: How ADD Originates and What You Can Do About It; and (with Gordon Neufeld) Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. To learn more, join his e-news here: https://www.drgabormate.com.

We are honored to have Dr. Gabor join the Soltara advisory team and lend his expertise to our project. From his vast medical experience to his deep understanding of trauma work, mental illness, addiction, and plant medicine healing, Dr. Gabor assists us in our mission of providing education, integration and a safe space for holistic healing.

Dr. Gabor Maté’s website

If you are new to Dr. Gabor Maté and his work, there is no better place to start than at his website. This is a repository of articles and videos, many of which are discussed here, from everything from addictions to parenting to the hidden costs of stress. You can find a biography, a list of topics of discussion and associated interviews and articles, a list of Dr. Maté’s books, a blog, event listing, and a contact page. Information associated with ayahuasca, addictions, psychedelics, and plant medicines can all be found in the Addictions and Mind/Body Health topics.

Addiction, Stress, and the Way Out with Dr. Gabor Maté – AMP #115

In this powerful interview, Dr. Gabor Maté speaks with luminary Aubrey Marcus about the opiate crisis and the widespread conventional understandings about the roots of addiction. Unlike mainstream ideas about imbalances of chemicals in one’s brain, Dr. Maté maintains that childhood trauma is the wound from which all addictions grow. He discusses the role of psychedelic therapy, including his own involvement in ayahuasca therapy, as a way of reconnecting with one’s self and becoming whole again. Dr. Maté offers up some words of wisdom for his younger self, and the importance of caring for our internal worlds to ease the suffering offered up by the external. A fascinating listen for anyone interested in the ‘why’s and ‘how’s of ayahuasca therapy.

The profound power of an Amazonian plant – and the respect it demands

In this article published in the Globe and Mail, Dr. Gabor Maté relates his view on the issues with modern Western medicine when it comes to treating addiction and how ayahuasca therapy offers hope for people with nowhere else to turn. He cites examples of a woman with an auto-immune disorder using ayahuasca to heal, a once-suicidal man now vibrant and happy, people with addictions, depression and anxiety all finding some relief through ayahuasca therapy. He states that healing is about revisiting repressed pain and trauma and remembering who we are.

Finally, Dr. Maté discusses the potential for physical healing through medicine work, and offers words of caution for those interested in this powerful medicine. Specifically, he recommends proper setting and respect for the medicine. We are happy to say that at Soltara, we offer the services of traditionally-trained Shipibo healers from Peru in an authentic, safe, and comfortable setting.

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IS AYAHUASCA A DRUG? – Gabor Maté | London Real

Is ayahuasca a drug? What makes it different than the substances that are commonly abused in our societies? In this interview with London Real’s Brian Rose, Dr. Gabor Maté discusses his understanding of how addictive drugs and plant medicines are two totally different beasts. He speaks about his own experiences and the recency of his introduction to ayahuasca, points to the problems with access to plant medicines for those struggling, and recounts the distillation of his experiences with tens of thousands of addicts: the traumatic origins of every monkey to climb onto a back.

Dr. Gabor Maté — New Paradigms, Ayahuasca, and Redefining Addiction (The Tim Ferriss Show #298)

Have two and a half hours to spare while you are cleaning up or at the gym? Then consider listening to this intimate and real conversation between Tim Ferriss and Dr. Maté. They start by discussing Dr. Maté’s favourite books, get into his own personal history as the child of traumatic circumstances in 1944 Budapest, the story of how he became a family doctor, a palliative care ward medical co-ordinator, and eventually found his way into work with addicts in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver, a locale notorious for extreme addictive drug use.

It was working with lost souls in this place of desperation that helped to transform his own understanding of the roots of addiction, which eventually led into Dr. Maté’s work with ayahuasca. The length of his own involvement with plant medicine might surprise you, as might his open mind about psychedelics – at least as compared to most mainstream medical professionals in the West. Throughout the interview, Tim opens up to him about personal issues and you get to hear a sample of Dr. Maté’s transformative understanding of trauma and what we are really trying to do when we heal. Not to be missed!

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Deep Ayahuasca Healing and the Truth of Who You Are

What are we doing when we take ayahuasca? We all have different answers as to ‘why’ we might take it, but in this spiritually moving essay, Dr. Maté describes the healing process precipitated by the use of plant medicine as a reunification of our forgetful little selves with memories of our grand Self, that great and formless All of which we are all emanations and who we knew ourselves to be before the world traumatized us in our youths. He uses examples of stories of healing from some of the people who he has helped along the way, quotes from the enlightened Eckhart Tolle, and offers his own thoughts on the process. Truly succeeding in merging ancient wisdom with modern science, Dr. Maté is a man who has unified two apparent opposites within himself, and the result is pure beauty.

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Combating Addiction With Ayahuasca

In this article published on Bodhi Tree, Beth Salmon discusses the use of ayahuasca as a treatment for addiction, referring frequently to an interview with Dr. Maté conducted for the article. The article is threaded with the uplifting story of John Sheldon, a seriously depressed man suffering a fifteen-year addiction to SSRI anti-depressants who traveled to Peru and dealt with the issues that were making him unhappy. Ms. Salmon gives a brief overview of the plant medicine, before getting into the meat of her conversation with Dr. Maté.

Dr. Maté offers his own description of the roots of addiction and how the psychedelic brew can help someone break free of their bonds, and he also speaks about the exact centres in the brain that are modulated under the influence of the medicine. Dr. Maté emphasizes that ayahuasca is not for everyone, and that integration work is key.

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CBC’s The Nature of Things: Jungle Prescription

It would seem that the mainstream is taking a long time to catch up with the real healing potential that ayahuasca represents. But there are glimmers of light in the shadows. In this documentary from 2011, David Suzuki and The Nature of Things science docu-show that runs on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s channel in Canada, Dr. Maté and ayahuasca take centre stage. It begins with an introduction to Dr. Maté and his practice treating addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, as well as to some of his patients in the area and to the depths of their addictions. It then takes Dr. Maté down to Peru to a centre that named takiwasi, which combines Western psychotherapy with traditional Peruvian medicine as treatment for addiction. Dr. Maté drinks the ayahuasca and comes to understand its value.

Although Health Canada put an end to Dr. Maté’s ayahuasca work in Canada in 2012, this documentary shines a light on the revolutionary attempt that Dr. Maté made to introduce ayahuasca therapy to North America in a semi-official manner. Before the sad termination of his activities, Dr. Maté recreated, to some degree, the blend of plant medicine and psychotherapy that he found in Peru. Though he was not successful with all of his patients, it is a challenge to keep your eyes dry as you are presented with the hopeful and touching endings to a few of these stories of healing.

How do you retain what you experienced on an ayahuasca retreat?

Ask anyone whose personality seems to have been permanently changed for the better in the wake of an ayahuasca retreat: you need to put in the work of integrating your lessons into your life. The lessons given by the plant teacher ayahuasca can be rough: why not keep the fruits of the labour of ceremony by ensuring you integrate properly? In this discussion, Dr. Maté reinforces how easy it is to slip back into old habits after ceremony work, what the potential pitfalls of forgetting are, and how to ensure that you retain all of the gold you found deep in the mine of your heart.

Soltara focuses heavily on integration and community when you go home. Please click here for more details.

Vine of the Soul Interview with Dr. Gabor Maté

The number of documentaries about ayahuasca seems to be growing in step with the infiltration of Western consciousness with knowledge about the psychedelic medicine. In an excerpt from The Vine of the Soul, one such documentary, Dr. Gabor Maté shares his thoughts on addiction and its mechanisms. Using the action of heroin within the brain as an example, the disconnectedness of the addict is brought into close-up detail. Dr. Maté states his understanding of what ayahuasca does in a very clear and concise way – he shares his own experience with the brew and relates how this plant medicine can help give the imbiber a taste of victory, showing the addict how to put down their baggage and what is possible with proper integration.

For Soltara’s own documentary series, The Plant Teacher, please click here.