The Myth of Normal in an Insane Culture: A family physician for over three decades, Gabor Maté has become a leading voice for the destigmatization and compassionate treatment of mental health and addiction. He’s the author of four bestselling books, published in 25 languages, including When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection and the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. Not one to stay confined within the parameters of conventional practice, Maté spent years treating the hardcore drug users of Vancouver’s infamous Downtown Eastside and is a proponent of the therapeutic benefits of the Amazonian plant medicine ayahuasca. For his pioneering medical work and writings around trauma, mind–body health and addiction medicine, he was awarded the Order of Canada in 2018.
In this address, he’ll discuss how in our hyper-stressed, materialistic society, physical and mental illness are not aberrations but natural outcomes of a way of life inimical to genuine human needs. Treatment, therefore, must go beyond a focus on symptoms and diagnoses to address the causes of dysfunction from a bio-psycho-social perspective.
Compassionate Inquiry: Therapy with a Biopsychosocial Perspective on Mental and Physical Illness: By separating mind from body and the individual from the social environment, we limit our ability to address the roots of many of the emotional and physical problems along a broad range of conditions that our clients bring to therapy. The first part of the workshop will address mental health diagnoses, such as addiction, ADHD, and depression; the second, chronic physical illnesses from autoimmune disease to malignancy. These interactive sessions will demonstrate a developmental approach that recognizes the lifelong impact of early childhood stress, often exacerbated by socially induced cultural dislocation. It will illuminate the mind–body unity in health and illness by exploring how to:
• Keep clients engaged in present-moment experience
• Access emotional states through body awareness
• Uncover early traumatic events of childhood and unconscious feeling states
• Cultivate deeper therapeutic presence by bringing attention to what remains unexpressed in clients’ everyday awareness
Psychedelics in Modern Healing:The Future of Talk Therapy?: Today there’s growing interest in the use of psychedelic substances, once considered therapeutically off-limits, in the clinical treatment of PTSD, depression, addictions, and a range of other conditions. The principles on which these healing pathways are based have been shown to be validated by psychoneuroimmunology and interpersonal neurobiology. This workshop will look at the distinctive experiences of both clients and therapists that psychedelics can facilitate. You’ll examine:
• The differences among various psychedelic substances and their potential uses in a therapeutic setting
• The process of introducing and preparing for a psychedelic-based session with a client
• How to integrate what has been experienced and learned in a psychedelic journey after the session
The Myth of the Unitary Self: A Dialogue on the Multiplicity of Mind: There’s a growing convergence of opinion from a range of disciplines challenging the traditional idea of the unitary personality in favor of the view that each of us actually contains a multiplicity of selves. In this session, two noted clinical practitioners will focus on how what’s often identified as pathology reflects childhood defensive adaptations of some of these selves. Together, they’ll demonstrate how the perspective of inner multiplicity can be used to elicit therapeutic healing, self-awareness, and growth. You’ll explore how to:
• Help clients not overidentify with a single part of themselves, and empower them to move beyond diagnostic labels
• Use the enhanced ability to perceive the workings of one’s mind to achieve greater personal integration
• Examine the distinction between the Self and one’s parts and how it can help clients develop a capacity for Self-leadership and self-regulation
• Recognize the practical similarities and differences between two models of therapy, Internal Family Systems and Compassionate Inquiry