Upcoming Events

The Hungry Ghost: A Biopsychosocial Perspective on Addiction, from Heroin to Workaholism; Peer Orientation: Why Children Are Stressed, Why Parents and Teachers Are Disempowered and How To Restore a Healthy Balance in Adult-Child Relationships

November 12, 2024 - November 14, 2024

Please note: this is a private event.

Based on the book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

For twelve years Dr. Maté was the staff physician at a clinic for drug-addicted people in
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he worked with patients challenged by hard-core drug
addiction, mental illness and HIV, including at Vancouver Supervised Injection Site. In his most
recent bestselling book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, he shows that their addictions do not
represent a discrete set of medical disorders; rather, they merely reflect the extreme end of a
continuum of addiction, mostly hidden, that runs throughout our society. In The Realm Of
Hungry Ghosts draws on cutting-edge science to illuminate where and how addictions originate
and what they have in common.

Contrary to what is often claimed, the source of addictions is not to be found in genes, but in
the early childhood environment where the neurobiology of the brain’s reward pathways
develops and where the emotional patterns that lead to addiction are wired into the
unconscious. Stress, both then and later in life, creates the predisposition for addictions,
whether to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or to behavioural addictions such as shopping or sex.

Helping the addicted individual requires that we appreciate the function of the addiction in his
or her life. More than a disease, the addiction is a response to a distressing life history and life
situation. Once we recognize the roots of addiction and the lack it strives (in vain) to fill, we can
develop a compassionate approach toward the addict, one that stands the best chance of
restoring him or her to wholeness and health.

Based on the book Hold on To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

Parenting and teaching are much harder these days than they used to be, and than they should
be. In Hold On To Your Kids, Dr. Gabor Maté (with developmental psychologist Gordon
Neufeld) forward a provocative and important view of why this is, and what we can do to
counteract it.

The root of the problem is that children no longer look to adults for emotional support, the
teaching of values, or the modeling of behavior. Peer orientation refers to the tendency of
children and youth to look to their peers for direction: for their sense of right and wrong, codes
of conduct, and their very identity. Peer orientation undermines family cohesion, sabotages
healthy development and fosters an aggressive and prematurely sexualized youth culture. For
parents already challenged by the demands of our multitasking world and stretched by stark
economic realities, peer orientation further complicates the task of child rearing. Children were
never meant by nature to be in a position where they are so dominant in influencing one
another. This state of affairs may be the norm today, but it’s neither natural nor healthy.
Historically it is a very new development, due to economic and social influences prevalent since
World War II, resulting in a deep undermining of adult-child connections.

This talk aims at restoring parenting to its natural intuitive basis and the adult-child relationship
to its rightful preeminence. The concepts, principles and practical advice articulated will
empower parents, teachers and other adults who play a nurturing role to be for children what
nature intended: the true source of contact, security and warmth. Parents must regain their
natural authority, without coercion, punishment and artificial consequences. Children need to
be protected from becoming lost in the emotionally barren and culturally backward world of peer


To be confirmed


To be confirmed