Maté: Part Depth Psychology but Part Questionable Quick Fix

by Marie Snyder

He received the Order of Canada, profoundly helped many people with addiction on the streets of Vancouver, and is much loved and admired, but some of Dr. Gabor Maté’s claims feel like they don’t hold water. And some claims might actually be dangerous if blindly accepted.

I’ve encountered Maté in a few courses I’m taking, and have been strongly encouraged to watch his newest film and read his book several times now; I opted for the former. One follower was excited to tell me, with great confidence, that ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) is caused by a specific trauma and that everyone is carrying unresolved trauma which, if resolved, can heal physical ailments like cancer.

I’m dubious. I have some reservations that I’ve kept to myself until seeing  so many in academia wholeheartedly promoting some poorly substantiated claims.

While Maté has some excellent techniques in the work he does, the way he presents and explains the material provokes me to look up research studies to try to corroborate many of his ideas. 

I gobbled up his books twenty years ago, and there are some useful analogies and treatments in there, but even then there were parts that gave me pause.  Read more »