Today’s guest is one of the most influential thinkers alive. Our conversation which I am sharing today comes from a live interview I held with him on June 3rd, 2021.

Dr. Gabor Maté has tried for decades to tell the truth about the connection between traumatic experiences and the damaging effects they can have on our lives. He has done so with unique candor, never separating himself from the arduous journey of self-exploration that he advocates for. Time and time again he has afforded a particular dignity to the process, making him a perfect fit to bring onto this podcast.

Gabor spent many years as a physician, as a general practitioner who then specialized in addiction medicine. Slowly but surely things began to click and he wrote a number of important books focusing on the myriad ways chronic emotional neglect affects a person’s life, focusing on addiction, attention deficit disorder, asthma, and the fundamental connection between physical disease and trauma. He has a new book coming out soon and a movie which just premiered last week entitled “The Wisdom of Trauma.” His work is deeply moving, possibly life-changing, and I recommend you to look into it if you haven’t already engaged with his contributions. 

In our interview, we discuss a recent concern of mine around shame and how to ensure it does not go underground. Men are being called out for aggressive and violent behaviors and I was curious how we can address the pain that’s being exposed and not further relegate it to the shadows, which breeds more division in our communities. Gabor helped clarify my disparate thoughts and I immensely appreciated the opportunity to bounce my ideas off of him. He also did a deep dive into just how traumatized our leaders are and by extension how numb we are as a society to dismissive and aggressive actions towards children.

If anything cuts to the heart of his message, it’s a call to action to be aware of how impactful our behavior is to each other and in particular to our young ones. At one point, he distills it down to this statement: if you treat human beings well, they’ll be okay; if you don’t treat them well, especially when they’re children, they’re not going to be okay. Gabor is somebody who cuts through all the noise, stands up to everyone, and calls it like it is. He’s been doing that for a long time and we’re all better for it so tune into our interview to receive the benefits for yourself.

Show Highlights:

  • What the experience of being one of the first people to write about trauma was like for Gabor.
  • His own childhood and the tension between his intellect and the lack of emotional expression.
  • How politics is heavily infused with trauma.
  • How trauma-uninformed we are in the West.
  • How damaging it is to be mistreated and made to feel unsafe as a child.
  • The trauma we absorb as therapists.
  • Why psychedelics are such a powerful and effective tool in healing from trauma.
  • What it has been like for Gabor to work with his son on his book.

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Mitchell Smolkin is a sought-after clinician, speaker, and author. For media and interview requests please contact his publicist Randy Phipps at For all other inquiries, please send mail to

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