Discovering the Wisdom of Trauma

Discovering the Wisdom of Trauma

With Gabor Maté, Betsy Polatin, and Laura Inserra  •  Sep 30 - Oct 3 • 9am-12:30pm PDT

A 4-day Online Retreat


Trauma shapes our lives. It shapes the way we live, the way we love and the way we make sense of the world. It is at the root of our deepest wounds. Virtually all our afflictions, mental illnesses, physical diseases stem from trauma. Trauma distorts our view of reality and leaves us stuck in contraction, defense and reactivity. It compromises our capacity to be in the moment, to be present to our relationships and to fully take in the environment.   
The wisdom in the trauma comes through when we realize that our traumatic responses and imprints are not us, that we can follow all traumatic responses back to their source, work through them, let them dissipate and thus reconnect to the unblemished, ecstatic consciousness that we were born with.

Join Dr. Gabor Maté for this 4-day participatory, interactive online workshop on understanding and healing trauma. Gabor will share decades of research and experience. He will guide us to discover the root cause of our trauma. We will begin building a relationship with it, so we can start to uncover the wisdom and reconnect to our true selves beneath the hurts and adaptations. 
The workshop will include daily teachings and interactive engagements with and amongst participants. We will learn some of the tools offered by Gabor’s Compassionate Inquiry approach. We will also be gently guided daily by Betsy Polatin MFA, SEP in Somatic Experiencing practices and resolution of trauma in the body. This combination invites pain, discomfort and repressed emotions to come to the surface to be experienced, witnessed and let go of in a safe, supportive setting. Acceptance, allowing, non-judgement, expression and self-compassion are the ingredients needed for healing.

We will learn to:

The teaching will be articulated in four main themes:

      1. Recognizing Trauma
      2. Loosening the Grip
      3. Expanding Compassion
      4. Developing Resilience 

Why attend?

  • to be introduced to the process of Compassionate Inquiry
  • to understand your own triggers and their origin
  • to recognize mental-emotional patterns and triggers, and how they limit your wholeness, choice and freedom
  • to bring healing and integration to trauma from past traumatic events
  • to find a greater sense of aliveness by completing unresolved or repressed emotions
  • to participate in daily, live inquiry sessions with Dr. Gabor Maté 

This online workshop is limited to 1,000 participants. We expect to sell out, so we encourage you to register as soon as possible.

Who is this online retreat for?

This will be an in-depth program, suitable for therapists, spiritual seekers and anyone looking for a profound, experiential understanding of their traumatic imprint and the hidden beliefs that sustain it. 

Daily schedule

Betsy Polatin - Breath and Movement 9:00 – 9:10
Gabor Maté - Presentation and Q&A 9:10 – 10:20
Betsy Polatin - Breath and Movement 10:20 – 10:30
Breakout Sessions 10:30 – 11:00
Break 11:00 – 11:15
Gabor Maté - Presentation and Q&A 11:15 – 12:20
Betsy Polatin - Breath and Movement 12:20 – 12:30 
Laura Inserra - Metamusic Journey (On Saturday only) 1:00 – 2:00

Find the time in your timezone

Recommended Pre-Event Orientation

On September 29 (the day before the retreat), 9:00–10:00 AM PST, we will conduct a highly recommended orientation for participants to log on and get familiar with the container of the event, both technical and practical. This session will explain question-asking procedures during the event, how to get integration support, and how to navigate around the zoom platform. This session is optional but highly recommended.

Retreat container

  • Gabor will be offering a mixture of didactic presentation and Q&A sessions with participants. The event is structured like a live retreat, and all participants are invited to participate live to all sessions on all days. 
  • Gabor will be answering questions live, subject to limitations due to time available and number of participants.
  • Sessions will take place through the Zoom platform. A link will be sent to participants the day before the event.
  • Confidentiality is an integral part to the container of this event. Please do not share any session content with anyone.
  • Gabor's questions are only an invitation.  You choose at which level you feel comfortable participating. 
  • If you have any concerns, please reach out to the SAND team. We are here to support you.

Metamusic Journey

On Saturday Oct 2 at 1:00 pm, Laura Inserra will host a MetaMusic Journey. MetaMusic is the development of Laura’s work around the universal, transformative, and healing power of sound. This immersive sound experience into enchanted soundscapes is an invitation to listen with your whole body to your inner visions, feelings, and states of awareness. For the best immersive experience, headphones or a good sound system are highly recommended.


  • Your registration includes access to all recordings of the event, so any missed sessions may be watched at a later date. Group exercises will not be recorded. 
  • Having a web camera is strongly recommended. 
  • Please note that by participating in this event, you agree for your audio and video to be recorded.


SAND is committed to cultivating a diversity of voices and life experiences in our events and making them accessible to people of all income levels and backgrounds. To this end, we have created a robust scholarship program for those with limited financial means. SAND will award a number of partial/full scholarships for this event.

Scolarship applications ended on September 7. Scholarship awards will be announced by email by September 14.

Continuing Education

There are no Continuing Education units associated with this event.


Prices are in United States Dollars.

Refund Policy

The registration fee for SAND’s online events is non-refundable. SAND will consider refund requests due to an extraordinary circumstance or emergency on a case by case basis.


Please contact us for any additional information.

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Sep 29, 2021 9:00am - 10:00am PDT

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Module 1

Sep 30, 2021 9:00am - 12:30pm PDT

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Module 2

Oct 1, 2021 9:00am - 12:30pm PDT

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Module 3

Oct 2, 2021 9:00am - 12:30pm PDT

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MetaMusic Journey with Laura Inserra

Oct 2, 2021 1:00pm - 2:00pm PDT

 The sequence of instruments is: 
 - Shakapa (leaves bundle) (Peru) 
 - Shamanic frame drum (Hungary) + Chanting 
 - Golden Bowls Set (Tibet) 
 - Two-Chambered Clay flute (Zapotec Tradition, Mexico) 
 - Orchestral Gong by Paste (USA) 
 - Hang by PANArt (also known as handpan) (Switzerland) 
 - Whistle Clay Pot with Water (Peru) 
 - Blossom Bells custom-made Conical Tuned Bells (California) 
 - Ocean Harp (USA) 
 - Thumb Piano by Hokema (Germany) 

  For more info and pictures about Laura Inserra's instruments please visit https://www.

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Module 4

Oct 3, 2021 9:00am - 12:30pm PDT

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Integration Session

Dec 5, 2021 9:00am - 12:00pm PST

Gabor Maté

Gabor Maté M.D., C.M., is a Canadian physician (retired), public speaker and bestselling author, published internationally in multiple languages. His book on addiction, the award- winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, is used as a text in many institutions of higher learning in Canada and the U.S. His most recent book, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture, to be published in over 30 languages on five continents, has been and continues to be a #1 Canadian bestseller and, as of March 26 will been 18 weeks a New York Times bestseller.

After two decades as a family doctor and palliative care director, for twelve years Gabor worked in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with patients challenged by hard-core drug addiction, mental illness and HIV, including at Vancouver Supervised Injection Site, North America’s first such facility. His other interests encompass childhood developmental issues, ADHD, mind/body health, trauma and parenting. He is in constant demand as a speaker internationally and has addressed judicial bodies in Canada, the U.S. and Australia on the links between trauma, addictions, and dysfunctional behaviors. He has worked with many Indigenous communities around these issues.

He has received an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Simon Fraser University and an Honorary Degree (Laws) from the University of Northern British Columbia. For his groundbreaking medical work and writings, he has been given the Order of Canada, and the Civic Merit award from his home city of Vancouver.

A film based on his work, The Wisdom of Trauma, has been viewed by over 10 million people internationally and has been translated into twenty languages. It is shown regularly in many institutions, including schools and prisons, in Canada, the U.S., and abroad. His therapeutic method, Compassionate Inquiry, has been, in the past three years, studied by over 3,000 health care providers in 80 countries.

Gabor is a speaker much in demand internationally on addiction, stress and mind/body health, child development, trauma, ADHD and other topics related to his five best-selling books. He has been featured on some of the most popular podcasts, such as Joe Rogan, Tim Ferris, Jay Shetty, and others.

His next book, co-written with his son Daniel, will be Hello Again: A Fresh Start for Adult Children and Their Parents, based on their popular workshop. 

Betsy Polatin

Betsy Polatin, MFA, SEP, an internationally recognized breathing/movement specialist and best-selling author, has been teaching for 45 years. Her unique and intuitive perspectives are greatly influenced by the study of movement, breath, and trauma, as well as the teachings of spiritual and meditation masters. She speaks at conferences around the world.

She’s had numerous articles published in the Huffington Post, and is the author of The Actor’s Secret and Humanual.

Laura Inserra

Laura Inserra is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and artistic director. She is a classically trained musician with a strong improvisational background. A native of Sicily, her work in Italy is well-known, including integral participation in the composition of numerous movie scores and the artistic direction of innovative live productions. Inserra performed internationally in prestigious festivals and theaters in Italy and the US that include: The Colosseum (Rome), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome), Teatro Olimpico (Rome), The Chapel of the Chimes (Oakland), CounterPULSE (SF), NOHSpace (SF) and San Francisco City Hall among others. An internationally acclaimed Hang player, Inserra has collaborated with various artists globally. The Hang has been dubbed as "the new instrument of this Millennium". Her performances are infused with a unique blend of musical inspiration and melodic harmonies which deeply resonate with audiences worldwide. In 2007 she moved to the Bay Area and she founded Samavesha, a non-profit multidisciplinary performing arts organization. Audiences worldwide are not only mesmerized by this woman but also captivated by her virtuosity, profound musicality, and the passion that she brings on the stage. More info:

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the “Trauma” retreat and all the hard work that you and your team members must have put into it.  Even as a psychologist/therapist that began practicing nearly 50 years ago I found this workshop/retreat to be an outstanding experience.  And I have spent many hundreds of hours in a wide variety of training over the years. This is one of the best.  Gabor has an amazing way of integrating and synthesizing psychotherapeutic elements into a seemingly simple (in concept) but profound approach to healing personal issues with regard to trauma experience.  
— Tim Henebry 

Attending the retreat was a wonderful experience of connection with so many people from around the world in a format that isn’t usually possible. The interaction and engagement with people created a sense of space to share and learn and a way to reflect how what others experience is also my experience as well. I can’t say enough how grateful I am to have been able to participate. The format, the accessibility, the flow was so well done, and I have participated in many many events and retreats and would say this has been life changing. I came away feeling seen and heard even though I never spoke. It was as if each person who did speak was saying words relevant to me and my lived experience. I hold my hands up to all the team and for the words that I was privileged to witness. 
— Lisa Wilcox, Kwakwemtenaat 

Brilliant! Still chewing the nutritious cud over a week later. Considering there were close to 1000 participants, the space was held beautifully, it felt safe to explore challenging topics and participants were met with warmth and loving care. The event was a perfect symphony of intellectual stimulation and emotional experience. I am most positively surprised by the lasting impact it has had and the continuous insights that present itself in the aftermath. Thank you!
— Mia Ganda

Dr Maté's retreat was a deep, transformative and informative growth experience for me and my wife. The best testimonial I can give is that we will do the retreat again if offered by SAND. I will also be signing up for the professional Compassionate Inquiry training. Betsy Polatin's contribution brought a useful and supportive process to the deep work of Dr Maté. All in all, highly recommended. I also look forward to seeing the documentaries. Can't wait. Lastly, the whole SAND team created a safe container for the work, and brought a loving, reassuring and comforting energy to the proceedings. Keep up the good and most valuable work. 
— Dr Michael Geary

Dr. Gabor Mate is a powerful presence. He spoke to my soul with teachings to understand the impacts of my traumatic journey and find my authentic self. Thank you i am very grateful for the beautiful retreat. 
— Janet Rurak 

Empowering, informative, necessary for all humans! As you say, I am still absorbing and vibrating from this experience. Thank you so much.
— Pat Le Blanc

I found the workshop extremely beautiful. I loved the depth of the work. I appreciated the facilitators and I learned a lot about myself. Exactly how I imagined it, and so much more! Thank you for the beautiful work you do for humanity!
— Noémi Kiss

First of all, I just want to express my gratitude for the event, for the expertise of everyone involved, and for the scholarship that allowed me to attend. I left with many tools and curiosities. The main threads I took from Compassionate Inquiry were this idea that any distress we experience roots back to core early experiences. By taking a curious and generous perspective towards ourselves and those involved in each situation, we can learn to become the container for emotions, to choose and act more consciously (and with practice). I was surprised, but also reassured, by how the process was essentially the same with every participant, yet there were key nuances I gained from watching every person's individual experience of CI. Somatic experiencing to ground everything was really perfect and left me with the desire to research and experience it more. The techniques were extremely accessible and effective for redirecting energy.
— Sarah Muehlbauer

For me personally I was completely taken aback at how effective an online program could be, let alone with a group of 900+. I felt like I was one-on-one with Gabor, as well as when he was interviewing another with compassionate inquiry — I was able to gain so much understanding by witnessing and observing his technique and vibrationally connect with the essence of his work. As a sound healing facilitator, spiritual mentor, interfaith minister, and consciousness coach (wrapped into one), I was immersed in the oneness of it all. Gabor's work on 'healing into wholeness' blends with the philosophy of my sound healing journeys, which is, the nature of being whole. I was overwhelmingly inspired by the retreat and received deep validation for the years of inner processing I have walked and worked. I am sending clients and my community to SAND, together with Gabor's books and Betsy's Polatin work. They were a dynamic and magnetic duo. It was an honor and privilege to be part of the retreat. What Zaya and Maurizio Benazzo are creating with SAND as a platform for us to embrace and embody the interconnectedness of science and our non-dual nature is profound. Thank you everyone! With a deep bow
— Lee Ann Dzelzkalns

For me was life-changing. I just want to thank you very much, for giving me the scholarship. I will never forget your kindness.
— Yael Maya

Gabor and his awesome beautiful energy and brilliant work is truly outstanding!! He continues to present phenomenal Master Classes — proposing the clinical evidence in understanding mental health and trauma. Gabor is so needed to start inspiring the changes in the deeper healing of our world!
— Julia Martin

Gabor is incredibly authentic, vulnerable and approachable. You can get how much he cares. With that he is a no-nonsense and at times a very bold facilitator. He is able to see people all the way down to the core without an ounce of judgment. And then compassionately work with them to begin to integrate their trauma.
— Marsha Marsh 

Gabor Mate and Betsy Polatin provided us with a wonderful opportunity to benefit from their wisdom and life experience. Over the course of four days, connected to almost a thousand people by the internet, I was deeply touched and inspired. I was able to understand something that I have wrestled with for decades. Thank you so much to SAND for creating this opportunity and to Gabor for his deep humanity and brilliance as a teacher.
— Jennifer Turner

Gabor Mate brilliantly cuts through our personal narrative to identify the places we have traded authenticity for attachment. It's obvious that his many years of experience put him on the leading edge of trauma integration work.
— Michael Stone

Gabor Mate was outstanding and so generous with his personal stories. He is a brilliant man and I learned so much from beginning to end. He held the space and over 900 people with tremendous presence. He is a master at this work. The Sand team were wonderful. SO sweet and held with SO much heart. Lovely to witness.
— Nicola Price

Having never been exposed to Gabor Maté and Betsy Polatin, I was enrapt with the entire retreat. I loved the combination of intellectual stimulation, bodily felt experiences and seeing Gabor work with people. The beauty of the experience was that, when Gabor worked with one person, he was working with everyone. Either I or someone I know was going through the very experience highlighted through his live one on one sessions. The hosts, Zaya and Maurizio, could not have been better! They set the stage for openness and Lovingkindness. I am so glad I participated in this powerful weekend! I really loved it!. Thank you!
— Sheppard Lake

Hi, I am one of the scholarship recipients. I am most grateful and thankful for having this opportunity, especially during this time. Thank you! Returning to Ourselves: The wisdom of Trauma was an eye-opening experience. I am so thankful that this came at a time in my life when I was open to actually learning to see myself. Learning how we are affected by trauma from our Mother’s womb and learning that our parents were traumatized too. I am of Native American descent from Northern California. I work for a Native healthcare facility. I work with Native families from pre-natal to 5 years old. I will be moving into a new position and will begin working with prenatal mothers and children from zero to 1 years old who are addicted to opiates or have come from a household who have had an addiction to opiates. I am most grateful to have a better understanding on the causes of trauma and how it affects us negatively in our bodies. I am also a breast cancer survivor. For the first time in my life I am able to create a relationship with myself and be able to feel content in my own skin. Plus, I have struggled with depression since I was a child. It is my hope to live what I have learned and to share these lessons. A new door has been opened in my life. Thank you! I am indebted to you for your kindness for blessing me with this opportunity to grow. 
— Tracy Crutchfield

I am so happy and thankfull for this workshop! You did a great job arranging it and Gabor Maté is a brilliant person. So many thoughts and ideas spinning in my mind. For me a lot of anger and anxiety that I have carried around subsided. I feel much more at peace with most of all hope and looking forward to the future. For me Feldenkrais has been a wonderful tool to return to myself and with Gabor's words in the back of my head I feel I have great sources to dig from and grow and heal.
— Eva Cruslock

I am truly grateful for this impressive teaching opportunity. The concepts were clear and accessible. Repeated and tested all through the 4 days so as to give us a real insight on how to work with compassionate inquiry! Well done. Wonderfully organised.
— Patricia Canellis

I attended the Returning to Ourselves retreat because I'm familiar with Dr. Gabor Mate's work and wanted to dig a bit deeper into it, as a psychotherapist but also for my own personal interest. I've been to *many* online educational online events and this was, hands down, the most informative, life-altering one. The setting even with 1,000 attendees, was incredibly intimate; it felt like Gabor was talking to me directly. What I learned cannot even be described in a few paragraphs. Even having read all of his books and watched many videos, I learned... a LOT. Inviting attendees to discuss their own personal stories and challenges with Gabor brought an additional, rich dimension to the program. I also appreciated how he took questions from the audience. His insight, knowledge, compassion, and thoughtfulness rang through the entire four days.For someone who has trouble sitting through a one hour lecture (or less), I was spellbound the entire four days. Thank you, team, for doing such a wonderful job and thank you to Gabor who continually brings new awareness to how we see ourselves, how we connect with ourselves and others, and how we can heal ourselves. My hope is that this program returns, because I'll be sure to sign up again. And again. 

— Terry Matlen, LMSW, ACSW
I cannot be more thankful for the peace and joy these four days brought me. Thank you all.

— Marjan Emami
I did not want this retreat/seminar to end. I learned a few new items of info I did not know, but mainly the joy was in having the things I knew about attachment and authenticity applied in real life situations to people whose pain I could relate to. The retreat was beyond what I even dreamed it could be. Thank you to Gabor and Betsy and to all who organized it.I liked the retreat so much that I signed up for the Saturday retreat on Resilience and Sexuality.

— Brian C. PaStarr

I don’t recall ever being catered to as a participant. I received a scholarship which was badly needed, I got zoom training in advance to better participate. When I addressed the staff regarding a question I got a response quickly. Gabor and Betsy were both amazing. Zaya and Maurizio were very warm, welcoming and resourceful. The format, four days from 9:00am to noon spread over 4 days was helpful as the content Gabor Mate delivered was profoundly deep, emotional and thought-provoking. It changed me. A heartfelt thank you Zaya and Maurizio for creating this event. I will now look to SAND for further presentations.
— Martha (Marty) Metcalf

I first heard a rather compelling interview with Gabor a few years ago during a particularly challenging time in my life. Since then I have been helped by the additional articles and recordings of him that I've encountered. I know he gave a public talk in my city years ago, and at that time I missed it. How grateful I am to have had this opportunity to participate in the retreat. I am devouring one of his books in the immediate aftermath of the experience. So glad my local public library app has several relevant titles. I sincerely look forward to continuing to benefit from my learning during the retreat, as well as the generous list of resources that were so skillfully woven into it. Even the interactions with commenters / potential detractors were informative and full of lessons. In other circumstances such happenings might have been disastrous, but what a gift to be able to see an honest inquiry and frank exchange unfold before our eyes. It leaves me with much to contemplate, and a genuine hope that the lessons will continue to inform my own relationships going forward.
— Lorne Gushue

I found Gabor’s teaching some time ago and it was like finding my holy grail. The setup of this event created a very safe and protected container for me to take the most out of it for my own healing. The addition of Betsy Polatin’s work was the icing and the perfect “flavor” to this magic cake. I loved and enjoyed every minute of it! Thank you! I would truly enjoy a Part 2 to this!
— Katrin Perscha

I found the format of three hours a day for four days a good one that enabled me to stay with the focus, though it was quite demanding with the only contact being online, unlike a live retreat. It was a successful experiment and I was glad to be a part of it. Thank you.
— Brian

I have attended many retreats and events, this event is on the top of my list as one of the most transforming. I believe in moving out of your comfort zone to progress , but I do not do well with travel and hotels so this online option was brilliant. I was surprised that an online Zoom could be so transformational. Being at home I had my yoga space and tools to move deeper along with the teachings. And of course my stereo to replay some of the music, which I loved — music is so wonderful for the soul and moving energy. Thank you to everyone who pitch in to make this happen, and thank you to all the brave souls for sharing. 
— Darcia

I learned so much from Dr. Gabor Mate and Betsy Polatin, as well as from all the participants diving so very deeply into uncommon work — often ignored in traditional spiritual circles — right into the very heart of what it means to be human here and now. LOVE you guys. Thank you.
— Martijn Robert

I love everything about SAND! Zaya and Maurizio's pure clarity and commitment to what wants to be through SAND, the depth and integrity of the teachings, and the evolving commitment to modeling and teaching how to embody Truth. I can say the same about Gabor and Betsy! Thank you and Love. 
— Hunter Purdy

I loved the way the programming of each day flowed.organically. I loved all the elements. Loved Betsy, the lectures of Gabor and really loved the teaching through his working with people. I loved how vulnerable he admitted to being... even when questions obviously made him feel defensive. How he dealt with that so openly. That taught me a lot about compassionate inquiry and helped me to not allow him to become a guru figure. His transparency was quite exhilarating. Not something one often experiences with "leaders". I believe that quality really contributed to a feeling of safety so that the people he worked with were able to be open to a degree I found admirable and instructive. The final thing I loved was the frequent feeling during those sessions of connection compassion and support for the person working with Gabor. So much resonance with what was shared. The attachment-authenticity seesaw in my life has been a powerful revelation. I honestly feel "lighter"... a lighter sense of being. Even as I feel rather exposed emotionally, not to the outside world but to myself...and I know I will be working with that, hopefully with compassion for myself. Thank you.
— Margaret Sue Martin

I particularly appreciated the way there was a cohort of practitioners available to work with people. I got help from two different people trained in Dr. Mate's methods and it was very helpful and fulfilling. I just want to express my gratitude for what all of your accomplished with this event. To be isolated at home during this pandemic and to have access to such riches of the mind and heart was a true gift. Thank you all. 
— George HS Singer, PhD

I signed up to this event as a mindfulness coach wanting to learn about trauma and how I can enrich my work to help clients with Gabor’s wisdom but I received so much more than that. It was an holistic emotional experience, with personal insights and a new awareness of a healing process that I was unaware I needed. A truly nourishing journey and one that I will remember and recommend to others. I was also surprised at how connected I felt on a zoom call with over 900 people. Remarkable, and a testament to the team's hard work and presence. 
— Kate Greenslade

I thought this workshop, that was planned to be in Italy, would not be as powerful as a live workshop like the one I attended pre-Covid19. However, I was surprised how palpable this workshop was on Zoom, with 900+ participants. Dr Gabor Mate, Betsy Polatin and the entire support teams, SAND, CI & SE, created a safe environment that offered the invitation to participate, with permission to step back if you felt "this is too uncomfortable." I raised my hand with a question, along with 300+ others on the first day. Over the course of that day, and throughout the entire course, my questions were answered with Gabor and the ones he was able to work with. Gabor was clear to tell us all, that he wasn't just working with one person, but he was speaking to us all. Betsy was totally present in our discussion, and gave us the somatic component to release the emotional triggers in our bodies. The SAND team was seamless in the technical support, and on the sidelines were a team of Compassionate Inquiry & Somatic practitioners, available to further support us individually. I felt I was "seen" and I was totally engaged the entire 4 days, and am still vibrating from the layers of insight that I took away. I look forward to more offerings from Zaya & Maurizio Benazzo, our most compassionate hosts, and by the way very talented film makers, who treated us to the trailer of their next film featuring Gabor. I could feel their deep desire to make sure everyone was receiving, questions were being addressed, resources available, and our retreat community was honored with respect and gratitude. I will return! 
— Erin Davidson

I used to be a workshop junkie, travelling the world to attend workshops to heal myself. I have also been facilitating silent retreats. When participating in this online retreat with dr. Gabor Mate, I felt I was part of some historical event. Not only did it feel safe and comfortable to attend from home, but the fact that you were able to create a feeling of community and shared humanity, is just amazing. It says a lot about the facilitators. Learning how much impact "attachment over authenticity" has in one's life, and how it affects one's health, is life changing. I feel empowered in an unexpectable way. I also feel very honored to have been part of this event. Thank you to the whole team at SAND, and thank you Dr. Gabor Mate for all your wisdom and all your contribution to the world.
— Linda Solberg

I want to let you know how much I appreciate the “Returning to Ourselves: The Wisdom of Trauma” retreat and all the hard work that you and your SAND team members must have put into it. As a psychologist/therapist that began practicing nearly 50 years ago I found this workshop/retreat to be an outstanding experience. And I have spent many hundreds of hours in a wide variety of trainings over the years. This is one of the best. Dr. Gabor Maté has an amazing way of integrating and synthesizing psychotherapeutic elements into a seemingly simple (in concept) but profound approach to healing personal issues with regard to trauma experience. In addition, having Betsy Polatin doing the somatic work was a great balance to the emotional and intellectual demands. But I also wished to tell YOU both (Zaya and Maurizio) that I found you a delight. Your sincerity and enthusiasm—and yes, your authenticity—provided the perfect context for this work. Thank you again. 
Terrific workshop! And I thank you for the scholarship to attend.

— Tim Henebry

I was a bit skeptical about an online retreat event. It attained the level of energy and presence, of an actual retreat. It did and it was life-changing for me.
— Jimena Ortega

I was blown away by the depth of work at this event. I appreciated every moment, and although it was emotionally confronting, it was so enriching and I was grateful to go through it.
— Rachel

I was not sure about making the commitment, but realize that I desperately needed to attend this online event. It has helped me to make sense of things that happened and are happening and has helped me to feel that there is hope. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Gabor, Betsy, Zaya, Maurizio and other members of the team for the experience.
— Sue

I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but I got so much more than I could have imagined. There was a palpable intimacy and depth that I would not have expected from an online event. Time and again, I was deeply moved by the presentations and the sharing of other participants. I was able to touch my own pain without being overwhelmed, but I knew there was support there if I had been. I so appreciated the balance of deep emotional work with Gabor and then Betsy grounding us back into our bodies in a safe way. I didn't want the retreat to end. I'm so impressed with the way this retreat went. I deeply appreciate the thought and preparation you all put into it. (…) I got so much more than I would have ever expected. When Gabor was working with individuals, I got so much out of it. You could just see them going from their heads into their hearts and bodies, and that allowed me to do the same for myself. And Betsy was amazing in the way she was able to gently bring us back to ourselves. I'm looking forward to more from you all and am thrilled you'll be putting the October conference online. I was so looking forward to it!
— Kim Carter

I'm a traumatized sceptic, but at the risk of sounding trite this man brings out the medicine in us. Could you please be my live-in therapist? I make excellent soup.
— Chris Gange

It came to me at a perfect time in my life and felt very literally life-saving and life-changing!! I felt/feel overwhelmed with gratitude.  As I was a scholarship recipient just THANK YOU again!!!
— Carol

It was not first time I saw Gabor during his work. Every time it's moving, inspiring and insightful. I love his authenticity. Also, I admire the work of Betsy and atmosphere created by SAND. Keep up with the brilliant work you have been doing! It was a privilege to participate in the event.
— Marta

It was one of the best experiences of my life. 
— Gita Izadi 

It was the best online workshop/retreat I’ve ever attended. The care, love, support was amazing and how you held the creative space was superb. My favorite bit at the end was when we had a group hug. Your authenticity and when you said 'I have attachment issues: I can’t switch off the zoom.' Cracked me up. And that’s what I loved. The joy. 
— Sal Worringham

It was wonderful to be able to learn from Dr Mate and witness his work from the comfort of my own home. The team behind it put a lot of care into looking after the needs of attendees and I look forward to more of their events in the future.
— TC

Loved it! It was amazing. So very glad to have come across SAND and look forward to more.
— Teri Kelly

One my biggest takes from the course for me was the difference between a 'feeling' and a 'perception' ... being stuck is not a feeling! =) So often I have mistaken them. This clarification is giving me a new perspective and awareness. 
— Elena Romero

Participating in this live online retreat, I felt so hopeful that the world is ready to take its own responsibility to heal ourselves. I am grateful for experts like Dr. Gabor Maté and Betsy Polatin to show up for us all. I appreciate so deeply for the SAND Team for being such a safe, kind and powerful host for 900 people to show up for 4 days in a row in our effort to reconnect with ourselves. My breakthrough came the day after the retreat closed and it was profound. Amazing journey was hosted here and I'd recommend this for people who are ready to reconnect with themselves deeply.
— Astuti

SAND clearly brought expertise in both production and subject matter to this workshop, and facilitated a beautiful four-day conversation. It is not easy to facilitate a safer space that feels intimate online, and I feel they did a great job of this. I liked that there was flexibility in terms of format and timing, so it was smart of SAND to have a plan but adapt to the conversations happening in real time. Dr. Mate was wise and thought-provoking and I will carry these lessons with me for a long time. I'm very glad I attended this course and will definitely consider attending more in the future. I really appreciate that you collected the resources and published the videos so quickly, that was great. I will also say that for me personally the content was so much to take in, I will need to revisit these talks/books to process, so having them afterwards really adds to the value and would incentivize me to pay for this kind of program again.
— Morgan

The best event I have ever attended. I learnt so much. Gabor Mate is one incredible human being. The world needs more like him.
— Jacqueline Crow

The facilitators did a beautiful job of expressing enthusiasm and being personally moved by the great work of Dr. Mate and the corollary work of Betsy Polatin. What was very endearing is that Dr. Mate treated himself not only as the teacher but also the student. "We are all in this together......" Thank you for this opportunity.
— Marisha Zeffer

The move from live event to online was seamless. Kudos to the entire SAND team for accommodating 10 times more attendees than was intended for the live event. I look forward to participating in future SAND events.
— Todd Buttenham

The online retreat "The wisdom of trauma: returning to ourselves" has been a beautiful compassionate heartfelt event. Although online with so many (almost 1000) participants from all over the world, there was always the attention of personal care and space for every individual. The love for people and their struggles was present every moment and it carried all the turbulences of all the hurts and traumas safely through space and time. The cooperation of Betsy and Gabor was such a gift! Very grateful for the opportunity to have met these two wise and beautiful souls with their fierce passion for integrating childhood and other trauma. Thank you also for the generous gift of the scholarship that was granted to me. The experience to be seen and heard as well as to be supported was unplayable to me. You helped me do a safe and courageous step towards myself. Thank you.
— Verena Johann

The process was completely new and fresh to me, it moved in mysterious and unexpected ways, yet it hit me right in the heart! I've learnt so much about myself and the way my patterns were set during early childhood. I didn't know what it means to be compassionate towards myself — now I have some insight! This is definitely something priceless I want to keep close to me during my journey! Thank you Dr Maté and the whole team. 
— Aline

The retreat was outstanding and helped me immensely.
— Brant Herrett

The Returning to Ourselves workshop was stellar. The atmosphere was safe, open, and authentic. What I already knew about trauma and life was validated and then refined, expanded and deepened. I was moved many times, throughout and in the end, I felt and feel more connected to myself. The presenters and the hosts have strong palpable presences that are so clear and authentic. I learned so much from both the demonstrations and the presentation explanations. Truly, I could not be more grateful and inspired. I am sending love and gratitude and will be awaiting your documentary. I will be a promoter for your offerings.
— Dana Eugenia Locke

This event has changed the way I view the world and myself. I never imagined that an online event with so many people could feel so intimate, so safe and so engaging. I found the format perfect for the way I like to learn. The combination of intellectual, emotional and body work was so powerful. The live demonstrations really brought alive the principles that were discussed, and allowed me to relate them to my own experience. I joined the event to learn about Compassionate Enquiry, to improve my knowledge and skills for working with other people. I learnt so much that will be useful, and I was surprised to also learn a lot about myself. The support teams made us feel safe, and the additional resources will allow me to continue to build my knowledge. Heartfelt thanks to all of you for your skill, generosity and kindness in sharing such important work. Despite therapy of different forms over the years, I have never before identified that Fear was an important part of my childhood. I am hoping that this new discovery will help me to understand my reactions and physical state. Thank you.
— Melissa Taylor

This powerful retreat has changed my way of thinking and I learned so many things about myself and my family. It has had such a profound effect in me that I feel called to apply for the year-long study program! I am grateful I have discovered Dr Gabor Maté’s work and feel very aligned with it. Thanks to the amazing Sand Team!
— Linda Lee, Ottawa Canada 

This retreat has helped me so much! I have increased my ability to be in my body and listen to my body. I was able to dig deep into a specific trauma and use that new insight to make some important changes in my life currently. I have 12 nuggets of gold that I gleaned from my notes to use in my daily practice of self-reflection. I was very disappointed in the large number of participants at first. I was amazed at how I was able to fully embrace the process and appreciate this group of people from around the world doing this work in spite of the large group. I was able to avail myself of personal support with a CI practitioner. I had an amazing breakthrough with her. Thank you!
— Maureen Toth

This retreat is a gift from my lovely wife. It was unexpected and definitely different than any gift I was used with. What guided me through the entire journey were the powerful words at the beginning. Gabor said that we are here to learn, to experience, to observe so let's do it in an active way that will help us understand why some facts are a trigger and what is the meaning of them. Through the entire retreat I have behaved calm, I have observed my triggers, the shame, the lack of power in a careful way for me and others. The lessons were there and I could take them when they happened. Moreover, the impact is that, after two days from the retreat I have managed my depression in a different way. Used to relieve and calm down my associated anxiety with some wines, I recognized that I fooled myself, that what I need is to go through this miserable passage in a sober manner and to learn. Great achievement I would say. At the end, I would like to add an important appreciation for Betsy work: simple and powerful. I will try to repeat her exercises as often as possible. Thank you, Zaya & Maurizio for the event you have organized and lived in an honest and powerful manner together with us. Thank you Gabor. Big hugs for everybody.
— George Agafitei

This retreat provided the questions and support that I have been yearning to find. I had hoped to participate live but was only able to do that for the first session. It is beautiful to see all the faces of spirits joined together in time and space. Emergency caregiving responsibilities prohibited my further participation in the live sessions, but I found the recorded sessions to have their own beauty. It would have been financially impossible for me to travel to Italy to attend this retreat, so I am eternally grateful for the webinar. Gabor and Betsy and Zaya and Maurizio lovingly held the participants and created a safe and sacred space. 
— Sharri Fisher

This retreat was life-changing in such a deep and soft way. It was so beautiful to watch Gabor work with other participants giving both clarity and insights into the human experience. I personally experienced many insights and felt completely held within the virtual space that was created. Gratitude and a heartfelt thank you to all who made this retreat possible.
— Michelle

This retreat, even with the limits of digital delivery, was one of the most transformative healing events I have participated in and experienced. In a deeply profound way, I have commenced the journey of 'Returning to Myself' with a renewed sense of peace, courage, enthusiasm and joy — a new level of awakened compassion for the healing that we all need. 
I'm in love with you two precious hosts; Zaya & Maurizio and your entire team — Blessings and Gratitude

— Paul Bundschuh

This was a deep and satisfying dive into individual and collective trauma, with an emphasis on seeing the bigger picture. I really appreciated witnessing how Gabor worked with participants to teach them and all of us how to recognize our own trauma surfacing in others' stories. I learn a lot from witnessing this way - the slight distancing helps me to look at myself and others more clearly and hold a larger view of compassion. 
— Barbara

This was a transformational event even for me as a professional. My expectation of learning about CI was satisfied and I appreciated the form of demonstrating it in action instead of teaching like in a classroom. I even benefitted on a personal level, uncovered some deeper personal unresolved attachment issues that I could later work on with the help of a colleague. I recommend attending this event.

This was a valuable learning experience with just the right combination of theory (based on evidence), demonstrations to aid our comprehension and breathing techniques to get us up and moving. (…) Again, thank you all for the work you’re doing. 
— Heather Straight

This was a very powerful online retreat and given the number of participants, I felt very connected to the process and the speakers. I really appreciated how Gabor encouraged us and continued throughout the event, to remind us to remain connected to ourselves and what we were experiencing. Overall, a great experience. I totally believe in this work! It has helped me immensely on personal level. Thank you!! A great team and well organized. 
— Maryanne Larocque

This was a wonderful and well-contained online event with Dr. Gabor Maté and Betsy Polatin. What a variety of information, exercises, appropriate music, breaks, Q&A's, Zoom rooms for private Compassionate Inquiry and Support sessions and a great technical team. I really enjoyed Zaya's and Maurizio's centeredness, humbleness, gratitude and their love and drive to make it whole. Maurizio's sensitivity and ability to be vulnerable was just beautiful. Keep going to manifest your good and healing intentions for the world! Looking forward to more of this kind of retreats. The world is ready to heal.
— Ginny Warner

This was a wonderful experience, so many of us from all over the world engaging with Gabor, his work, and community. I was truly moved by the courage of participants, supported by the SAND team and Betsy’s gift of helping us to integrate Gabor’s teaching and regulate our physical being. The scholarship provided me with an opportunity to learn and grow. Gabor’s closing words echo with me… personal growth has to include the element of compassion for self. What a great contribution to all of us who (sometimes) struggle to be awake and aware. I am committed to bringing the work of this retreat into my daily activities and interactions with others. I am very grateful for this experience. Thank you for sharing the teaching and the love.
— Joan Westran

This was an amazing event. Gabor was brilliant in his ‘lecturing’ and working with others, he gave information on most of the topics covering trauma. I loved the way he interacted with everyone with the questions, kindness, and insightful, and I love his being so open and authentic. The production was excellent too, not one glitch! For zoom and with so many people, well done! My energy was pumping afterwards, I learnt so much! Thank you
— April Mannino

This was incredibly organized and facilitated by Zaya, Maurizio, and the entire SAND team. The content was rich and life changing for me. I gained a much deeper understanding of the trauma informed modalities of Compassionate Inquiry and Somatic Experiencing. I feel well prepared to continue on my healing journey with these tools. The container created was beautiful. I was engaged with each person Gabor worked with, and gained something in every case. I am so grateful for the offering of this workshop. A million thanks. 
— Catherine Theriault

This was one of my most incredible and valuable experiences ever. Beyond the top-quality organization, communication, administration and learning I was touched to my core by the healthy relationships in the team and by how this and so much else, including rare human qualities and warmth, reached me through the screen. I didn't consider it possible digitally. Until now. I am impressed! I bow down.
— Zoe Valerie

This workshop helps us to understand that most emotional upsets are related to past experiences gone through as children. It helps us reconnect with who we truly are. I appreciated SAND and everybody working for this project. It was quite amazing since people were working visually from several different countries. Gabor is an amazing teacher and I appreciate how he shares his own vulnerabilities. It makes you realize that even if you are old you can still be reacting to old childhood pain. This is medicine for relational living. I appreciate all the people who were courageous to do the work with Gabor and to help us see how childhood issues can be so embedded within us that we no longer see them. I thought the German fellow who agreed to work with Gabor showed us what can happen if we dialogue with each other over some upset. I just loved this part of the workshop. I look forward to seeing the documentary on Gabor sometime and I cried when I say the 8-minute film on the compassionate prison project. How wonderful those men are finally being told they are valuable—such a legacy of slavery, racism, financial inequality which brought most of them to prison. Bravo!
— Leslie

Very powerful and life changing. Like years of therapy in 12 hours.I hope you do it again
— Kori

Wonderful! A great intersection of learning as a human inside their own development, and as a facilitator in order to work more effectively with others.
— Tracee Kafer

Gabor, you have been my hero for these past 6 years or so, ever since I first heard you at a USJT conference. You say what I experience both as I am healing my own trauma and as I am working with trauma survivors as a therapist. And you say it with feeling, making it all real for everyone who genuinely wants to know. And then you endorsed my book, Beyond the Good-Girl Jail: When You Dare to Live from Your True Self, which came out in 2016 and totally emphasizes returning to our true self. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart for your very kind words. I am indeed grateful that you have come into my life.
— Sandra Felt

Human, truthful, compassionate — heartfelt, heart and soul-opening. The next day after the event I woke up with the feeling of "I'm newly born." I had a lot of energy! Again, thank you all of you. It was whole — holy!!!! 
— Munira Sabine Johne

As a CI student myself, it was a wonderful experience to deepen and integrate all the relevant contents for my professional practice, but also such a great opportunity to take further steps in my still ongoing personal healing process. I am short in words to convey my high level of admiration and love to the person of Gabor and all that he represents. Too much wisdom, compassion and presence in just one human being. Also, very grateful at the lovely person of Betsy Polatin and her original and very much needed contribution, for the improvement of self-knowledge and consciousness, through the body and its possibilities. Mainly in terms of working with trauma. I am very grateful with the organizers as well as delighted by the warmth presence and personal involvement of the hosts. Very happy and looking forward to the next release of documentary The Wisdom of Trauma. Such a great contribution of yours!
— Sonia Jimenez