Pathways to Wholeness

Pathways to Wholeness

With Gabor Maté and Betsy Polatin  •  Nov. 30–Dec. 3, 2023 9am–12pm PST

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 talks and interactive engagements with and among 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 in breath and movement, including 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.

The guidance 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

Welcome 9:00–9:05
Betsy Polatin - Breath and Movement 9:05–9:15
Gabor Maté - Presentation and Q&A 9:15–10:10
Betsy Polatin - Breath and Movement 10:10–10:20
Breakout Sessions 10:20–10:50
Break 10:50–11:05
Gabor Maté - Presentation and Q&A 11:05–11:50
Betsy Polatin - Breath and Movement 11:50–12:00

Find the time in your time zone

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Recommended Pre-Event Orientation

On November 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 technical container of the event. 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 presentations 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 the level at which you feel comfortable participating. 
  • If you have any concerns, please reach out to the SAND team. We are here to support you.


  • 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.

Applications will open October 15, 2023
Applications will close November 15, 2023
Notifications will be sent November 20, 2023
Deadline to register with a scholarship is November 25, 2023

Please note scholarships are intended for those who would otherwise not be able to attend. Refunds will not be offered to scholarship applicants who have already registered. 

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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Nov 29, 2023 9:00am - 10:00am PST

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Module 1

Nov 30, 2023 9:00am - 12:00pm PST

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Module 2

Dec 1, 2023 9:00am - 12:00pm PST

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Module 3

Dec 2, 2023 9:00am - 12:00pm PST

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Module 4

Dec 3, 2023 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.

What some of the participants share after the workshop:

I would never have expected an online event to be so powerful, personal and touching. I feel like I have been propelled into a whole new dimension of understanding, connectedness and healing. I am so grateful and feel blessed in many ways. Thank you all who made this possible. 
— Nina Kraus

This was an absolutely fantastic event. I learned so much that will be both personally helpful and that I can use in my therapy practice.
   — Ian Buchanan

Powerful, soul searching, understanding, supporting and most of all raising awareness and being held throughout the event. Very kind and supportive team. 
— Brenda DeLord

The workshop with Gabor is enlightening, empowering, and extremely powerful. It is transformative. His work never loses its freshness, that is how speaking of truth is. 
— Marjan Emami

Dr. Gabor Maté 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

Gabor Maté 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