Returning to Ourselves: The Wisdom of Trauma<br />A 4-Day Online Retreat

Returning to Ourselves: The Wisdom of Trauma
A 4-Day Online Retreat

With Gabor Maté, Betsy Polatin, and Lorraine Taylor  •  July 16-19, 2020 • 9am-12pm PDT

A Unique Live Online Event

For many of us, the global crisis has reactivated old fears, depression, dissociation, feelings of isolation and numbness. We live in times of uncertainty that awaken old traumas and reactions in us. When we are under stress and feel challenged, we resort to old patterns of survival. 

Join Dr. Gabor Maté & Betsy Polatin for a 4-day Live, online retreat July 16–19, 2020 from 9am-12pm Pacific Time. In this unique workshop we will learn to:

  • Apply Dr Gabor Maté’s Compassionate Inquiry technique to access early traumatic event and uncover unconscious feeling states
  • Trace and uncover repressed emotional states through body awareness
  • Utilize meditation and breathing practices to generate calm and stability
  • Express what has until now remained unexpressed from early trauma
  • Cultivate self-acceptance and self-compassion, being with what is
  • Access implicit memory through body sensations and emotions
  • Cultivate patience, respect and choice in the healing process
  • Find a balanced stance in ourselves

Many turn to spirituality to alleviate pain and suffering. The internal discomfort of anger, sadness, fear, shame, or self-loathing is soothed by pleasant or blissful experiences encountered through meditation, yoga, chanting, prayer and connecting in community. Spiritual bypass occurs when we use our spiritual beliefs, practices, community and way of life to avoid experiencing, revealing and processing emotional pain. The original wound can remain unhealed, despite years of dedicated spiritual practice. We may even intensify our practice in a disciplined effort to suppress difficult emotions.

Spiritual bypassing can be addressed through compassionately guided self-inquiry supported by bodywork, which, together, invite pain, discomfort and repressed emotions to come to the surface to be experienced, witnessed and worked through in a safe, supportive setting. Acceptance, allowing, non-judgement, expression and self-compassion are the ingredients needed for resolution.

This moment of crisis and uncertainty provides a potent opportunity to recognize old trauma dynamics and create new ways to respond informed by trauma education.

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 drivers, and how they limit your wholeness, choice and freedom
  • to bring healing and integration to traumatic events from the past
  • to participate in daily, live inquiry sessions with Dr. Gabor Maté

This program will feature Dr. Gabor Maté’s unique therapeutic work and teaching, Compassionate Inquiry, enhanced by movement and breathwork led by Betsy Polatin. We will explore emotional realities and traumatic imprints that spiritual modalities often ignore. It 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.

The teaching will be articulated in four main themes:

      1. Recognizing Trauma Dynamics
      2. Staying Grounded and Connected
      3. Expanding Compassion
      4. Developing Resilience 

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.

Workshop structure: July 16–19, 9:00–12:00 PDT

This 4-day live, online retreat consists of one daily 3-hour session, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT. Gabor will be offering a mixture of didactic presentation and interactive work with participants.The event is structured like a live retreat, and all participants are invited to participate live to all sessions on all days. 

Having a webcamera is strongly recommended. Gabor is asking participants to have their video turned on. Priority to questions will also be given to those that have their video enabled.

Sessions will take place through the Zoom platform. A link will be sent to participants upon registration.

Daily structure:

Betsy Polatin - Breath and Movement 9:00 – 9:10
Gabor Maté - Presentation and Q&A 9:10 – 10:35
Betsy Polatin - Breath and Movement 10:35 – 10:45
Break 10:45 – 11:00
Gabor Maté - Presentation and Q&A 11:00 – 11:50
Betsy Polatin - Breath and Movement 11:50 – 12:00


See this event in your time zone

Workshop container:

  • Confidentiality is an integral part to the container of this event. Please do not share any session content with anyone.
  • Questions by Gabor are to be considered an invitation to participate, and not a demand. If you don't feel like participating, you don't need to. Even if you have agreed to an exchange with Gabor, you can back out any time you want.
  • We encourage you to be open about any concern you may have, when it arises.
  • Questions are to be asked live, with video on, using the raise your hand button.
  • If something about the process disturbs you, don't talk to other retreat participants or to someone outside the course without talking to someone who can do something about it. Talking to other participants might bring release, but does not necessarily bring the change you can experience from the process.
  • For any technical questions, or any questions or comments about the container, please do not talk to Betsy or Gabor directly. Please talk to facilitators/organizers privately through the zoom platform chat window or by email.
  • If you have a question and feel uncomfortable sharing directly, you can write to facilitators and have your comments/questions answered anonymously.
  • Facilitators will moderate the chat window and alert Gabor/Betsy if anything needs attention.
  • We encourage you to use the chat feature to respond to and get involved with the process that is happening, and not for social chatting.


Prices are in United States Dollars.


The general scholarship application period for this event has ended. We have awarded over 600 partial and full scholarships already. If you missed this application window, we invite you to join our newsletter to know about these opportunities for future events.

At SAND, we have always sustained a deep commitment to accessibility, acknowledging that we all come from all different socioeconomic backgrounds.  We provide hundreds of scholarships to all of our events whether in person or on-line. To ensure equitable distribution of scholarships and to support our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) participants, we have established a BIPOC Scholarship. This scholarship is for Black, Indigenous and People of Color with financial needs at this time who are strongly interested in attending this event. 

  • Scholarship applications will be accepted until July 8
  • Notifications will be emailed by July 10.
  • Once accepted, you will need to register no later than July 13.

Refund Policy

The registration fee for SAND’s online events is non-refundable*. Please note that your registration includes access to all recordings of the event, so any missed sessions may be watched at a later date.

*SAND will consider refund requests due to an extraordinary circumstance or emergency on a case by case basis. Please contact us at [email protected] should you have additional questions about this policy.

Continuing Education

12 CE's are available for an additional $40 via Cassidy Seminars. Purchase CE's here upon completion of this course.  All sessions must be attended live in their entirety in order to receive CE's.

Watch on demand

Purchase this item to access

Lorraine Taylor: Yoga & The Vagus Nerve

A 30 minute sequence of gentle yoga asana and pranayama to activate the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system. This helps to calm any stress or tension and bring healing to all the different levels of who we are. Its a simple sequence for all levels of flexibility with an attention on being kind and compassionate to the body and anything that is stirred up from within. We learn to meet all that is arising in this moment with an openness and curiosity to understand who we are. 

Duration: 30 minutes

Watch on demand

Purchase this item to access

Lorraine Taylor: Yoga & the Nervous System

A 30 minute sequence of gentle yoga asana to activate the parasympathetic nervous system helping to calm stress, release tension and bring healing. Its a simple sequence for all levels of flexibility with an attention on opening the heart and cultivating an attitude of kindness and compassion in each movement. When we learn to meet all that is arising in this moment with openness and curiosity, we can understand ourselves more deeply and discover who we are on all levels of our being from the physical and energetic to the emotional, mental, intuitive and beyond. Ultimately bringing a greater wisdom and acceptance to our lives. 

Duration: 30 minutes

Watch on demand

Purchase this item to access

Compassionate Inquiry Handout (downloadable)

Click the "Watch Now" button to access.

Stream on demand in
5 days

Purchase this item to access

Optional Pre-Event Tech Orientation

Jul 15, 2020 9:00am - 9:30am PDT

Stream on demand in
6 days

Purchase this item to access

Day 1: Recognizing Trauma Dynamics

Jul 16, 2020 9:00am - 12:00pm PDT

Stream on demand in
1 week

Purchase this item to access

Day 2: Staying Grounded and Connected

Jul 17, 2020 9:00am - 12:00pm PDT

Stream on demand in
1 week

Purchase this item to access

Day 3: Expanding Compassion

Jul 18, 2020 9:00am - 12:00pm PDT

Stream on demand in
1 week

Purchase this item to access

Day 4: Developing Resilience

Jul 19, 2020 9:00am - 12:00pm PDT

Gabor Maté

Gabor Maté, M.D. is a physician and best-selling author whose books have been published in twenty languages. His interests include child development, the mind-body unity in health and illness, and the treatment of addictions. Gabor has worked in palliative care and as a family physician, and for fourteen years practiced addiction medicine in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. As a speaker he regularly addresses professional and lay audiences throughout North America. He is the recipient of a number of awards, including a Simon Fraser University Outstanding Alumnus Award and an honorary degree from the University of Northern British Columbia. His most recent book, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction, won the Hubert Evans Prize for literary nonfiction. He is Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Criminology, Simon Fraser University.

Betsy Polatin

Betsy Polatin, an internationally recognized teacher, is currently a Master Lecturer at Boston University's College of Fine Arts. She has been teaching for forty years and has training in music, dance, yoga, trauma, meditation, and the healing arts. Teaching experience includes; Music Schools, Meditation Centers, the Psychotherapy Networker, Performing Arts Medicine Association, Bessel van der Kolk’s International Trauma Conference, and many other classes in the US and abroad. Betsy is currently co-teaching a class with Dr Peter Levine, international trauma expert, called, "Trauma and the Performing Artist.” Her unique combination of work, The Actor’s Secret, blends the Alexander Technique with Carl Stough’s Breathing Coordination principles and Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing. Having been involved with meditation since 1966, her work is greatly influenced by spiritual, and meditation masters. As a breathing and movement specialist, she has had numerous articles published in the Huffington Post. Her new book, Humanual, is a manual for being human.

Lorraine Taylor

Lorraine Taylor is contributing some short gentle yoga asana and pranayama sequences to activate the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system. 

From a very young age, Lorraine was fascinated by the beauty of movement and music. Her childhood was spent exploring the body through gymnastics, ice skating and different styles of dance. In her early twenties, a strong calling to the path of Yoga became the catalyst for many deeper realisations in her life and she left everything behind to follow this call. She has now been a dedicated Yogini and lover of Truth for almost thirty years. She specialises in offering an insightful feminine way of practising Yoga, bringing forth her love of Tantra and Kashmir Shaivism.  She has also dedicated many years to the study of Jnana (Non Duality), Bhakti (Devotion) as well as Traditional Hatha Yoga which has led her to discover the depths of the Yogic practice, understanding the beauty of the fluid form while investigating the more subtle layers that exist within us. Ultimately pointing to what lies beyond which is the true meaning of Yoga. Oneness. She is currently very inspired by somatic based practices and trauma informed Yoga, recognising how important this work is right now in our current world. Her classes are a journey of who we are on every level from the physical to the beyond all shared with a healthy dose of humour and an open heart.