A Lifetime of Learning and Healing

A Message from Maria Coutant Skinner, President & CEO

March 29, 2024

Dear friends;

I had the distinct pleasure and honor of hosting a fireside chat with Dr Gabor Maté last Thursday. The conversation was preceded by an hour-long lecture that was filled with invaluable information gleaned from his many years as a physician, researcher, and author. The entire two-hour long webinar had more takeaways than I can count. Please take some time to view it in its entirety – it is linked at the end of this newsletter. His courageous vulnerability in sharing his healing journey, and the many ways his unhealed trauma can still (at 80) be expressed when he is stressed, perceives rejection, abandonment or loss of control allows for the rest of us to admit our own flaws as well.

Dr Maté’s approach to understanding the human condition as it relates to addiction, mental health, and physical illness is that these are manifested reactions to our unhealed trauma and pain (in conjunction with other risk factors). He practices an approach called Compassionate Inquiry in the assessment and treatment of maladies faced by his patients. In that approach, he queries people on their childhood experiences, what pain they are experiencing, and how they soothe that pain. In asking not why the addiction but why the pain, he has found much more effective pathways to healing.

When questioned where personal responsibility lies in that approach, Dr Maté said that our society often confuses responsibility with blame. Each of us is responsible for our healing. However, when we are approached by another with compassion rather than shame, control, cajoling or guilt, we are much more likely to have the capacity to take that responsibility and do the healing work.

That resonated deeply with me. I only had to think back a few days earlier when I was crabby with Greg (my husband) for not following up with his doctor about a medical concern. When I’ve attempted to change, control, or fix someone else, I’ve justified those actions by explaining that the person’s safety and well-being are at risk. While that may very well be true, my approach when it is coming from that wounded (anxious) part of me is not healthy or effective. In other words, those reactions to another’s behaviors point out the work I have yet to do. We are ever-evolving works in progress, my wonderful friends.

Thanks for being on this journey with me,

Maria Coutant Skinner President & CEO

Webinar Recording

Substance Use, Society and Social Impact: A Presentation and Fireside Chat with Dr. Gabor Maté

The highly anticipated presentation featuring renowned author and addiction expert Dr. Gabor Maté, alongside McCall’s President and CEO Maria Coutant Skinner, LCSW, is now LIVE!

Watch the recording