Dr. Gabor Maté urges psychotherapy professionals to take a more holistic approach in their understanding of chronic disease, and to make the connections between childhood trauma and almost all serious physical and mental health conditions.

As a psychotherapy professional, I’ve taken notice of a strange and re-occurring phenomenon that finds its way into the counselling room regarding a connection between physical and mental well-being.  What I’ve observed over decades of experience in mental health is this: the longer that people have lived with anxiety, depression or any so-called mental illness, the more likely they are to report conditions of physical disease such as fibromyalgia, IBS, arthritis, cancer or chronic pain.

I know, I know: correlation does not equal cause.  But, consider this for a moment: the roots of most chronic illness can be found in childhood trauma.

Of course, environmental toxins, lifestyle and even genetic factors can also play a role in the onset of physical disease. But, we need to pay attention to the link between unresolved childhood trauma and physical illness.

Very few in the world have done more work and more research on this issue than Dr. Gabor Maté who wrote the best-selling book “When the Body Says No” over fifteen years ago.  At a recently held Daybreak workshop, Dr. Maté made a very convincing case for all psychotherapy professionals to adopt a trauma-informed treatment approach that includes recognition of the impact of trauma on most physical and mental health conditions.


Just about everything that we call illness begins (and is) rooted in compensations and adaptations that have to do with childhood trauma. (Dr.Gabor Maté).


You can view an excerpt from the workshop here:



Yep.  You heard that part in the above video correctly.   ALL of the following need to be seriously looked at from the lens of childhood trauma:

  • Anxiety
  • Addictions
  • Arthritis
  • ADHD
  • ALS
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Fatige
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • MS
  • Psychosis

And that list is just the beginning.  My belief is that the medical treatment options available for any physical or mental chronic illness MUST include a framework that helps people identify and transcend the life-time (and often repressed) pain of early traumatic experiences.

Watch Dr.Maté’s entire workshop here


About Karen Day

Karen Day is the President of Daybreak Therapy and Training, an international network of mental health professionals offering integrative and holistic psychotherapy. As a Registered Social Worker and Clinical Counselling Hypnotherapist, Karen specializes in anxiety and trauma related issues including: panic, fears, phobias, OCD, and chronic stress. With her colleagues at Daybreak Therapy and Training, she believes strongly in the innate wisdom and healing potential of every individual, and the unique inter-connections of body, mind and spirit.