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Event Details

The Co-Occurring Conference Coalition proudly presents its 22nd annual conference on working with clients with co-occurring disorders. A person with a co-occurring disorder is someone who has one or more co-existing mental illnesses in addition to substance use or substance dependence disorders.

Gabor Maté (pronunciation: GAH-bor MAH-tay) is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of four books published in twenty-five languages, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness. His book on addiction received the Hubert Evans Prize for literary non-fiction. For his groundbreaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction, and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown, Vancouver. His books include In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction; When the Body Says No; Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection; Scattered: How ADD Originates and What You Can Do About It; and (with Gordon Neufeld) Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. To learn more, join his e-news list at

Educational Goals

For twelve years Dr. Maté was the staff physician at a clinic for drug-addicted people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he worked with patients challenged by hard-core drug addiction, mental illness and HIV, including at Vancouver Supervised Injection Site. In his most recent bestselling book In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts, he shows that their addictions do not represent a discrete set of medical disorders; rather, they merely reflect the extreme end of a continuum of addiction, mostly hidden, that runs throughout our society. In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts draws on cutting-edge science to illuminate where and how addictions originate and what they have in common. Contrary to what is often claimed, the source of addictions is not to be found in genes, but in the early childhood environment where the neurobiology of the brain’s reward pathways develops and where the emotional patterns that lead to addiction are wired into the unconscious. Stress, both then and later in life, creates the predisposition for addictions, whether to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or to behavioral addictions such as shopping or sex. Helping the individual requires that we appreciate the function of the addiction in his or her life. More than a disease, the addiction is a response to a distressing life history and life situation. Once we recognize the roots of addiction and the lack it strives (in vain) to fill, we can develop a compassionate approach toward the addict, one that stands the best chance of restoring him or her to wholeness and health.

Educational Credits

Application has been approved for 6.0 Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals (MCBAP, specific to substance use) credits, 6.0 Michigan Social Work (BSW/MSW) CEUs and 6.0 Michigan Board of Nursing credits. All sessions must be attended and an evaluation submitted to be eligible for credit.


1. Understand the source of addictions.

2. Learn about the chemical and physiological circuits impaired in the brains of people with substance dependency or behavior addictions.

3. Examine the false “blessings” of addiction as experienced by a person with addiction i.e., Emotional anesthetic, personality booster, social lubricant.

4. Learn about the development of the addicted mind: how early childhood experiences shape the brain.

5. Distinguish the social basis of addiction in economic, cultural and political dislocation and disempowerment.

6. Explore the question of how much choice does the addict really have, and how much responsibility.

7. Develop the capacity to foster a therapeutic relationship in which healing is possible.

8. Develop the capacity to encourage the person dealing with addiction to take responsibility.

9. Understand the role of harm reduction in addiction treatment.

10. Learn the principles of addiction prevention.

The Agenda

7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Registration
Continental Breakfast (included)

8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Impaired Chemical and Physiological Circuits

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
False Blessings of Addiction

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Development of the Brain and Impact of Childhood Experiences

12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Working Lunch (included)
Social Basis of Addiction in Economic, Cultural and Political Dislocation and Disempowerment; How Much Choice Does A Person with Addiction Really Have?

2:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Fostering a Healing Therapeutic Relationship; How to Encourage Responsibility; Role of Harm Reduction in Addiction Treatment; Principles of Addiction Prevention; Questions

3:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Break
Conference Close, Evaluations, Certificates

Parking provided at the Hagerty Center.

No cancellations accepted, but substitutions can be made.

Venue Information

Hagerty Conference Center at NMC
715 East Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 995-1146

Organizer Information

Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority

105 Hall Street
Suite A
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 935-3099

More Events

Cynthia Peterson
(231) 935-3099
[email protected]