Gabor Maté “Scattered Minds”

The author of the book, Dr. Gabor Mate, is a physician whose special interest is child development, childhood trauma and its possible impact on adult life. He himself has attention deficit disorder (ADD).

Relying on personal experience and scientific research, Dr. Mate explains how not only genes are responsible for ADD. The only thing that for sure depends on our genes, is personal sensitivity. People with ADD are hypersensitive, which is hereditary about ADD.

ADD arises in the infant and toddler because of stresses in the family, in society and culture.  Dr. Mate describes how life in family affects the brain and psychology of a person, especially in early childhood. He assumes that every child of one and the same family has different family. The state of mind of the parents is not the same, it depends on outward circumstances, as well as personal issues. Mate explains how our early childhood experiences, especially attunement between mother-child affects the development of ADD.

Partly the stresses in family are imposed by society, we are involved into a culture that celebrates a short attention span. Living in a complex society makes it nearly impossible to maintain absolute mindfulness, an unhindered awareness of the present.

The author’s conclusion is that ADD is caused by the impact of environment on particularly sensitive infants. He also offers a solution, giving examples how ADD children need to be helped to grow, “grow out” of ADD. Healing is a matter of sensitively and wisely supported growth.

The author`s warm regard and his willingness to share personal experience is encouraging and inspirational.


London: Vermilion, 2019

Check from e-catalogue ESTER.

Eha Elmi
Department of Literature in Foreign Languages

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