The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

by Bessel A. van der Kolk

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  • Releasing Guilt and Shame

    Guilt and shame are amongst the most common effects of trauma. Many survivors fixate on how they acted during the traumatic experience or that it may have been their fault. People may hate themselves for how they felt - too afraid, too loud, too soft, too slow, or too dependent. These feelings of gu

  • Trust

    Trauma affects our ability to trust others. This is why it is extremely difficult for trauma survivors to engage in intimate relationships and make meaningful connections with others. Part of working through trauma, then, is by ensuring that a traumatized person has ample social support. Like all hu

  • Treating Trauma Through Experience

    Bottom-up treatments target the autonomic nervous system through breathing, movement, and physical touch. One vehicle of therapy might be yoga, for instance. These forms of treatment acknowledge that patients will not forget their trauma, but instead build new memories that make them feel the opposi

  • Medication To Treat Trauma

    Through decades in his field, van der Kolk has witnessed an unimaginable pharmacological revolution. Responsible for a drastic reduction in the number of patients in mental hospitals in America, antipsychotic medicines have completely changed psychiatry. Though their results are impressive, the auth

  • Talking as Treatment for Trauma

    Top-down treatment is based on the idea that processing traumatic events by 'talking them out' is an essential step towards moving past them. During this kind of therapy, a survivor will recount the event in great detail. In this way, survivors work to understand their trauma and the circumstances s

  • Treatments for Trauma

    Van der Kolk's research has drawn on the disciplines of neuroscience, developmental psychopathology, and interpersonal neurobiology. Together, these three disciplines have shown that trauma does, indeed, rewire physical and mental perceptions. For the victim, the world is filled with threats and dan

  • Trauma Addiction

    Because of the numbness caused by trauma, some victims may seek experiences that they believe will make them feel alive once more. Dr. van der Kolk's experiences with these victims suggest that they feel 'bored' and empty when they are not under emotional pressure or duress or when they are not enga

  • Trauma Turns Physical

    The chronic anger and fear that trauma induces can lead to very real physical symptoms. The muscle tension resulting from constant stress and anxiety makes the body susceptible to aches and pains, inflammation, spasms, headaches, and many other forms of pain. Physical repercussions can even go as fa

  • Trauma on the Psyche

    The premise of this book is that trauma continues to fester long after it has been inflicted. Traumatic experiences affect how victims view the world, navigate interpersonal relationships, regulate emotions, and open themselves up to enjoyment. Victims will often live their lives on the edge, with c

  • Trauma is Universal

    Dr. van der Kolk begins by acknowledging the universality of trauma. Popular perspectives of trauma make it easy to believe that it is something experienced by victims of 'extreme' cases like war or famine. The author, however, argues differently. He states that trauma is more common than we think a

  • What Affect Does Trauma Have on The Body?

    In The Body Keeps the Score, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk explores the long-lasting effects of trauma on the human body and psyche. Drawing on decades of experience as a researcher and clinician, he shares his studies' extensive results on the impact of trauma - often focusing on childhood trauma and its

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