The Body Keeps the Score – Bessel van der Kolk
The effects of trauma can be devastating for sufferers, their families and future generations. Here one of the world’s experts on traumatic stress offers a bold new paradigm for treatment, moving away from standard talking and drug therapies and towards an alternative approach that heals mind, brain and body.
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The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma
Trauma does not just happen to other people – it happens to us, our friends and family and our neighbours. While humans are able to rebound from relentless wars, family violence and manmade disasters, experiences like these inevitably leave traces: on our minds, our emotions and even on our biology and immune systems. This matters not just to those who are directly affected, but to the people around them: the wives of men with PTSD tend to become depressed, abused children often go on to have violent relationships, soldiers are prone to terrorizing their families.
In The Body Keeps the Score, Dr Bessel van der Kolk shares thirty years of experience in dealing with the traumatized to offer a new paradigm for treating traumatic stress and restoring the capacity for pleasure, intimacy and joy. Standard talking and drug therapies, he argues, have not been proven to resolve the imprint of trauma in sufferers’ lives. We now understand how traumatic experiences literally rearrange the brain’s wiring and how, under the right circumstances, the areas of the brain dedicated to feelings of meaning, engagement, control and trust can be activated again. That understanding has allowed us to develop tools to help traumatized people regulate their emotions and engage fully in life, ranging from neurofeedback to trauma processing, mindfulness meditation to play and yoga. The Body Keeps the Score sheds new light on the impact of trauma that could alleviate the suffering of millions of people.