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

Front Cover
Allen Lane, 2014 - Mind and body - 443 pages

Trauma does not just happen to other people - it happens to us, our friends and family and our neighbours. While humans are an extremely resilient species, 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.

Based on studies conducted at the author's Trauma Centre in Boston, as well as on the work of specialists around the world, The Body Keeps the Scorewill shed new light on the impact of trauma that could alleviate the suffering of millions of people.

Praise for The Body Keeps Score

'In this inspirational work which seamlessly weaves keen clinical observation, neuroscience, historical analysis, the arts, and personal narrative, Dr van der Kolk has created an authoritative guide to the effects of trauma, and pathways to recovery. The book is full of wisdom, humanity, compassion and scientific insight, gleaned from a lifetime of clinical service, research and scholarship in the field of traumatic stress.' Rachel Yehuda, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York

'Every once in a while, a book comes along that fundamentally changes the way we look at the world. Bessel van der Kolk has written such a book. The arc of van der Kolk's story is vast and comprehensive, but he is such a skilful storyteller that he keeps us riveted to the page. I could not put this book down. It is, simply put, a great work.' Stephen Cope, Founder and Director, Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living

'This exceptional book will be a classic of modern psychiatric thought. The impact of overwhelming experience can only be truly understood when many disparate domains of knowledge, such as neuroscience, developmental psychopathology, and interpersonal neurobiology are integrated, as this work uniquely does.' Alexander McFarlane Director of the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, The University of Adelaide

'The Body Keeps the Scoreis a cutting-edge offering for the general reader to comprehend the complex effects of trauma, and a guide to a wide array of scientifically informed approaches to not only reduce suffering, but to move beyond mere survival - and to thrive.' Daniel J. Siegel, Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

'This is a masterpiece of powerful understanding and brave heartedness, one of the most intelligent and helpful works on trauma I have ever read. Dr van der Kolk offer a brilliant synthesis of clinical cases, neuroscience, powerful tools and caring humanity, offering a whole new le

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

User Review  - Book Verdict

Renowned trauma researcher van der Kolk's book is comprehensive in scope. The author explains in clear terms the physical causes and manifestations of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), how vast ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk is one of the world's foremost experts on traumatic stress. He is the founder and medical director of the Trauma Center in Boston, USA, and director of the Complex Trauma Treatment Network. A past professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School, Dr. van der Kolk is the author of several scholarly books and over a hundred scientific articles.

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