The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk MD (Author)  Penguin Books (September 25, 2014)

Body Keeps the ScoreThis is the book that everyone working with trauma survivors must read. Yes, that means you. The miracle of this book is that it contains everything we know now about trauma and what heals, including the brain science, AND it is engaging and readable. Really. I mean it. You will find yourself drawn forward by fascinating stories, pertinent examples, personal history from Bessel van der Kolk, and complex ideas made suddenly understandable.

The first part of the book explores how we have learned about trauma, from soldiers and scientists. It also describes Bessel van der Kolk’s own journey through difficult jobs and through learning from patients. Next, the book explains what we know about the brain and body, and how they react to trauma. When you read this, you will understand behaviors in a new and profound way.

Then the book explores the developing minds of children, both in normal and in traumatic upbringings. It demonstrates the long lasting effect of abuse and neglect, and their high societal cost. It contains a detailed explanation of the ACEs study. The work of various researchers is woven together. Van der Kolk describes the formation of the National Child Traumatic Stress Institute and its important accomplishments. The development, testing, submission and ultimate rejection of the Developmental Trauma Disorder is described.

That later half of the book offers many practical paths to recovery. An inherent theme is that talk therapy alone is not enough, as the trauma has caused so many bodily disruptions. Therefore, such interventions as EMDR, yoga, theater, and neurofeedback are recommended.

The book ends with a discussion of societal implications of what we now know about trauma, focusing especially on those for schools.

Read this book. It is fascinating, accessible, intriguing, and full of knowledge and practical suggestions. It will transform your work. Read it, and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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