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The Body Keeps the Score: Review

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

Book Author: Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

5 Reasons You Should Read This Book Today

  1. Gain a Comprehensive Understanding of Trauma: "The Body Keeps the Score" provides readers with a comprehensive and accessible understanding of the impact of trauma on the human body and mind. It covers the latest research and clinical experience, and offers practical tools for healing and recovery.

  2. Find Validation and Empowerment: The book provides validation to those who have experienced trauma, acknowledging the real impact it has on individuals and their lives. It also empowers individuals to take an active role in their own healing by providing practical strategies for managing symptoms and promoting recovery.

  3. Learn About a Holistic Approach to Healing: The book emphasizes the importance of treating the whole person, not just the symptoms of trauma. It offers a range of approaches to healing, including therapy, medication, body-centered therapies, and self-care practices, giving readers a holistic view of trauma recovery.

  4. Develop a Greater Awareness of the Impact of Trauma: Through the book, readers can develop a greater awareness of the impact of trauma on individuals, families, and communities. They can gain insight into the role of social support and the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment for healing.

  5. Improve Overall Well-Being: Reading "The Body Keeps the Score" can help readers improve their overall well-being by providing practical tools for managing symptoms of trauma and promoting recovery. The book's approach to self-care and self-regulation can help individuals improve their physical and mental health, leading to a more fulfilling and satisfying life.






Summary

"The Body Keeps the Score" by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk is a compelling and enlightening book about how trauma affects the body and mind. It is based on decades of research, clinical experience, and personal insights. The book offers a new perspective on trauma and provides practical tools for healing and recovery.


The first section of the book explores the nature of trauma and its effects on the body and brain. Dr. van der Kolk explains that trauma is not just a psychological phenomenon but also a physical one. Trauma disrupts the body's natural balance and creates a state of hyperarousal or dissociation. These states can lead to a range of symptoms such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain.


The second section of the book delves into the various treatments for trauma. Dr. van der Kolk explores a range of approaches, including talk therapy, medication, and body-centered therapies. He also discusses the role of social support and the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment for healing.


The third section of the book focuses on the importance of self-care and self-regulation. Dr. van der Kolk emphasizes that individuals can take an active role in their own healing by developing practices such as mindfulness, yoga, and other somatic therapies. These practices can help regulate the nervous system and reduce symptoms of trauma.


One of the key themes of the book is the need for a holistic approach to healing trauma. Dr. van der Kolk emphasizes that trauma affects the whole person and that healing requires a multidisciplinary approach. He advocates for a combination of therapy, medication, body-centered therapies, and self-care practices.


Another important theme is the role of childhood trauma in adult mental health. Dr. van der Kolk highlights the fact that childhood trauma is a significant risk factor for a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. He emphasizes the need for early intervention and prevention.


Dr. van der Kolk also discusses the importance of understanding trauma in a social context. He argues that trauma is not just an individual issue but also a social and political one. He highlights the impact of systemic oppression and inequality on individuals and communities.


Throughout the book, Dr. van der Kolk shares stories of his patients and their experiences with trauma. These stories are powerful and moving, and they provide insight into the complex nature of trauma and the challenges of healing. Dr. van der Kolk's personal experiences and reflections add depth and authenticity to the book.


Overall, "The Body Keeps the Score" is a must-read for anyone interested in trauma and its effects on the body and mind. It offers a comprehensive and compassionate perspective on trauma and provides practical tools for healing and recovery. Dr. van der Kolk's writing is engaging and accessible, and the book is filled with insights and wisdom. It is a valuable resource for individuals, therapists, and anyone interested in understanding and addressing the impact of trauma on our lives.

Raves

"The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk has received numerous positive reviews from readers on Amazon. Here is a detailed summary of some of the reviews:


"Life-changing book" - Many readers described the book as life-changing and transformative. They appreciated the author's compassionate approach to trauma and his emphasis on the importance of treating the whole person, not just the symptoms.


"Clear and accessible writing" - Readers also praised the author's clear and accessible writing style. They appreciated that the book was written in language that was easy to understand, even for those without a background in psychology.


"Valuable insights into trauma" - Many readers found the book to be an invaluable resource for understanding trauma and its effects on the body and mind. They appreciated the author's depth of knowledge and his ability to explain complex concepts in a way that was both informative and engaging.


"Practical tools for healing" - Readers also appreciated that the book offered practical tools and strategies for healing trauma. They found the exercises and practices outlined in the book to be helpful and effective in managing symptoms of trauma.


"Important read for anyone" - Many readers emphasized that the book was an important read for anyone, not just those who had experienced trauma. They found the insights and information in the book to be applicable to a wide range of situations and issues.


Overall, readers found "The Body Keeps the Score" to be a valuable and informative resource for understanding and healing trauma. They appreciated the author's compassionate approach and his emphasis on the importance of treating the whole person. The book was praised for its clear and accessible writing style, practical tools and strategies, and applicability to a wide range of situations and issues.

Critiques

While "The Body Keeps the Score" has received overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon, there are a few negative reviews as well. Here is a detailed summary of some of the negative reviews:


"Not enough scientific evidence" - Some readers criticized the book for not providing enough scientific evidence to back up the author's claims. They found the book to be too anecdotal and lacking in empirical data.


"Too dense and academic" - Other readers found the book to be too dense and academic, with a writing style that was difficult to follow. They found the book to be overly technical and lacking in practical advice.


"Too focused on trauma" - A few readers criticized the book for being too narrowly focused on trauma, to the exclusion of other important mental health issues. They felt that the author did not provide a broad enough perspective on mental health and wellness.


"Too critical of traditional psychiatry" - Some readers felt that the author was too critical of traditional psychiatry and medication-based treatments for mental health issues. They believed that the author dismissed the benefits of medication and therapy in favor of alternative treatments.


"Not helpful for everyone" - A few readers felt that the book was not helpful for everyone, and that the author's approach to trauma might not work for everyone. They felt that the book was too prescriptive and did not take into account the individual differences in experiences of trauma.


Overall, while there are some negative reviews of "The Body Keeps the Score," they are few in number compared to the overwhelmingly positive reviews. Some readers criticized the book for lacking scientific evidence, being too dense and academic, and being too narrowly focused on trauma. However, the majority of readers found the book to be an invaluable resource for understanding and healing trauma, with practical tools and strategies for managing symptoms and improving overall well-being.



Fan FaQs

Bessel van der Kolk is a Dutch-American psychiatrist and researcher who is widely recognized as a leading expert on trauma and its effects on the human body and mind. Born on May 3, 1943, in The Hague, Netherlands, he spent his childhood in a family that valued learning and education.


Van der Kolk attended medical school at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, where he received his M.D. in 1969. He then moved to the United States and completed his psychiatric training at Harvard Medical School, where he also served as a faculty member for over 20 years.


Throughout his career, van der Kolk has been at the forefront of research on trauma and its effects on the human body and mind. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on the subject and is the author of several books, including "The Body Keeps the Score," which has become a seminal work on trauma and its treatment.


Van der Kolk has also been a pioneering figure in the development of new treatments for trauma. He has been involved in the development and implementation of a range of innovative therapies, including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and neurofeedback.


In addition to his research and clinical work, van der Kolk has been a passionate advocate for the recognition and treatment of trauma. He has worked to raise awareness of the impact of trauma on individuals and communities and has been a vocal critic of the traditional psychiatric approach to trauma, which he believes focuses too heavily on medication and talk therapy.


Throughout his career, van der Kolk has received numerous awards and honors for his work. He was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies in 2010 and was named one of the "top 10 innovators in mental health" by the Huffington Post in 2015.


Van der Kolk is currently the founder and medical director of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, which provides treatment and training for individuals affected by trauma. He is also a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals.


In addition to his work in the field of trauma, van der Kolk is an avid outdoorsman and has a passion for sailing and hiking. He also enjoys playing music and is an accomplished saxophonist.


Overall, Bessel van der Kolk is a remarkable individual whose work has had a profound impact on our understanding of trauma and its treatment. Through his research, clinical work, and advocacy, he has helped countless individuals find healing and hope in the face of trauma.

Buy This Book



Other Works

  • "Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society" (1996) - This book explores the nature of traumatic stress and its effects on individuals and society.

  • "The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma" (2014) - This seminal work offers a comprehensive and compassionate perspective on trauma and provides practical tools for healing and recovery.

  • "The Compulsion to Repeat the Trauma: Re-enactment, Revictimization, and Masochism" (2017) - This book explores the psychological mechanisms that underlie the compulsion to repeat traumatic experiences.

  • "Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for the Living Past: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Working with Traumatic Memory" (2014) - This book offers practical guidance for understanding and working with traumatic memories.

  • "Treating Trauma: Restoring the Wisdom of the Body" (2015) - This book explores the role of the body in healing trauma and offers a range of body-centered therapies for treating trauma.

  • "The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Building and Rebuilding the Human Brain" (2010) - This book explores the ways in which the brain is affected by psychotherapy and offers insights into how therapy can help promote neuroplasticity.

  • "The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic" (2010) - This book explores the impact of early life trauma on physical and mental health outcomes later in life.

  • "Psychological Trauma" (1987) - This book is a seminal work in the field of trauma research and offers a comprehensive overview of the nature and effects of trauma.

  • "Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development" (1994) - This book explores the role of affect regulation in the development of the self and the ways in which early life experiences shape emotional development.

  • "Developmental Trauma Disorder: Toward a Rational Diagnosis for Children with Complex Trauma Histories" (2013) - This book proposes a new diagnostic category for children who have experienced complex trauma.

 

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