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

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's cliche to say everyone should read "this" book. I know--and yet, I can't help think that van der Kolk's work needs to be in front of all of us.  So maybe not this book, but the TED Talk of this book or something.  His work is both a partial history of his work as a psychiatrist over the last 50 years exploring and extending our understanding of what trauma is, how it manifests in people and the current scientific understanding of the different ways to treat trauma.  On all of these levels, van der Kolk's writing is informative, accessible, and insightful for readers. He provides a range of examples from the culture's more traditional examples of trauma to lesser-known and understood forms. His most powerful contribution is embedded in the title--how the body keeps score of trauma.  That is, often trauma manifests in different ways we exist in and express with our bodies.  This can be the more known practices of shutting down, going catatonic, having violent outbursts but it can also manifest in other ways. Sometimes, we carry awareness about this but often, we're less aware of the ways our bodies hold onto these experiences. For me, I found it valuable for better understanding my own self and then also, thinking about others and the world at large. The intensity of recent world events feels like there's a lot to explore in this book.  If you're looking for a book that's going to both help you understand your own inner workings as well as provide insight into considering what others might be facing, it's a good book to read.   

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