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

Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.


Official Description: Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.


Why I recommend it: If I am honest, this book was not always the easiest read– It is dense and uses a lot of scientific language at times. That being said, I continue to recommend it because it is filled with useful information and knowledge on how our mind and bodies hold onto our trauma and how that trauma continues to present itself throughout our lives. To make the book easier to digest, there are also workbooks that you can use along with the reading of the book. Van Der Kolk has been a pioneer in the world of trauma and has a lot of very valuable information to share in this book.


My favorite quote from the book: “As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know. That takes an enormous amount of courage.”