The Body Keeps the Score Book Review

A Healing and Learning Source

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. has become a staple in many lives healing through trauma over the last few years. It is one of those reads that become both enlightening and a useful tool through the many stories, discussions, and studies throughout the book. The author states early on in the book’s prologue: “While we all want to move beyond trauma, the part of our brain that is devoted to ensuring our survival (deep below our rational brain) is not very good at denial. Long after a traumatic experience is over, it may be reactivated at the slightest hint of danger and mobilize disturbed brain circuits and secrete massive amounts of stress hormones.”

Understanding such things happens time and time again, page after page as the Ah-ha moments begin to multiply and the ease in which one can feel understood and validated resonates.

The author has written this book with over 30 years of working with trauma survivors and various experts in the field of trauma. A few key methods to consider when returning balance to the brain include how movement, breathing, and daily self-care have shown great reductions in the symptoms of PTSD in 

This book offers multiple explorations into the contents. It has been a personal experience also that this is not a light read but a fascinating and deeply profound read about the many layers and labels of trauma within one’s life.

The study of chldhood trauma to help facilitate healing

Van der Kolk revisits his journey of discovery and study of childhood trauma and long-term trauma as has been advocated as Complex Trauma that has challenged the established longstanding understanding of trauma in psychiatry.

There are numbers within our society, and these are only reported and recorded cases, of millions of reports of child abuse a year, hundreds of thousands of diagnosed PTSD, and the very long term effects of these. Interspersed with that narrative are clear and understanding of the four fundamental truths:

  1. Humans Hurt and They Can Heal
  2. We Can Heal As A Community
  3. Our Bodies Can Calm Us
  4. Policy Changes Within the Community Are Required.

This is one of those times I wish I could expound infinitely on the amount of wisdom and resources contained within these pages, and I truly could.

I would like to suggest if there has ever been a place in your life or someone in your life who has experienced trauma to any degree, this book would be a valuable and some have said, a life-changing asset in your healing journey through trauma. Our traumatic memories are not stored like other memories.

Having the keys to help access these traumatic places of hypervigilance and establish a place to feel safe and to be able to engage and heal is an empowering place to venture into. It is my hope here that you may be able to explore this book to carry along in your journey.

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