The Body Keeps the Score Book Reviews

Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. Book Summary

#1 New York Times bestseller

“Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding and treating traumatic stress and the scope of its impact on society.” —Alexander McFarlane, Director of the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies

A pioneering researcher transforms our understanding of trauma and offers a bold new paradigm for healing in this New York Times bestseller
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.

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Book Name The Body Keeps the Score
Genre Psychology
Language English
E-Book Size 7.73 MB

The Body Keeps the Score (Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.) Book Reviews 2024

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Elucidating and Sincere. Highly recommend to anyone not jus tho ping to learn about trauma, but about humanity and how we can be better as a society.

Horrifying, yet revelatory. This book makes it easier to understand how scientists created the atomic bomb. To believe a mother that lost two children in a car accident that was her fault should just put it behind her; to believe a 5-year old with a solution for 9/11 suicide he witnessed is insightful; to assert that a patient would mend better if they weren’t receiving disability pay they earned, all simply add up to one thing: you should spend more time with lab animals than humans.

The Body Keeps the Score. Something to ponder to help better our children, family and society.

One of the best books I have ever read. This is one of the greatest books I have ever read. I loved every chapter and loved how detail it got with healing trauma and abuse. It has helped me healing journey.

Good info but long winded. Really good, really long winded could/should be more abbreviated book. Not so much hyperbole, his language is in Kay end terms, just could have been edited for content better.

Actionable and insightful work on alleviating trauma. Incredibly insightful look into the human condition and the processes involved in creating, sustaining, and finally liberating one’s self from trauma. If you or anyone you know has experienced trauma (we all know someone whether we KNOW of their abuse or not) this book will help you to understand the behaviors, thought processes, and affects of abused and neglected individuals. It will give you the insight to be more compassionate not only to others but how to extend that compassion to one’s self. A critical component of healing. I cannot recommend this book more.

Great Book!. This was such a great book! It really shows me how my childhood has effected me and now I just have to consciously want to make changes!

Body Keeps the Score. Great read. So important to understand the effects of trauma, on the individual and society at large.

For all trauma survivors. PERSONAL RATING DIRECTED AT TRAUMA SURVIVORS As a survivor who has only had issues during times of family drama brought on by either my parents or siblings, I thought I had the past taken care of years ago with therapy in my twenties. I was surprised when the darkness returned and again took control of my life in my mid-fifties, bringing all of its friends. In search for the how and the why of its return and new therapies to replace talk therapy, I purchased an almost useless mental health book, only useful in that it offhandedly mentioned The Body Keeps the Score, Dr. Van der Kolk’s medical studies, and unique therapies for trauma, PTSD, and the many comorbid disorders that accompany trauma. I was curious. I purchased the audio book and after two hours of listening, I purchased the book. After a day including two additional hours, I purchased my daughter the audiobook, and purchased the book for her husband (three deployments, two of which were in Afghanistan). I gave both of them trigger warnings, although I have had only “so that is why!” reactions. Dr. Van der Kolk has spent his life in complete curiosity surrounding PTSD, studying trauma causing PTSD and its lifelong effects on a person’s mind and body. He walks you step by step through different traumas and gives patients’ firsthand experiences of its effects. In the second section, he discusses different therapies, studies, with firsthand experiences from patients who have undergone various treatments. As he mentioned those treatment I began taking notes and looking for therapists who used some of the therapies. You don’t have to take notes if you have the book. He has every quote, study, or book he has mentioned or quoted text from broken down by chapters in Notes. The Notes section is after Resources and Further Reading and before Index at the back of the book. I have just begun the path to heal the trauma, and am hopeful it will be my last time dealing with “those” memories. I have become empowered with knowledge. I see the fifty-plus year old invisible trail of destruction that has lead, rarely trailing my life. Post-trauma years physical damage has included back, neck, and shoulder pain, migraines, abdominal issues, etc. The mental health alphabet includes Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, OCD, etc., which act as self protection, need to finally take a much needed rest. The Body Keeps the Score has taught me this. The trail is now visible, and I am making changes and asking for help to become whole and heal that inner child. She can now become a healthy part of me no longer needing her army, her only protectors early in life, but who never got the message telling them to stand down - the danger was gone.

Once Praised, Now Criticized (& Allegations Fly). When I first read about C-PTSD, I read Dr. Judith Herman’s “Trauma and Recovery” (as she’d recognized and named the condition first, in 1988, and published her book in 1992). I then read “The Body Keeps the Score” because of the buzz. What I found was that Dr. Herman’s work showed the history of PTSD, how she came to recognize this ‘new’ type of trauma, which parts of the brain were affected, and some ideas about how to treat it, depending on where the trauma came from. In 1997, it was reprinted with current information, noting that not much had changed since 1992. Another edition came out in 2022. All three were called “the foundational text for understanding trauma survivors.” In 2014, after two editions of “Trauma and Recovery” had come out and much research had been done on C-PTSD, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk published “The Body Keeps the Score.” His credentials were three decades of work with trauma survivors at his private office, the Trauma Center at JRI. No insurance was accepted there, so it was only available to the upper-middle-class and beyond. Though anyone can be repeatedly traumatized, it is less likely that people with more money experience it in many aspects of their lives on a regular basis throughout the majority of their lives. Note: his previous books, published in 1984, 1987, and 1996 focus solely on PTSD. TBKTS is the first to mention C-PTSD. I gave this book one star for the easier-to-understand descriptions of neurology and how trauma affects our brains and bodies on both an infinitesimal and a total-body scale. However, there it ended its usefulness to me and to most people living with C-PTSD. Dr. van der Kolk introduced various recovery methods, including EMDR, biofeedback, play, yoga, etc. As therapeutic devices, economic accessibility is low, though the treatments themselves may be extremely helpful. I have Medicaid that pays for every specialist and type of care I’ve ever needed. No one has ever referred me to these treatments — likely because they won’t take any insurance or they don’t want to deal with Medicaid. Either way, the lack of attention paid to the average person with C-PTSD was concerning. Several years later, I heard that much of his past was … questionable: he defended repressed memory theory; used psychomotor therapy, which is not widely practiced nor supported by clinical studies; discourages talk-therapy, which allows a trauma victim to tell and claim their story/stories and to have structured support while they do so until it’s mostly a normalized memory of an unfortunate event, rather than able to trigger and cause fear responses; was mentored by the infamous fraud, Bruno Bettleheim; was cagey when describing what records he had and had kept and to what degree of security relating to “Dissociation and the Fragmentary Nature of Traumatic Memories: Overview and Exploratory Study” which is published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, Volume 8, Number 4, 1995; was ultimately kicked out of the Trauma Center by its parent org, the Justice Resource Institute, due to charges of creating a hostile work environment to women and then claimed the JRI did so to steal $2.5 million in donations to the Trauma Center—long story short: he sued the JRI, they settled out of court, and he founded another trauma center with that money. Meanwhile, the original Trauma Center at JRI closed for good in 2020. So while his book may have been useful, especially to those who never heard about Dr. Herman, whose shoulders Dr. van der Kolk stood on to make his mark nearly 30 years later, some of his methods, the source of his tutelage, his inaccessibility to those who think/thought they needed him most, and being permanently barred from the JRI for creating a hostile work environment does not merit more than one star for an intelligent but simple explanation of trauma’s effects on the brain and body (not all of which are factual, but I’m done grandstanding). There are so many better books recommended below, including Herman’s. Please give them a chance. This man doesn’t need your attention or your money.

Easy read , VERY interesting. I like this book very much . It has many interesting subjects and narrated experiments

Truly scientific approach to mental health extremely informative. Thank you so much for your honest perspective Dr Vander Kolk! What a wonderfully informative explanation of your life’s work with Trauma. My wife and I are already benefiting she has had debilitating chronic health problems from family trauma but we see a light of hope.

For a better understanding of trauma…. This book is so insightful, so informative…my only regret is not knowing about it sooner in life. A must read for most people!

Great content but weird vibes. Great book but was thrown off with some statements, like a two year old girl flirting…babies don’t flirt and that’s super weird to even think.

The best book on trauma, for professionals and patients. Explains, and offers hope. I was abused throughout my childhood. I ended up a runaway in the late sixties, and at 14 was assaulted for five days in the St. Louis youth facility. Nothing matches this book for explaining me to me. With accessible and powerful language, anecdotes, and good science, van der Kolk makes the case for how trauma rewires us, and what we can do about it. I have waited for this book my whole life.

Insightful use of science for trauma. I found the connection of the mind-body in dealing with trauma and the various methods proposed very intriguing.

A Must Read. A must read for anyone that seeks to understand themselves and society. A must read for all who strive to learn, heal, grow and love.

Incredible. I was assigned to read this book by my therapist. When I first started reading it I just felt like it wasn't for me, and I wasn't very interested at all. But I pushed through that and as I kept reading I found myself loving this book. I understand so much about myself and i this book was a great blessing. I now am doing yoga, and controlling my anxiety more. It's amazing!

The Body Keeps The Score. I thought this book was an excellent compilation of studies, experiences, and life stories. Different types of therapy work for different people. We’re not a “one type fits all” culture. The very nature of humanity is that we’re all different. We will all grow, learn, and change through different processes.

Excellent. Excellent!

Excellent book on trauma.. This book is a must read if you suffered from trauma yourself or want to better understand trauma in others.

Incredibly Informative. I can’t explain how this book tied so many things together. The neuroscience behind the theory. I can’t say that I am over the things that happened in my past. I can say that I don’t feel as isolated and I have a greater understanding of who I am and how i developed into the person I am today.

Absolutely incredible and informative. I have been through a lot of trauma and I cannot express how much clarity this book has given me. I found myself rereading a lot of pages, sharing them, and interpreting how this fits my life so well. I will be buying the actual book. I’ve talked about it nonstop. It’s incredible to see another perspective and science behind trauma. Mental health is so stigmatized. Trauma has a truly incapacitating effect on my life. I’m in awe of how educational and magnifying this book is.

Such a wealth of information!. I love this book. As a person of a very traumatic childhood. Abuse from dad, mom, grandparents on both sides, other family members and their friends. No where safe to run. Although a functioning person of society in my mid 40s I still live in a cage with my mind. I’ve been to a lot of counselors w/ small amounts of progress and have felt discouraged. After reading this book, it has given me lots of understanding of why I didn’t benefit much from traditional counseling. I’m very hopeful for the future! I’ve already began the process and see a lot of hopeful progress and look forward to living a life of freedom and being who I was created to be! Thank you Dr Bessel van der Kolk for caring enough to do what you do and for writing this book!

Very Deep. Opened me way up. Healed me some. Closed me back up.

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Summary of The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

The The Body Keeps the Score book written by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. was published on 25 September 2014, Thursday in the Psychology category. A total of 793 readers of the book gave the book 4.5 points out of 5.

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