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

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“In order to change you need to open yourself to your inner experience.” Sounds like so much New Age navel-gazing, right? Not in the hands of Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a traumatic stress expert with decades of clinical and research experience. He knows what change means for traumatized people, right down to the structural shifts in the brain.

Dr. van der Kolk was among the first to describe PTSD in Vietnam veterans. While The Body Keeps Score is a career memoir, it is also a survey of the science that shows how trauma changes neuroprocessing. Dr. van der Kolk concludes that talk therapy and pharmaceuticals aren’t adequate treatments, and instead explores neurofeedback, mindfulness, yoga, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

EMDR? Aren’t we back in New Age territory here? To the contrary, Dr. van der Kolk takes a careful look at the eye movement therapy, both clinically and in research trials. He gives the same thorough attention to all of the treatment options he suggests.

Case studies show improvements gained by each form of therapy, though van der Kolk never claims a miracle cure. What he offers is realistic hope to survivors of abuse and trauma.


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Author Bessel van der Kolk
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 464 pages
Publisher Viking Adult
Publish Date 2014-Sep-25
ISBN 9780670785933
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2015
Category Spirituality & Inspiration
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