I have to say that I really liked this book. For those who have experienced some serious trauma, this one’s for you, your journey to self-healing if you don’t know where to start. It focuses on trauma and the responses the body has naturally. Bessel Van Der Kolk uses some real examples such as various wars, the Holocaust, and 9/11.
“We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body.”
Kolk has a way of clearly explaining the effects of trauma on memory, reoccurring or resurfacing symptoms, and the neurobiological responses of the body. Memory in relation to trauma in particular seems to be important in what we know, remember, and how we perceive the world. It’s connected to that feeling of disconnection from self and others, what it means to self-regulate, and how to grow self-awareness when the symptoms of trauma resurface.
“Incidents of abuse are never stand-alone events. And for each additional adverse experience reported, the toll in later damage increases.”
Many people are still rather ignorant on what are some appropriate ways to approach a trauma situation or person. Kolk outlines the different therapeutic approaches. He certainly does not rule out the importance of the actual neurology of the brain, how the connectivity of the electrical circuits affects trauma, and how attempts to restructure the inner maps could help. Essentially, he gives a strong overview of trauma psychology from single events or recurring minor episodes: event driven like a bombing, relational such as domestic violence, and/or sexual abuse. This is for those readers that really want a good jumping point into further research. Highly, highly recommended.
Van Der Kolk, Bessel. The Body Keeps the Score. New York: Penguin Publishing, 8 September 2015.
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