I loved this book by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. I just finished listening to it yesterday, though during the middle of it, I ordered the actual book, too. I knew it was one I’d want to have and be able to reference. It was a tough listen as times, but it explained a lot of what I’ve been through and continue to go through.
What makes this book even more relevant to me is the fact that it was just published in 2014, which means it has the latest information about trauma that is available.
The inside dust jacket has this to say about Dr. Van Der Kolk and the book:
“This profoundly humane book offers a sweeping new understanding of the causes and consequences of trauma, offering hope and clarity to everyone touched by its devastation. Trauma has emerged as one of the great public health challenges of our time, not only because of its well-documented effects on combat veterans and on victims of accidents and crimes, but because of the hidden toll of sexual and family violence and of communities and schools devastated by abuse, neglect and addiction.
Drawing on more than thirty years at the forefront of research and clinical practice, Bessel Van Der Kolk shows that the terror and isolation at the core of trauma literally reshape both brain and body. New insights into our survival instincts explain why traumatized people experience incomprehensible anxiety and numbing and intolerable rage, and how trauma affects their capacity to concentrate, to remember, to form trusting relationships, and even to feel at home in their own bodies. Having lost the sense of control of themselves and frustrated by failed therapies, they often fear that they are damages beyond repair.
THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE is the inspiring story of how a group of therapists and scientists–together with their courageous and memorable patients–has struggled to integrate recent advances in brain science, attachment research and body awareness into treatments that can free trauma survivors from the tyranny of the past. These new paths to recovery activate the brain’s natural neuroplasticity to rewire disturbed functioning and rebuild step-by-step the ability to ‘know what you know and feel what you feel.’ They also offer experiences that directly counteract the helplessness and invisibility associated with trauma, enabling both adults and children to reclaim ownership of their bodies and their lives.
Readers will come away from this book with awe at human resilience and at the power of our relationships–whether in the intimacy of home or in our wider communities–to both hurt and heal.”
What this book also showed me is the things I did, EMDR, yoga, to name just two, were the ‘right’ ones to undertake and have contributed mightily in my healing process. I also realize I still have more healing to do –dang it– but that it is possible to rewire the neuro pathways in my brain even more than I’m sure they have already been rewired. It is a process and as much as I want it to be finished, the simple truth is it’s not. I think, too, that for people who are on a healing path, it is lifelong endeavor, whether you suffered a traumatic childhood event, a devastating car accident, the death of a child or spouse, or just the day-to-day living of life that can sometimes be unbelievably difficult. I’m realizing more and more that we are never really finished. As I always told my therapist, I do not have a choice in this. I have to keep moving forward.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who has suffered a traumatic event personally or knows of someone who has. The knowledge and insights you will gain will be invaluable to understanding the why of how trauma affects the body and mind.