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

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Overview


A pioneering researcher and one of the world’s foremost experts on traumatic stress offers a bold new paradigm for healing
 
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. Such experiences...
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The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

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Overview


A pioneering researcher and one of the world’s foremost experts on traumatic stress offers a bold new paradigm for healing
 
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. Such experiences inevitably leave traces on minds, emotions, and even on biology. Sadly, trauma sufferers frequently pass on their stress to their partners and children.
 
Renowned trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score offers proven alternatives to drugs and talk therapy—and a way to reclaim lives.
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Editorial Reviews

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Experts tell us that four billion people worldwide suffer from trauma sometime in their lives, but for most families, that numbing number translates in personal terms to a very real PSTD-suffering soldier, a victim of spousal or parental abuse; or a loved one who has been a rape victim. In this new book, pioneering researcher Bessel Van Der Kolk draws on his thirty years working in the field to assure trauma survivors that there is hope; that their brains, in fact, can be rewired to experience emotion and control that they once believed were lost. Among the treatment discussed in The Body Keeps Score are neurofeedback, yoga, mindfulness techniques, and play. Editor's recommendation.

Library Journal
★ 10/01/2014
Renowned trauma researcher van der Kolk's book is comprehensive in scope. The author explains in clear terms the physical causes and manifestations of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), how vast the population of sufferers is, and the devastating repercussions to society in general as a result of inadequate treatment. Anecdotes of patients from all walks of life are used to illustrate how trauma rewires the brain to create dissociated memories. Sufferers do not merely "remember" the event or events but actually relive it, complete with a cascade of excruciating physical and emotional pain. Organizing their lives to avoid triggers can lead to behaviors such as substance abuse that often compound the destructiveness of the original trauma. Inadequate conventional treatments such as talk therapy and pharmaceuticals are being replaced with neurofeedback, mindfulness training, yoga, Internal Family Systems, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapies, helping victims reclaim their minds and bodies and regain self-regulation and personal resilience. VERDICT This valuable work for psychologists, therapists, and public health professionals walks the line between academic medical text and popular nonfiction. More important, it offers hope for the millions of sufferers and their families seeking meaningful treatment and relief from the ongoing pain of trauma. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/13.]—Janet Tapper, Univ. of Western States Lib., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670785933
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • Publication date: 9/25/2014
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 17,934
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author


The founder and medical director of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, and director of the National Complex Trauma Treatment Network, Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2014

    This is a marvelous book: beautifully written with an astonishin

    This is a marvelous book: beautifully written with an astonishing wealth of information, penetrating, insightful, myth-breaking, revolutionary. It was so fascinating I didn’t want to put it down, but it was so full and so emotional that I had to give myself breaks. The portrayals of his patients are alive and realistic, unlike those of many psychologists who use composites that end up feeling wooden. He often lets them speak for themselves and sometimes they are downright brilliant. The woman who was traumatized when she woke up during surgery, for instance; she could be a writer herself.

    Of course, anyone who has been traumatized themselves will want to read this book, but I also urge everyone who has an interest in understanding human nature and society to buy it, read it, and pass it on to friends. When adults are traumatized, or when children are abused, or traumatized by witnessing violence, or even simply ignored/neglected, their brains are permanently changed and they are no longer capable of dealing with life in ways that are healthy for themselves and the people around them. They live in constant or intermittent pain, or they learn to anesthetize themselves and feel not much at all. And the number of people who are living with this kind of damage is huge. They are in our prisons and on our streets, they are the mentally ill, the child who can’t study and can’t be taught, the prostitute, the pimp, the runaway, the dropout. And we as a society keep blaming them for being the way they are, ignoring the fact that it is their experience that made them. They would do anything to change, but they don’t know how.

    Read this book, please, and understand, and maybe you will weep now and then as you see how horrific life is for some people. Only when our children--all our children--are raised with affectionate attention and without abuse will our tragic human condition change. We cannot leave children to their damaged parents. As van der Kolk says in his epilogue, our schools need to radically change so that children are supported emotionally and taught about their inner life.

    Meanwhile, van der Kolk offers hope to those of us who have been damaged by describing new (or ancient) therapies that can go deeper than ordinary talk therapy or medication. These are based on our increasing understanding of the brain, and the old but neglected wisdom of the oneness of mind and body.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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