Bessel van der Kolk MD has spent his professional life studying how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences.
November 23, 2021 Comments Off on Bessel van der Kolk MD has spent his professional life studying how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences.
Bessel van der Kolk MD has spent his professional life studying how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences. He translates emerging findings from neuroscience and attachment research to develop and study a range of effective treatments for traumatic stress and developmental trauma in children and adults.
Integrating Therapy with Science
In the past 3 decades, we have learned an enormous amount about brain functions and interpersonal attachment systems. This new knowledge has not always been systematically applied to help traumatized children and adults heal from trauma. Dr. van der Kolk’s work is focused on integrating therapy with science.
Dr. van der Kolk has published over 150 peer reviewed articles, diversely ranging from neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, developmental trauma, yoga, and theater to EMDR.
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.
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 damaged beyond repair.
What distinguishes THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE is that the author is both a scientific researcher with a long history of measuring the effect of trauma on brain function, memory, and treatment outcomes, and an active therapist who keeps learning from his patients what benefits them most. This makes for deeply personal, analytic, and highly readable (not to mention incredibly moving) approach to the topic of trauma recovery.
Bessel van der Kolk scientific publications
Bessel van der Kolk, MD
Bessel van der Kolk, MD, is arguably the world’s leading expert in the treatment of trauma – especially when it comes to how trauma affects the brain, body, and nervous system.
Throughout his career, Bessel has been at the forefront of research on traumatic stress and the development of clinical therapies to treat it. He has pioneered approaches that focus on calming the nervous system, increasing self-regulation skills, and grounding patients in the present. In his research, Bessel has worked with a variety of clinical approaches, including neurofeedback, EMDR, psychodrama, and yoga.
“A traumatic memory is fundamentally a breakdown of the ordinary memory system. An ordinary memory system can integrate things with everything else that you already know in the context of your existing reality. But trauma doesn’t fit in. Trauma cannot be integrated, and so it lives on as an isolated piece of the past that keeps coming back.”
– Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Expert Strategies for Working with Traumatic Memory
Trauma, trust and triumph: psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk on how to recover from our deepest pain Zoe Williams
His 2014 book, The Body Keeps the Score, has become a huge pandemic hit, topping bestseller lists this summer and becoming a meme on social media. What does it tell us about the world we live in?….
His thesis centres on trauma: the urgent work of the brain after a traumatic event is to suppress it, through forgetting or self-blame, to avoid being ostracised. But the body does not forget; physiological changes result, a “recalibration of the brain’s alarm system, an increase in stress hormones, an alteration in the system that filters relevant information from irrelevant”, as he says in his book. The stress is stored in the muscles and does not dissipate. This has profound ramifications for talking therapies and their limits: the rational mind cannot do the repair work on its own, since that part of you is pretending it has already been repaired.
Bessel van der Kolk on Trauma, Development and Healing by David Bullard
Internationally acclaimed clinician, educator and researcher Bessel van der Kolk, shares some observations from his 40-year passion for understanding and treating people who have experienced trauma.
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