The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van de Kolk

As a CST therapist who has taught about and worked with trauma resolution for over two decades I am a big fan of Bessel van de Kolk. So I was thrilled to read his recent book, The Body Keeps the Score. It is intriguing to read about the history of trauma treatment and then what is currently being done that is most valuable and successful.

I loved this quote, “Touch, the most elementary tool that we have to calm down, is proscribed from most therapeutic practices. Yet you can’t fully recover if you don’t feel safe in your skin. Therefore, I encourage all my patients to engage in some sort of bodywork, be it therapeutic massage, Feldenkrais, or craniosacral therapy.” (pp.216)

His writing style is clear and engaging – there were points where I simply did not want to put the book down. And it is non-fiction!

One of Bessel’s gifts is in clearly naming which therapies have been shown to work best with which kinds of trauma. A repeated trauma such as childhood incest has an affect on the nervous system that is very different from a bad car accident. A war veteran’s inner trauma wounds are distinctly different than those of a rape survivor. And, what works best for one may not work at all for another. I love his open-mindedness about alternative therapies as well as his insistence that we do good research in order to see what really works best.

Bravo Bessel! May this book be a best seller so that more of the world can see the effects of trauma on the human system and hopefully be motivated to stop the violence that causes it.


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