A New York Times Bestseller
A Library Journal Best Book of 2014
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 on a daily basis; one in five Americans have 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.
“Every once in a while, a book comes along that fundamentally changes the way we look at the world. Bessel van der Kolk has written such a book. The arc of Van der Kolk’s story is vast and comprehensive, but he is such a skillful storyteller that he keeps us riveted to the page. I could not put this book down. It is, simply put, a great work.”
Stephen Cope, author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self
“Breathtaking in its scope and breadth, The Body Keeps the Score is a seminal work by one of the preeminent pioneers in trauma research and treatment. This essential book unites the evolving neuroscience of trauma research with an emergent wave of body-oriented therapies and traditional mind/body practices that go beyond symptom relief and connect us with our vital energy and here-and-now presence.”
Peter A. Levine, PhD, author of In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness
“The Body Keeps the Score articulates new and better therapies for toxic stress based on a deep understanding of the effects of trauma on brain development and attachment systems. This volume provides a moving summary of what is currently known about the effects of trauma on individuals and societies, and introduces the healing potential of both age-old and novel approaches to help traumatized children and adults fully engage in the present.”
Jessica Stern, author of Denial: A Memoir of Terror
“In this inspirational work which seamlessly weaves keen clinical observation, neuroscience, historical analysis, the arts, and personal narrative, Dr. van der Kolk has created an authoritative guide to the effects of trauma, and pathways to recovery. The book is full of wisdom, humanity, compassion and scientific insight, gleaned from a lifetime of clinical service, research and scholarship in the field of traumatic stress. A must-read for mental health and other health care professionals, trauma survivors, their loved ones, and those who seek clinical, social, or political solutions to the cycle of trauma and violence in our society.”
Rachel Yehuda, PhD, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
“This is an absolutely fascinating and clearly written book by one of the nation’s most experienced physicians in the field of emotional trauma. The Body Keeps the Score helps us understand how life experiences play out in the function and the malfunction of our bodies, years later.”
Vincent J. Felitti, MD, emeritus chief of preventative medicine, Kaiser Permanente San Diego
About the Reader:
Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.