The Body Keeps the Score Review

One of our favorite books is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk. 

Van der Kolk is one of the world's leading researchers on trauma and its treatment. His book is all about how our bodies react to trauma. He explains that trauma is not just a problem of the mind; it’s physiological. 

Trauma is anything that threatens your emotional or bodily integrity. Traumatic stress is commonly triggered by war and combat, physical violence, sexual abuse, childhood abandonment or prolonged illness. It affects our minds and our bodies in dramatic and powerful ways. 

The Body Keeps the Score helps people who have experienced trauma identify what is happening in their bodies. The fight or flight response can cause panic attacks, night-mares, out of body experiences, flashbacks, hypervigilance, insomnia, depression, and rage. Van der Kolk explains how we can learn to identify signs of nervous system arousal and nervous system relaxation. His clinical experience and research brilliantly demonstrates that talk therapy doesn’t always effectively treat trauma. 

Many trauma sufferers need to engage in some type of somatic work such as yoga, martial arts, Rolfing or EMDR. The Body Keeps the Score will challenge, encourage and bring great hope any trauma sufferer or clinician.


Reviewed by: Dr. Brenda Gesell