Join MPL staff for a book discussion of The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD.
About the Author
Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., is the founder and medical director of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the National Complex Trauma Treatment Network. When he is not teaching around the world, Dr. van der Kolk works and lives Boston.
About the Book
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.
1. Why did the author write this book?
2. The way a non-fiction book is written can impact the reader's enjoyment and understanding of it. Was the book written in such a way that it is easily accessible?
3. Did you learn something new about trauma and how it affects the brain? If so, what?
4. In part three, The Minds of Children, the author advocated and lost the battle to replace all diagnosis in the DSMV with the diagnosis of Developmental Trauma Disorder. He thinks that diagnosis should lead us to interventions, and his assertion is that our current child diagnosis more often described behavioral and emotional symptoms that are the result of trauma that needs to be addressed, rather than medications and behavioral interventions that do not address the cause. Do you agree with the author?
5. Were you surprised how trauma can affect the physical body?
6. The author saw that the brain’s ability to “flex” and change could be used to help treat his own patients. He suggests two different treatment types, top down and bottom up. Discuss how these two treatments work together to help people heal from trauma?
7. After reading, The Body Keeps the Score, has your interest been piqued in the trauma and the brain?
8. Was there a specific passage or chapter that made an impression on you that hasn't been discussed? If you feel comfortable, share what section made a significant impression on you?
Questions courtesy of MPL Staff
Event Type(s): Book Discussion
Age Group(s): Adults