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The Body Keeps the Score AudioBook (MP3)

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Jam packed with helpful therapies Review by Paul
This book helped me understand why therapies beyond CBT and meds are often more appropriate for people struggling to find their way with the effects of developmental trauma.

(Posted on 8/13/2022)
Am excellent book! Review by Val
This book has helped me tremendously. I was recently diagnosed with complex ptsd. After being misdiagnosed as bipolar for my entire adult life. It has been life changing.

(Posted on 4/27/2022)
This is truly the beat book on trauma I’ve heard. Ever. Review by Katheryn Swann
There is so much gathered evidence and proven methodology in here. If you have any sort of trauma, as most of us do, this could save your life. Too difficult to hear the stories? Then start with the treatments and work tour way back. I can’t wait to try some of these myself. Thank you!!!

(Posted on 4/20/2022)
The challenge is that insurance companies and big pharma don't want things like "developmental trauma" Review by Jay
Incredibly enlightening! I learned a lot about the effects of trauma when left untreated, and numerous treatment modalities. The neuroscience is fascinating and educational. NOTE: This IS written for the layperson! You don't need to be an MD or PhD to understand. This is such important information and should be incorporated into our mental health diagnostic and treatment standards. The challenge is that insurance companies and big pharma don't want things like "developmental trauma" (which would be a diagnosis for kids) included in the diagnostic manuals. They would lose too much money. Instead, kids continue to be misdiagnosed (ADD/ADHD, ODD, EBD, CD) and medicated with drugs that have no chance of fixing the problem. If you've had a trauma in childhood that was never resolved, if you are raising a child with challenges (attachment, trauma, adoption, etc.), if you've had trauma as an adult that you just can't shake - THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU.

(Posted on 3/17/2022)
Hitting the nail right on the head Review by Constantin
When three years ago I started looking for "answers", I had no idea what the "question" even was. I just felt that it had been there for a very long time and I could ignore it no longer. And this, for me, resulted in a lot of trial-and-error, bouncing around various self-help, psychology, psychotherapy and spirituality centered books. And last month I came across "The Body Keeps the Score". I spent a whole month with it not because I am a particularly slow reader or because it is a particularly long book. But because at almost every page turn I felt that I needed to highlight one or more paragraphs or make a note. Having finished reading it today and looking at the number of highlights and notes this resulted in - for context, I'm an e-reader user - I realize there's literally hundreds!

Now, I refrain from using the phrase "this book changed my life". I sincerely believe that only one's own choices have that power. But what I can say is that I have been given so much information that I was previously missing and so many of the puzzle pieces fell into place, that I can finally hit the nail right on the head when it comes to understanding the "question" that drove me in the first place: can things, those fundamental and deeply embedded into your emotional core "things", be different? In the author's own words, "people can learn to control and change their behavior, but only if they feel safe enough to experiment with new solutions".

Developmental trauma disorder is a very real thing and it requires very real attention, both inward and outward. And, among others, that's exactly what this gem of a book is all about.

(Posted on 3/16/2022)
The new Bible for Trauma Review by Mark
This is the new Bible for anyone affected by trauma, or who works in the field. Van der Kolk has synthesized the most important new breakthroughs in neuroscience, psychology and body-centered therapies, to create a coherent blueprint for understanding and treating trauma. He writes simply and lucidly, and brings his deep insights to life with engaging anecdotes.

I suffered PTSD and severe anxiety for many years, and tried all the usual therapies (CBT, medication, analysis, diet, exercise, acupuncture, vitamins, group therapy etc.). Frankly, nothing really worked until I discovered - and applied - the somatic (body) techniques espoused by van der Kolk, and other luminaries such as Peter Levine, Pat Ogden, and Eugene Gendlin. It took me a long time to understand – and accept – their message that trauma impacts the more ancient (reptilian) part of the brain where talk-therapies just can't reach, let alone affect.

The only way to ‘communicate’ with this pre-verbal system is through the body, which can signal to the brain stem that it is OK to begin the process of unfreezing the emotional paralysis that has plagued us for decades. So much depends on our willingness and capacity to feel and experience what is going on inside us - not just think about it.

Of course, it is also important to understand what is going on at a cognitive level in order to make sense of things. So there is certainly a role for traditional talk therapy, but it is not the main game. By combining a bottom-up (somatic) and a top-down (cognitive) approach, as van der Kolk suggests, it is possible to move towards genuine healing - not just a suppression of symptoms. This is not theoretical for me. I have experienced it.

The other truly great book on this subject is Peter Levine’s ‘In an Unspoken Voice’, which explains his ‘somatic experiencing’ (SE) therapy. Levine’s book is arguably narrower in scope than van der Kolk’s, but his writing has such a poetic quality that it communicates more than the words themselves. The first time I read Levine’s book I felt my body respond to his truths at a visceral level. It is a deeply healing and magical work.

(Posted on 3/14/2022)
A Trauma Survivor Review by Jen
It was the title “The Body Keeps the Score Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” that caught my attention. Having been a survivor of childhood onset trauma who has been striving to live a life beyond my past, this book really resonated with me.

Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D., who has been in the field of psychiatry since the 1960’s, chronicles his experience working with veterans with PTSD, survivors of child sexual abuse, and adults with other body related trauma. From traditional talk therapy to medications for depression and anxiety, to yoga and neurofeedback, Dr. Bessel gives case study examples of the effectiveness of various types of treatment with the focus being on the nervous system, the brain, the mind, and the body combined.

Over the past 20 + years I have utilized many forms of therapy for the trauma I experienced with moderate success. Despite the time and energy I have applied, there have been areas that have proven to be resistant to letting go, and despite my best efforts, have been unresolved. I found myself feeling very frustrated until I read “The Body Keeps the Score”. At long last, I feel like someone heard me, understood my deepest inner conflicts, and could give me answers as to why I was thus far unable to let go and move on. In chapter 3 under the section “Speechless Horror,” Dr. Bessel describes an area in the left hemisphere called Broca’s area (speech center) that shuts down when trauma is experienced. In fact, according to Dr. Bessel, trauma shuts down most of the left hemisphere which controls out logic and being in the present while the right hemisphere where our emotions live, goes unchecked putting both hemispheres in conflict. It’s like walking several large dogs (the right hemisphere) whom all want to go a different direction at the same time while the dog walker (the left hemisphere) tries to maintain control; chaos ensues. Having this new understanding of how my brain was affected by the trauma, I now can consciously be aware of when the dogs won’t follow my commands.

In chapter 19 Dr. Bessel writes about neurofeedback. The type he refers to is different from the Low Energy Neurofeedback Sessions I have received. Traditional neurofeedback is interactive where LENS is passive, however, both are very effective for trauma, anxiety, and depression.

What a relief it has been to read this book and apply some of his suggestions. Dr. Bessel speaks about “top down and bottom up” regulation in Chapter 5 whereby focusing on breathing while engaging the left hemisphere of the brain, one can learn to consciously manage their anxiety. I have applied this concept with great success. That something so simple could have such a profound impact on me is wonderful. I have also incorporated yoga and neurofeedback. And again I have experienced tremendous results. I feel more aware and able to identify when my past neural patterns are influencing my present and then make a choice as to whether or not I want to follow the past or move forward into the present.

I highly recommend this book for therapists and survivors of trauma. The insights Dr. Bessel has put into this book are enlightening and helpful, especially to those who are not familiar with the persistent aspects of trauma.

(Posted on 3/5/2022)
Helpful! Review by Mary
Of all the non-fiction books I've read, this is by far the best one ever. I grew up in a tough way. Lots went wrong. My brother and I believed we were unwanted and we had plenty of evidence to back up our sentiment.

We suffered shared abuse and individual abuses of every kind imaginable. When I became an adult, I subscribe to the concepts of people like Rush Limbaugh and drove around listening to his radio show proclaiming that there is no such thing as post-traumatic stress disorder.
I believed I could gut it out, that the past was the past and that only weak people needed to talk through their problems. I believed only losers behaved badly as adults due to anything in their childhood or past and that claiming you were affected by any past problem was a crutch to allow you to embrace failure.

Frankly, for a time, that approach worked for me. I got married, had some great children (still have them thankfully), built a company. But it didn't take too long until it all came crashing down. And, when it did, I spent nearly 1.5 decades down.

The anxiety that was always in my throat and chest was, to put it mildly, a distraction. It's very hard to be kind to people, to focus on your work, to love others when all your power is spent trying to pretend you don't feel like s***. When you can't sleep because your heart is beating so forcefully that the entire bed is vibrating - at least it feels that way - you not only lose the joy of sleep, but you feel hopeless and miserable and even more so when you're not able to understand why you feel this way. When you see everything you have go away and can only occasionally find the strength to take care of yourself and your business and need others in your life to carry you from time to time (much to your embarrassment) and yet you think you're smart and capable and have no understanding of why you are where you are, life becomes a slog.

You trudge through it wishing you were dead or that something would kill you even if, like me, you'd never kill yourself. Literally, when I was a believer, I went to bed every night and my prayers went something like this, "Dear Jesus, please have a bus run over me. I will never kill myself but I'm miserable. Please let me die so my family won't hate me for killing myself but so that I can stop hating the sun coming up. In Jesus name, Amen." If you're like I was (and it's hard to tell you how I was and hold the tears down even now), this book will help you change all that. It will describe in detail what you're going through and it captures so many of those subtleties as to make it absolutely amazing. For the first time, I don't have depression (and I don't take pills). I don't have anxiety (it still bubbles up on occasion but using mindfulness, it goes nearly as fast as it comes). My life is pointed in the right direction, my business future is hopeful, my love-life is stabilizing, I know I'll no longer lose friends. I'm finally on track to getting what I want in every area of my life from women to money to friends and deep connections with my family.

(Posted on 3/5/2022)
listening to book is so different than reading it! Review by Fairbanks
my book club and i decided to read this book. we all work in the homeless shelter and felt this would help us with working with some of our clients/guests. My son kidnapped my book and i decided that i would check out the audio version of the book. i love it! i am facinated by the key points that stuck out while lustening compared to reading it! I am playing with the idea of this being something i can adopt and apply with other books in the future; Reading the book and then going over it again with audio version. anyways besides that, the book is great subject matter is really thought provoking.

(Posted on 2/27/2022)
Book is amazing Review by Meah
My plan is to listen several more times. So much to absorb. All great information. ????This book is a definite keeper. Author is caring, concise, with appropriate stories to accompany technical terms. I felt as if he was speaking directly to me. Will definitely pass it onto others. Thank you Author from thw bottom of my heart.

(Posted on 2/26/2022)

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