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. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.
This book is rated five stars on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble with raving reviews. It is also floating around on Tiktok, leaving lots of readers in tears. Because of this, I prepared myself to be in my feels when I grabbed the book off its shelf at Target. I was curious. I also picked up the book because I felt like I had PTSD from emotional abuse as well as from having my baby. After months, yes months, of trying to get through the book, I am disappointed. Am I missing some pivotal moment or conversation here? Are these reviewers lying? They say everything is not for everyone, and this is the case for me and this book. I did not finish it. Though there were some really interesting points made, the writer writes so methodically and distantly from his work that it doesn’t evoke any emotions out of me. It is written as if he is writing a case study with this book itself which is not surprising since the author is a Doctor, however, this textbook is not it. It’s a textbook. It’s as if I am overlooking him writing in his notepad while he sits in his office. This is not some self help book with encouraging words. I enjoyed his observation and discussion in the beginning of the book when he touches upon the use of medicine for mental health.
Medications, drugs, alcohol can also temporarily dull or obliterate unbearable sensations and feelings. But the body continues to keep the scoreThe Body Keeps The Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
Using medicine to treat mental illness was like putting a bandage on an old wound. I also liked the fact that he highlights just how trauma is held in the body for years, and how one trigger can bring that trauma to the service. He discusses victims of child abuse, sexual abuse, PTSD, the effects of parental relationships and so much more. Ideally, this is a book with so many topics that I would love to explore, but the writing is dry, so dry, that I skipped through parts of the book hoping that it would hold my attention. I even started to anecdote in hopes of keeping my attention on a particular section. I can not fake it any longer. This book is not for me. Though I am an advocate for mental health, I am sure that there are other books on trauma that are better suited for me. I put the book back on the shelf.
Happy Reading Folks.
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