There are books that you read that are a huge help in understanding complex and complicated subjects. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der kolk is one of those. The author is well known in trauma circles and he brings an enquiring mind to his subject. The result is a book that draws on over thirty years of experience and extensive research, covering many modalities of how to help people understand and deal with the trauma in their lives.
The reader is lead along the path of enquiry and experience that Bessel himself took in discovering the brain’s involvement in processing trauma. Example of patients are given that are profoundly sobering and uplifting as you become aware of the catastrophic consequences of trauma. Bessel’s willingness to learn from his patients also lead him to explore many different avenues of treatment that broadened his knowledge of the effects of trauma and how it can be resolved. This leaves the reader with a broad sweep of understanding that puts each miracle cure into the big picture. Each one is approached with understanding fro the inside as a practitioner and objectively assessed.
Prevention is better than cure and Bessel’s epilogue for prioritising mental health for a sustainable future is so right, especially considering how it has yet to be effectively acted on. The appendix is also really helpful in outlining the criteria for diagnosing a subtle but powerful kind of trauma, Developmental Trauma Disorder. This brings the book round in full circle to our foundations for dealing with life and all it throws at us, or experience of childhood.
I found this book helpful in its authority, clarity and scope for putting trauma into context and re-inspiring me to learn more how to help those I come across who are troubled by its unresolved effects. It also reinforced my belief in the need for a better informed education with the aim that each child enjoy mental, just as much as physical, health.