The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Date Started: Mar. 23rd, 2023

Date Finished: Apr. 3rd, 2023

I'm honestly not sure how to rate such a read, but I can certainly share my thoughts on it.

Going in, this book immediately caused the trauma I have been working on to resurface in a very strong way. I think I personally should have prepared myself more mentally for the first half of the book as the stories shared immediately upset me. If certain stories of trauma cause you distress, I highly recommend either mentally preparing yourself for them or skipping to the end of the book where it relates more to healing and recovery (there are still mentions of traumatic stories, but the frequency and intensity is less as this area is more focused on the observable benefits of different types of therapy). This is definitely a book that should be read in manageable chunks, with lots of breaks in between, especially if any of the inner stories resonate with you or your past experiences.

I definitely felt more empowered as I reached the latter chapters of this book when the author discusses the advances and implications of specific therapies as applied to various trauma survivors. I was especially surprised to find that EMDR had such high rates of "cure" for lack of a better term, but that this did not translate to those with history of childhood trauma, such as myself. What I really appreciated was the extensive dive into each form of therapy (EMDR, Yoga, Physchomotor, Neurofeedback, IFS, etc) as I hadn't heard of many of them and they each offered a potential solution. There are even specific resources and websites listed at the back of the book in case you want to further explore options for yourself.

Overall, this book was wonderful in helping me to feel seen and less upset about the symptoms I have experienced throughout my life. It even helped me to uncover possible explanations as to why I have such a lapse in memory with my childhood years, reasons I may have been acting out, and why I view the world in the ways I do now.

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