Summary of The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk

The Body Keeps The Score: Book Review

The thing I like about the book- The wide knowledge about trauma which was unknown to me.

Psychology is a vast subject. Many authors have written many books on various topics related to psychology. Hardly one describes what lies at the root of disturbing psychology. The term trauma brings fear to mind. A person undergoes trauma at any point in time, from childhood to becoming an adult. The traumatic phase might pass, but it leaves many side effects. There are many, but most prominent are 

  1. Difficulty in focusing and memory
  2. Sensory overload and filtration of thoughts
  3. One feels difficulty in sleeping and relaxing 
  4. Learning new information and bringing a change in one’s behaviour
  5. Cultivation of self-confidence 
  6. Fear and anxiety in taking a risk 
  7. Not able to imagine and create 
  8. Doubting Self
  9. Exhaustion and chronic fatigue 
  10. Losing motivation and a sense of purpose 

Attention deficit and hyper-focus are common symptoms of trauma. The author has done an expert service by authoring this book. His study of both the scientific and personal impact of trauma is in a broad context. The study observes that trauma is an almost universal part of the human experience. The author elaborates that even acute trauma is common. The violence or abuse a child faced during childhood or the child witnessed domestic violence; hence, childhood trauma is a silent epidemic. The problem of depression, alcoholic tendency all have their root in childhood days. The hostile behaviour of mothers is the most vital factor for mental instability. The author surmises that during childhood, when the guardians ignore the child’s needs, the child develops an attitude to rejection and withdrawal. The mental function gets suppressed, but the physical body maintains a high alert. Thus the person does not feel real inside. Here lies the problem that a psychologist points towards. A child who received humiliation during childhood finds it difficult to assert and stand for himself even when he attains adulthood. We cannot eliminate the powerful feelings generated in the brain by reason it understanding. The trauma is reflected in physical symptoms like spasms, back pain, migraine headaches, etc. The overall effect of trauma is described as a loss in aliveness, motivation, excitement, and purpose. Panic attacks also result when a person cannot observe what is going on inside them. 

The revelation of discoveries of a new generation of disciplines which can help diagnose and suggest solutions

1. Neuroscience: the study of how the brain supports mental processes

2. Developmental psychopathology: the study of the impact of adverse experiences on the development of mind 

3. Interpersonal neurobiology: the study of how man’s behaviour influences emotions. 

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Dave Peterson
Dave Peterson
Be a little better today than yesterday.


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