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Health & Science

Web Extra: How Trauma Lives In Our Bodies

Irina Shatilova

Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk is an expert on treating trauma. He says that the body and brain are literally reshaped after a traumatic experience. And in the past year, Americans have collectively experienced quite a bit of trauma.

In his book The Body Keeps the Score, he says that we store trauma in our bodies. It messes with our nervous system, and it short-circuits the part of the brain that van der Kolk describes as the “embodied feeling of being alive.” So an important part of treating trauma, he says, is for victims to have positive bodily experiences — like yoga, dancing, or martial arts. Bessel van der Kolk joined us to talk about his work, but also about the Capitol riots and the effect of the pandemic on connection and touch.


   - Therapist and martial artist Michele Simone

   - Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk

Bessel van der Kolk's book is The Body Keeps the Score [Amazon|Bookshop|Indiebound].