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is medical director of the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts. He’s also professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School. His books include Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on the Mind, Body and Society and The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.

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As I listened to Dr. Kolk's description of EMDR, I thought about the eye movements of REM sleep and the important part it plays in sense-making for the brain. Perhaps in the case of trauma, the EMDR sequence triggers a similar processing capability. It seems like a functional MRI or brain scan would show areas of the brain active during REM in a health person and undergoing EMDR to see if they are similar. Trauma victims can have nightmares and other sleep disturbances that may prevent or seriously affect different levels of sleep. In short, this was a very intriguing and information dense episode of the show.

I had the same observation and question. Wish he had talked more about REM sleep and how it might relate to the healing of trauma. Great program once again!

I have had EMDR and was told it was supposed to mimic essentially the same processes as REM sleep.

The Body Keeps the Score by
Bessel Van Der Kolkata, MD
Puts all the missing pieces together!!!

Two adjuncts to EMDR, the "hand-tapping" (patient with palms up on knees--helpful for heavy shame laden content), and "finger snaps" (alternating beside each ear-useful with pre-verbal infants) also were found by EMDR clinicians to be potentially helpful alternative adjuncts. See the EMDR clinicians newsletter. The finger snaps were used with a 17-month old infant having nightmares following being scalded by boiling water...

The very same occurred to me. In fact, I took it a bit further: Many of my patients have sleep disturbances that range from mild to severe. Now, I'm thinking, that any measure of sleep disturbance (which prevents a full and uninterrupted REM phase)may in-and-of-itself suggest the existence of trauma -- and-- the diminished ability to resolve the trauma.

Thank you for inviting one of the most accomplished leaders in the field of traumatic stress to share his insights and research about PTSD and the hopeful and encouraging advances in treatment.

I did want to add an additional insight based on my own clinical experience and those of countless colleagues. While the present research demonstrates how remarkably efficacious EMDR is in treating and resolving the effects of single incident adult onset trauma -- it has also proven to be an elegant protocol in treating early and complex attachment traumas. I believe that when the research on EMDR's application to this debilitating form of PTSD is further along, the outcomes will continue to reinforce how multi-faceted this brilliant intervention is when creatively, thoughtfully and rigorously practiced.

I went to EMDR after an adult trauma that escalated to PTSD. But like many of us who developed PTSD, I had a background of substantial complex trauma and those memories started to come out after the events as an adult. I never forgot the trauma memories from my early years but they were very "disconnected" and floating, without any emotional reality at all. The feeling of being out of control, adrenalized at unpredictable times, and having flashbacks is truly disturbing, but once they started coming out a lot of things that had been present as long as I could remember made sense. PTSD in that sense represents freedom, because I don't think I would have dealt with the underlying issues without it.

For me a lot of my work required getting in touch with body experiences, exactly as Dr. van der Kolk discusses. The body often "knows" things before the conscious brain does. The relaxation and anxiety tolerance skills are absolutely necessary for my day to day existence, because I'm still triggered by things, primarily loud sounds, flashing lights, etc. The EMDR process itself seems to allow access to the "reptile" brain. When it works properly (i.e., goes fast enough to tax executive function) it's quite different than being ordinarily conscious.

I found myself at age 18 in prison with a life sentence. Somewhere early on I got the idea that the body, mind, and spirit needed to be equally nourished. So education, exercise, tai chi, yoga, martial arts, meditation, and many other practices became part of my life. I found myself somewhat unexpectedly released in 2009, after nearly 25 years behind bars. That time had its share of traumatic experience, and was overall a very hard way to live. These practices, especially body practices and zazen, helped me to not only survive, but to become a completely different person, more compassionate, more in my body, more aware of my emotions etc.

Congratulations John... May your life be filled with good things. Life outside of prison will have it's own traumas. I hope the practices you've learned to become a more compassionate person will sustain you and that you can find a way to share your insights with others.

My son was sentenced to 32 years in prison 10 years ago at age 18. He is using his time in a manner similar to you and would appreciate hearing of your experiences with meditation, martials arts, healing the mind and body.
If you would correspond with him, please email me at nancy.kern@ymail.com

To your son and John (above)...WONDERFUL!!!! Thank you so very much for sharing your victories over one of the harshest possible environments by turning it into an "Ashram".And I'll remember you when I feel like slacking off my own practice. I think you will appreciate this: "DoingTime, Doing Vipassana"

Wow! What a beautiful transformation, well done, Bravo!

That is so encouraging to hear! I teach yoga and meditation in our local prison in Phila I wish you all the best

Would like to know more about EMDR - maybe another program. Thank you for the wonderful work you do "On Being."

I had repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse come back 22 years ago. As first a victim, next a survivor and now a "Transcender", I could relate to everything Bessel van de Kolk said. Thank you so much for this amazing interview. It brought tears of Joy and Gratitude for my journey and where I am today!

Meryl, I love that you call yourself a Transcender. Me, too. I just didn't have the right word for it! Thank you for sharing this! I could also relate to much of what van de Kolk said. I need to listen to it again.

EMDR has proved a lifesaver for me in dealing with multiple instances of trauma. I've been in treatment for three years, now, and little by little the process has taken all the power out of the memories that paralyzed me for so long. The work continues - we have several years of trauma to process - but I'm no longer trapped in the terrifying maelstrom of PTSD at its untreated height.

Yoga has also helped me immeasurably, for exactly the reasons that Dr. Kolk suggested. Yoga gets me back into my body, forcing (in the gentlest way) my body and brain to communicate, and for me to pay attention to how my body feels. Hearing Dr. Kolk talk about the benefits of movement for relieving trauma reminded me how valuable yoga has been.

Thank you for a wonderful show.

Just randomly stumbled upon this show on a sunday morning, and can say it is easily one of the most profound and enlightened things i've ever heard on radio. A must listen - and share. Thanks for not only the show, but making it available online and download.

As a young mom and dad we added yogic breathing to our childrens upbringing. What magic. As we would go past things that our children would want they would start to get anxious and cranky. We would say, take three deep breaths and magic would happen.
Yoga helped keep stress from our family and is still working today, 25 years later.

I enjoyed this valuable interview and invite you to learn about another powerful somatically grounded, deeply nourishing and spiritual approach to healing offered by Cass Phelps at www.awake-one.com. He's unique and impeccable in my 7 years of learning with him. His videos show his gifts for creating new openings for physical, emotional and spiritual vitality.

Listening to this I was struck by how much it had in common with the book The Instinct to Heal. Grateful to hear such wisdom is spreading and be applied to help others heal and live rich engaged lives.

Very therapeutic just listening to this after the acquittal verdict yesterday. It has been so painful to go through this again and experience again the callousness and inhumanity of American deep racism as codified in the criminal justice system,

It was a wonderful show, BUT I find these types of shows SO DEPRESSING since I now know there is help out there somewhere, BUT no help for me living in northern Minnesota. Such a feeling of hopelessness!!!!!

It is difficult if you live in a small community, to travel to get any medical or psychological counseling. I live in a small town and resources are limited. I don't know what you have experienced in your life, but just getting out walking or exercise of some type has helped daily to relieve some depression and anxiety. I wish you well and please, never give up hope.

If you have access to water try paddleboarding, especially at sunrise or sunset. I am 65 years old and on a board 5 to 6 days a week. It helps me think, breath, and stand. This evening a Bald Eagle led the way along a Lake Superior shoreline.

I'm nitnsureni undrstand how you can find this show depressing, no matter where you live. The very purpose and essence is to help YOU discover a way of and a way to deal with your situation, even if you have to do so by yourself. I live on a desert island, in a manner of speaking. I have been alone and isolated and haven't been able to figure out how to get off of this island! It is exactly this show and others like it that are helping me to build a life raft. These are tools you build to take with you wherever you are. Like the writer who spent 25 years in prison. If there is even one person who lives in your town, then you have someone who can help you.

Roberta,
My heart goes out to you after reading such feelings of hopelessness. The affliction itself can cause deep feelings of hopelessness. In my search for therapy I came across therapists who skype over the internet. While it may not be an ideal solution, there IS hope. And there are solutions available to you. You might have to do a little more digging than others in metropolitan areas. I'd be glad to try to offer more suggestions for you. Maybe you could try a search for therapists who use skype to help people over the internet. Psychologytoday.com is a resource that allows you to filter your search by region, specialties, skype-ability, etc. As always when gathering data from the internet, please make sure the therapists you find have credentials and are experienced in the area of expertise you requre.

Roberta, I wanted to add my voice to those reaching out to you. There is so much you can do for yourself, as you continue to look for the right professional help for you. As EMDR proves itself to be an effective treatment, it will become more available, and more counselors will train in it. I want to underscore the advice given to you already in replies above, and add one more. Emotional Freedom Technique ( EFT ), EMDR, and Art Therapy all have bilateral components, meaning the eye movements, and tapping on both sides of the body activate both sides of the brain. Art Therapy activates right brain (simplified, also where the trauma "lives") through the process of image making (doesn't matter what it looks like, it's the process of creating), then activates the left brain as you process what you made and what you were experiencing through words, written and spoken. My understanding is that any bilateral work that activates both sides, forces the two sides, with very different preferences, to communicate with each other, and that allows more of the brain to work on solving the conflicts. For EFT you can look it up on YouTube to see it practiced, and try it yourself. There is also a book on EFT for PTSD that I have just purchased, to add to my own clinical practice. Keep asking counselors about EMDR, as the more they hear requests for it, the more likely they will be to do the training. (Leave your number with them, and ask them to call you if they ever decide to add it to their treatment offerings.) As for Art Therapy in the treatment of trauma, I continue to be excited about the power of it to heal. I became an Art Therapist because in my 20s I had a traumatic 2 years that escalated into PTSD, and healed myself through my art. It took about a year, was very intense, and I devoured every bit of info I could get my hands on. That was in the 1980s, a time when information was not so available. You can find out more about Art Therapy from the American Art Therapy Association at http://www.arttherapy.org/ Please continue to search for a counselor, but in the meantime, find ways to heal yourself and try everything that feels right. Allow you healing to unfold, and know that you are a survivor! You are powerful beyond measure, and you will find your way! You CAN heal. Also look into Post traumatic Growth from positive psychology. Many of us on this post will keep you in our thoughts and prayers!

I've been a patient in a psych hospital twice and was required to do art therapy and I thought it such a waste of time. It wasn't till later with a new therapist that something finally clicked and I can't be without it. It is such a calming meditative experience...I color mandalas with colored pencils. There are so many good "grown up" coloring books and it's something you can do anywhere.

I've also done EMDR with success and yoga has been very helpful. I don't have many classes near me so I do it at home with DVDs or YouTube videos.

I hope Dr. Kolk gets to read this. Hearing his talk this morning was an AHA! moment. I've been suffering with memories of early childhood abuse for 62 years and never really got the importance of the mind/body connection until this morning. Listening to his talk was a freeing experience. Thank you!

I feel this show makes so many striking points about why various sorts of movement are critical to the well being of individuals and the healing of various forms and levels of trama, large or small. Weather through yoga, rapid eye movement etc... I learned about stress hormones and how restricting movement is so harmful to the psyche of individuals. I appreciated the reminder that having students sit still during school all day and not be exposed to arts, music and other types of movement is not helpful for learning or the healthy psychological development of the child. I add that age appropriate school recess is critical to PK-12 students social and educational development. Not to mention it is humane, Thanks you for this very important "Restoring the Body" by Bessel Van Der Kolk.

I was diagnosed with a malady a few years ago, I sought the philosophies of phenomenology and deconstruction, philosophies that involve the "being before the gaze," which for me is this psychological malady. After a few years I have intuited this malady trying to understand its system. It was a subject, amid others on the talk show, how does the knowledge of such system, bare on our relations among our fellow man. I have found that we are equal in our plasticity. That from the realization that we are an open and fictile system we can see that evil is rather extrinsic. And may then join hands in unity; to bring to blossom healing.

I am the owner of a 53 year old mind and body that has seen much stress and trauma during life. From the 'difficult' childhood, death of my best friend when I was driving the car, cancer, and death of my 19 year old son I find my self trudging on ...and on and on.
Until my son died, I was always a 'glass half full' person through it all. After his death, I was a ' this glass is empty' person.
I am on a journey to heal myself and revive some sort of Joie de vivre. The awareness of this need has made me open and seeking anything that might help. Listening to the Bessel van der Kolk interview by Krista Tippit I have learned that I am on the right track to healing. I am with a therapist who does talk therapy and EMDR. I found that the EMDR has given me enormous relief. I know that I need to use this more in therapy but I also find talk therapy so helpful. I have done yoga, ballet and dance and though I can't do what I could 30 years ago it helps. I currently work hours in my garden which I call my church. The movement and body awareness that is attached to gardening is very healing to me. I choose not to listen to the news other than to learn the headlines 2nd hand. I just started seeing a natural path doctor to heal the 'gut wrenching' in me that can't go on. I am still seeing MD doctors but I am finding after just one visit, with her more sympathetic and natural ideas for healing that make sense to me.
As I said, I am on my way to healing and Dr. Kolk has validated the many things that have come across my path whether I know why they are working or how they got there. I can't wait to order his book and I am so grateful for your podcast, Krista Tippit because I learn so much with such a soothing medium.

This program gave me a different insight on my own recovery and perhaps what was going on with my husband before he died by suicide and why my son 2yrs earlier had ended his life by suicide. And why did I cope so differently than these two precious people in my life? One comment that was made on the program was "Be an agent of your own recovery". Although traumatic images occurred in my head and still do, but are becoming more faded, I had decided that after my son died, I would be a survivor and I would be here for my other children and I would again enjoy life.

I am a Life Coach through eMerge Services which has a military component (http://www.emergemilitaryservices.org/). We strive to move people forward in their lives and are active in helping return veterans in their re-integration. I was fascinated and inspired by this piece with Dr. Kolk. I am going to be researching this further and applying what I learn to better serving people who have experienced extreme trauma. Thank you as always for what On Being provides as a light in this world, picking us all up in the reflection!

-Cynthia Drake

In addition to the suggestions on today's broadcast, two other very effective trauma recovery tools are Emotional Freedom Technique ( EFT ), developed by Gary Craig, and Focusing, developed by Eugene Gendlin. Both can be taught to the client and then self applied if desired. I have used them both extensively professionally and personally and they seem less complicated to me that EMDR.

EFT is not as evidenced based like EMDR, and is a "take off" of EMDR., where clients are left on their own to do their own movements. EMDR also uses movements clients can do on their own like "Butterfly Tapping" to help ground them. The research backing EMDR protocols is extensive, while I am not saying EFT doesn't work for some people, it does not have the 30 years of research behind it. There is a reason for the EMDR protocol, which isn't so "complicated" once you practice it regularly, and I say this as a clinician. The protocols of EMDR are grounding for the client and needed to focus the client and heal the trauma fully.

I sat, listened, and was inspired. All we have heard before and knew -- and knew we knew -- is distilled in honesty and wisdom as Dr. Kolk and Krista explore the awfulness of trauma and the beauty and grace of recovery and helping people recover. Someone said, "I am not cured, but I am healed." That is goodness; that is grace. I will share this inspiring program with people who fear, with people who have known trauma, with people who work to help, with people who want to be a part of healing and to be healed. Thank you for this most powerful and hopeful discussion. We know what to do. Today is Good Samaritan Sunday in many places of worship. The program reminds us: go and do likewise. We know what to do.

I had a deep, physical & emotional reaction to this segment of On Being. The timing was, for me, clearly a "God thing". I'd was driving away from having just hiked several miles of trails in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, wondering why I had stopped getting outdoors and moving my body as I'd so loved to do as a child.

September will the be the 30th anniversary of a violent kidnapping/beating/sexual assault I survived at 18. After 20 years of traditional "talk therapy", I was introduced to EMDR and it changed my feelings about this trauma almost completely, as described, releasing the emotion of the events and making more just part of my story. (FYI, I respond better to EMDR done with audio stimulation more than visual. That's what's so cool about it! It isn't just an "eye movement" thing!)

Four years ago, I discovered yoga, and have begun, gradually, to see the reconnection with my body of which you both spoke. I began yoga to deal with being quite overweight and wanting to become more flexible. Little did I know that it would help me transition off antidepressants and begin to, as you put it, feel safe in my body again. I know I still have work to do, but I believe, from the center of my being, that this is the route to healing and truly living again! Hiking alone in a national park in the rain began to make me think about how I want to live this 2nd half of my life. And then came your program, which reminded me how I can begin this healing/living process! THANK YOU!!!

I note that there is no transcript to this Being episode.

Over the years, the transcripts have been far more useful to my learning than listening.

I hope they will be continued.

Bob Schneck

Bob-click on "TRANSCRIPT" below the show.

I had the wonderful experience of benefitting from EMDR treatment by Dr Van der Kolk after experiencing septic shock , after a 3 day coma and multiple intubations to deal with severe breathing failure. EMDR helped me stop 6 months of nightmares from this ICU trauma . One deep interview followed by a single EMDR session liberated me from this post traumatic sequel.

This was a lovely conversation about a deeply difficult subject, leaving a life affirming sense and hopefulness.
In addition to the many benefits of EMDR which are researched, I wonder what the good doctor's experience is with "tapping" and ERT (Emotional Release Technique) which seems so popular and easily accessible for changing thought patterns, etc these days/ Thanks for another good hour..

I am working at a summer camp with kids 6-13 years old with various attachment disorders, trauma, and ADHD. I know very little about ADHD, so I may be far off... but, I wonder if the hyperactivity, inability to focus, and aggression is a product of their trauma. In the show, he gave an example of how stress produces energy to get through the circumstance. Perhaps these children's own stress has created an huge amount of hyperactivity???? Sometimes, they appear vacant... as if they are not in their mind and cannot control their body. I don't know? ... just a thought. I'm still young in my career. I have also worked with victims/ survivors of sexual abuse. Similarly, the body and mind are disconnected. I love how he says, "You have to own your body." Great show!

I was so happy to hear Dr. van der Kolk talk about using Structural Integration (aka Rolfing) as a way to eliminate the physical patterns that allow trauma to define a person's posture, movement, and experience of being in their body. I have witnessed countless instances of clients being freed from the literal, soft-tissue restrictions that had been hindering their growth and progress, in ways that talk therapy could never begin to touch (pun intended).

Some of these memories were deeply lodged in the body, even though the conscious mind had long forgotten.

As an educator, I truly appreciated Dr. Kolk's statement, "In order to have a mind that focuses, you have to move your body. You need to sing with other people, and if you think that your kids are going to be better if you keep them stuck still in a classroom taking tests, then you don't know anything about human beings." I wish that the politicians, most of whom have never spent a day teaching in a classroom, shared Dr. Kolk's opinion. Instead, the curriculum for public education is driven by standardized testing - a billion dollar industry. It is no wonder that in such an environment where both students and teachers are told their worth is determined by test scores that the level of stress is crippling - physically and emotionally.

I have witnessed students in tears days before an exam..... in tears. And most recently, teachers in tears, as they give up their profession.

For me jazz improvisation was my physical focus during therapy. It's a profoundly mindful experience, and also very physical.

Thanks so much to every one envolved with making this program available to me this I believe has been very helpful. I have a son that has menkes syndrome and I've really never thought what I'm dealing with might actually be a trama. Again thanks a million

It went well beyond a driveway moment....i ate my dinner in the car in the dark because of this show..it re-inspired me after feeling a bit flat lately about my typical xyz wining about not fulfilling or even knowing my mission and purpose type drudgery that zaps me from time to time (probably most of us from time to time). apparently it starts with the breath.

While not everyone can go to Bessell's clinic, he both uses and recommends a number of therapies. One that is increasingly available in MN and other states is the Sensory Motor Psychotherapy of Pat Ogden.

I would love to introduce you to Reiki! Gentle
touch to create flow to assist in releasing the holding we do with our body.
Thank you

I have been in private practice in psychoanalysis for many years. Several long term patients, while still benefitting from being listened to deeply had been stuck on a plateau for years until I studied Focusing Oriented Therapy, which incorporates listening to the body for its wisdom. After introducing this to my practice, they all quickly and dramatically reached new levels of being. The sessions are more alive than ever and we are thrilled to continue. Each session is a new and surprising adventure. The body does know exactly what we need to heal.

THANKS for the info on focusing. Looking into this.

There was a mention of a program in the Berkshires that offers arrested juveniles a chance to study Shakespeare instead of detention. Cab you tell me the name of the program? Wonderful show.

Bessel knocks it out of the park again, as usual! Just one point of clarification: EMDR is not only useful for single incident trauma, but also very effective for complex trauma/PTSD.

See Foa, E.B., Keane, T.M., Friedman, M.J., & Cohen, J.A. (2009). Effective treatments for PTSD: Practice Guidelines of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies New York: Guilford Press. EMDR was listed as an effective and empirically supported treatment for PTSD, and was given an AHCPR “A” rating for adult PTSD.

As noted in the American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines (2004, p.18), in EMDR “traumatic material need not be verbalized; instead, patients are directed to think about their traumatic experiences without having to discuss them.” Given the reluctance of many combat veterans to divulge the details of their experience, as well as other trauma survivors, this factor is relevant to willingness to initiate treatment, retention and therapeutic gains.

The World Health Organization (WHO) now has "guidelines on problems and disorders specifically related to stress." (In press)
“Individual or group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a trauma focus, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), or stress management should be considered for adults with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
"Individual or group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a trauma focus or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) should be considered for children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."

I did many sessions of EMDR for complex PTSD and did not find it helpful; in fact, if anything, it was somewhat retraumatizing. As with all therapy, so much depends on the skill/empathy of the therapist and the match with the client. I did it as adjunctive work, not with my therapist, so perhaps that is not the way to do it. think

Roberta, I don't know where you live but feel free to check out www.traumahealing.com for resources a practitioners who have learned another mind body approach for trauma. There are some Somatic Experiencing Practitioners in Northern Mn...just not sure where the live in comparison to you. This is another approach that Bessel endorses. Blessings on your healing journey!

Just want to mention Dr. Shapiro's new book "Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR." Dr. Shapiro is the founder/creator of EMDR but all the proceeds from the book go to two charities: the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program and the EMDR Research Foundation). Anyway, the book is an easy read, helps you understand what's "pushing" your feelings and behavior, helps you connect the dots from past experiences to current life. Also gives lots of really helpful ways that are used during EMDR therapy to calm disturbing thoughts and feelings. And anyone can use some of the techniques in this user-friendly book!

The proper therapeutic comportment toward emotional trauma: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-relating-existing/201303/i-ll-be-you-when-the-deal-goes-down

I loved this interview for many reasons.

Bessel only briefly touched on the effects of too-much-dreadful-news, and how to deal with it. Do any of you have thoughts on how to stay informed of what's happening in the world without getting stressed and guilty over every terrible suffering on the screen. I know taking action is important, but even if one takes action to help Hurricane Sandy victims, there's still Sandy Hook killings, cholera in Haiti, the BP oil spill. How do you respond (or help your clients respond) to content news of others' trauma?

Bessil described EMDR as a bizarre and wonderful therepy but better done with someone else, which limits its access to people like Roberta In northern MN. EFT is a technique that is also bizarre and wonderful, which Hannah mentioned previously, but is much more accessible. Gary Craig, who developed it, describes the process in clear, precise detail on his website emofree.com . Just about anyone can learn to reduce the stress of all their traumas large and small through EFT all by themselves.
Krista, of all the topics you cover, this is right on top in importance for the sane functioning of our society.

I was excited to listen to your conversation with Dr. van der Kolk. Body integrated psychotherapies have been around for a long time but overall have lost favor with the mainstream treatment community. Alexander Lowen was a student of Wilhelm Reich and developed Bioenergetic Analysis -- www.bioenergetics-society.com -- as a method of integrating movement, body reconnection, and emotional healing. I have found his work remarkable and profound for me as both a client and as a clinician.

Additionally, David Bercelli has developed a treatment for PTSD called TRE (Trauma Releasing Exercises) - www.traumaprevention.com -- that also integrates body awareness and restoration of the body's natural trembling to promote trauma recovery. While Bioenergetic Analysis and EMDR require considerable training, anyone can learn TRE and use it immediately. There is even a YouTube video demonstrating TRE. Check it out! Even for a person without trauma, TRE is extremely relaxing!

Thanks for a great show!

I 've tried TRE and , you're exactly right, it absolutely promotes trauma recovery---quickly, dramatically, and easily. It changed my life.

I am very pleased to see the attention to Yoga, EMDR to treat PTSD. I've practiced Yoga for 37 years in settings all over the world (it's also a very portable way to exercise and meditate, even in war zones) and have also worked as a disaster, trauma mental health therapist for many years...also in various settings from NY after 9/11 to Cambodia, Egypt, and other places in the world experiencing trauma to their way of life. I've also experienced my own PTSD to the point of hallucinations and panic attacks.....it has been Yoga and meditation that has helped me to help myself and others to find safety and trust in the world again. The wounds are emotional, moral, and core to who we are.....hearts can physically hurt, sometimes like a spear through the soul.

Enjoyed listening to this program. Please put me on list for newsletter and future podcasts. Intrigued and curious about the links made between healing through movement, within community, and the reclaiming of one's integrity when there is deliberate and Imposed hurt. As a trauma therapist, I am enlivened continuously by the never ending connections that is 'the life force and its' potential to transform.'
Barbara A Martino
Thank you,
Barbara

Thank you so much for exploring this topic. I personally spent almost 10 years in talk therapy for early childhood trauma with a very competent therapist. It accomplished almost nothing except to re-traumatize me over and over again.
I later found someone trained in EMDR and finally found some peace. Many triggers no longer send me into flashbacks. I am a fan.

Again, thank you for explaining more about the mind/body connection as it relates to trauma. Responses that feel hard-wired CAN be accessed and re-directed.

Thank you, once again, for getting the word out.

I listened to your interview with Dr. van der Kolk as I took my evening beach walk. In the beginning of the interview when Dr. van der Kolk talks about how the body must move to heal from trauma, I burst into tears and sobbed for several minutes. This came out of nowhere . . . somehow it resonated with my mind on a very deep level of consciousness and my body recognized it's truth. I have had a drive to move my body by walking, hiking, biking, kayaking and horseback riding for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a tumultuous household with an alcoholic father. When I was 18, I was a passenger on a motorcycle that was hit by a car. I spent a month in the hospital and nearly a year of recuperation. They saved a leg (two inches shorter) and that is why I thought I've had this fervor for movement ever since (40 years later). I've had other traumatic events in life and realize that I probably drew them to me because of my past experiences. I practice yoga but will do more since hearing this interview. Your interviews are such a gift Krista but this one in particular has changed my life and as I read other comments, the lives of many. Thank you and a huge thank you to Dr. Van der Kolk for his work. I will absolutely pass this interview on . . .

As a trauma survivor, I use yoga as a way to reconnect to the body, but last year I learned about sensorimotor therapy, which uses eye tracking and other methods to release trauma stored in the brain and the body. Since beginning this therapy, I have been able to release the pain stored in the brain, the old "scars" from trauma. For other trauma survivors, this might also be useful.

Thank you for another valuable show.

I listened to this podcast while on a break from my job as a wilderness therapy guide. We work with adolescents and young adults struggling with a variety of challenges, most of which are easily traced back to trauma of some sort. What a peacefully loving, inspiration-ally intelligent interview! We practice yoga in the field with our clients and with their families at home and this interview was so affirming. Thank you. You can learn more about us at www.openskywilderness.com

Enjoyed thoughtful dialogue on Trauma. I specialize in the effects of trauma on children. These children are victims of complex-relational abuse. Would like to have heard more on therapies with these children because their brains are so deeply impacted by abuse and neglect. Single trauma in adults is a whole other domain when it comes to understanding trauma. Thanks for the window on such an important topic.
gary reece, ph.d.

The "neuroscience" and "trauma" research camps need to talk! :)
FROM Alice Walton at FORBES:

How Yoga Could Help Keep Kids In School

OR "How yoga might save the US trillions of dollars and a lot of lives"

".. you have to go (BEYOND) the "neuroscience-of-meditation" field and look to the trauma research, which tells us that physical activity can help the brain deal with stress and trauma. “Trauma research tell us that we hold trauma in our bodies… The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex doesn’t even talk to the amygdala."

Neuroscience says MINDFULNESS; trauma research says MOVEMENT. All of the sudden you’ve got moving meditation or mindfulness in motion. Mindfulness alone isn’t going to cut it for these kids.” One theory is that because the executive areas of the brain can be affected by stress and trauma, “getting in” through another avenue is key."

Read it all here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2013/07/24/how-yoga-might-save-the-u-s-trillions-of-dollars-and-a-lot-of-lives/

Thank you for this moving and informative interview. I personally found Trager bodywork to be transformative in overcoming my PTSD symptoms. I also found yoga, cranial sacral, acupuncture and meditation very helpful.

So many answers!! I kind of already knew that PTSD doesn't improve with just "talking it out" since I have done plenty of that. I have been telling friends, family and therapists that "something broke inside of me, a switch came off in my brain" but had not heard a good scientific explanation until I listened to this podcast. As I listened to Dr. van der Kolk, I realized that there is still hope for me to get better, to feel less disabled. Thank you! I am looking forward to an appointment with an EMDR practitioner in my area.

Please forward to Bessel van der Kolk:

As part of that effort, I'm also looking at the "individual" psychic immune system, and all I seem to be able to find is that individuals with positive affect have stronger physical immune systems, or that individuals with stronger family ties and support systems, have higher resistance to disease.

I'm less interested in physiological immunity than psychological immunity.

Your paper on repetition compulsion is excellent, but there we see individuals repeating traumatic experiences.

I'm looking for empirical evidence that individuals exposed to trauma tend to avoid those situations in the future, that is that they learn from traumatic exposures and their own mistakes and repeat these events less and less. The same way that you were once exposed to influenza, the second time around, your immune response is stronger and your infection weaker.

That a psychological immune response develops, or is conditioned, and that through learning and exposure, psychological defenses and immunities are conditioned and increase in strength.. . . that's what I'm looking for. We don't know the name of any of these psychological antibodies that develop. I'm eager to find them, identify them (or name them), and cite evidence for their existence.

Can you suggest any sources, articles, or directions I might follow?

Jerry Kroth, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Emeritus
Santa Clara University

So....music has soothing qualities...ho would have known!

Very helpful discussion. Thank you

I've been into yoga for the past few month and I would like to say that it really helps my body feel much better than ever. I've taken a yoga class before and the instructor was really helpful and keep motivating us.
Right now I changed my yoga style and tried stand up paddle boards yoga (SUP Yoga). Really really enjoy yoga on paddle boards. You guys should try it out. If you are interested in SUP yoga and want to find SUP boards that is best for you, check out my site http://paddleboardous.com/. I'd really happy if it's help you guys. :)

I was systematically abused both psychologically and physically by my mother in the name of love from the time I was born until I left home at 18. I have had years of therapy, practice yoga, garden, have raised children, have a successful career and am still married to the same man after 45 years.

I thought the abuse I suffered was dormant in me. Now however at 67 I am helping to care for my 98 year old mother. Until I heard Dr. Kolk's and Krista Tippett's piece on Sunday I couldn't figure out why I am having various infections and health issues as well as being depressed and increasingly angry when there is no cause that I can see in my present life. While listening to Dr. Kolk I had a flashback to a particularly brutal abuse by my mother and grandmother. I can't shake it...it's a feeling story in my body like a black hole lined with razor wire. It's as if all my soul work, talk therapy and self awareness can't fool my body. There is work to be done.

For those interested in more on EMDR, there are a lot of good resources on Youtube, including videos that have eye stimulation (points to look at that move left to right), but especially I love the bilateral aural programs--you listen with headphones and the music has tones that go left to right. I find it super, super helpful when old trauma resonates in my body.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dQXcnkHs6o
Please also investigate Internal Family Systems, a methodology that has proven far more helpful than EMDR in my case (multiple childhood & adolescent traumas, complex PTSD). http://www.derekscott.co/

I was recently told I probably am experiencing PTSD and should get help. A few days later, my mom shared this episode with me. I started crying about five minutes into the episode when he is talking about keeping the trauma as a type of loyalty to the memory. It am now looking into Mr. Van der Kolk's books and reading everything I can get my hands on. Thank you so very much for your podcast and for having him as a guest - you have changed my life. The feeling of constant panic and feeling like I have a vise around my chest has lessened just from knowing there is an explanation, and that it is NOT that I'm crazy or a failure. Thank you, thank you, a million times, thank you.

Here we learn more about the treatment of individuals who have experienced trauma. In working with congregations in periods of transition I have come to notice though that the dynamics and symptoms that affect the the bodies of humans and animals who suffer trauma, also affect the bodies of groups who self select in voluntary organizations. I began to notice many years ago how my body responded in relation to these dynamics and of course the implications for self-care when being looked to for leadership and also being undermined in that position over and over again. I was a dancer when young and routinely undertook to "dance it out" in private to prevent admitting illness. My mother practiced yoga in the 1960's and so that possibility represented itself to me when I finally did suffer injury in the mid 2000's. Since then it has become a matter of maintaining balance of a sort, but always easy to go over the edge in the stress producing situations I encounter in the practice of ministry I engage in. It really is more a form of organizational therapy though that regards the "body" of the whole organization as a living system vulnerable to disablement by reason of the experience of trauma. I wonder about whether it is really possible to expand the insights that were presented with clarity in this program to larger "living systems" formed as intentional communities that fall repeatedly into rigid and and reactive behavior patterns.

Thank you for this discussion of trauma and PTSD. Our society does not know how to address trauma and its impact on lives, so this type of exposure and discussion plays an invaluable role in the education process about this issues. On December 11, 2015, a troubled man I convicted of a felony shot the father of the victim and then shot me three times, once just missing my heart and then just missing my femoral artery. During the struggle, a bullet from bailiff's weapon also grazed me. I survived, but my life turned upside down. With therapy -- though not enough EMDR or Somatic Experience -- I have learned how to survive in a relatively normal way. I still have nightmares, and I have lost a great deal of natural resilience. Fear doesn't define my days any longer, and I no longer suffer from impulse control. Fortunately, I never have had, and did not develop, any chemical dependency issues. And I have been supported by caring, supportive, loving family members and friends, for whom I cannot possibly express enough thanks and love. Without them, I would not have survived this experience. I have learned that health requires daily spirituality, exercise, sleep, and eating. That "self-care" enables my days to be mostly normal, though certain things still trip me up. What I am amazed by most in this experience is how little people really understand about the effects of violence on life. Educating people about this harm has to occur. Thank you for helping with that process.

I'll be giving a workshop on this topic at the Expressive Therapies Summit, November on November 9.

Really all disease, both illness and injury, is related to our response to anything we experience as trauma. Making conscious the hidden/forgotten thoughts from the original trauma and "undoing" them will necessarily shift the body toward physical healing as well. All healing mechanisms and methodologies likely work in a similar way.

I discovered for myself, that my past will show me the way through the days and to the future. As i am getting older i am still growing, reminding my inner child.
The Trauma is a gap between this Connection. A gap between my present and my origin.
Yoga and meditation can be a thankfull practise to built a bridge.

I just now heard this interview. And I am completely new to "On Being." Thank you so much!! I would be curious about what other suggestions and thoughts Bessel Van Der Kolk and others have regarding other potential "modalities" or approaches to helping people with trauma. For example, I have been getting some help with Somatic Experiencing, and I am experimenting with Internal Family Systems - which seems to be relatively new. I would love feedback from Dr. Van Der Kolk, others "in the know," and others who have tried these approaches.

Thank you again, Krista, for this wonderful forum for ideas, and help, and connections. I feel a little better already, knowing that this forum exists.

This show was very insightful. Thanks for this as well as other episodes. I look forward to exploring Dr. Van der Kolk's work further.
Also, am wondering if this "body knowing" concept is related to our need for time in nature and the related recent phenomenon of "nature deficit."

trauma and healing

So glad, in fact relieved, to think your programme introducing Bessel's seminal work will reach a much broader public: never less so than those suffering from the hideous ramifications of traumitc experience. Hope is indeed a core ingredient. Thank you

I heard your interview this morning and was thrilled and amazed. I've been taking Yoga at a local medically-supervised Weight Control Center. All of us in the group have experienced extreme weight and body images issues. Yoga has just recently been added and we're all feeling the healing powers of yoga already. Thank you so much for this fascinating interview. I plan to share it with everyone in my group.

I was struck, most of all, by Dr. Folk's humanity; invoking Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou towards the end of your conversation, spoke volumes about his wide-ranging acknowledgement of trauma. Speaking to him sounds like speaking to a mensch; very refreshing in that field.

Having been a clinician for over 30 years, and one that primarily provides psychotherapy to individuals and couples, I know exactly what Dr. Folk is referring to when he says that the work of therapy is helping folks find themselves--mind, spirit and body i.e.,to find their "whole selves". Trauma, in my opinion is a formidable stumbling block to a sense of wholeness. This conversation has given me new insight and new tools to explore for my patients.

Some years ago, I recognized that everyone who comes to my office has been a victim of trauma; some more, some less. And I now see how that trauma can express itself through the body countless ways. I'm a big proponent of activities that provide energy discharge: dancing, brisk walks, yoga, meditation and the like. And like most of us, we resist the effort.

I'm also a proponent of 8 hours of sleep a night: another practice that is often out of our grasp. Many of us who do not sleep a full 8 hours, have an underlying sleep disturbance which we may mask with "busyness". I now have learned the importance of sleep as a way to metabolize trauma---today's and yesterday's.

Above all, I thank Dr. Kolk for reaffirming some things I have intuitively felt were true throughout my working life and for pointing to new avenues of healing.

Krista ... in connection with this profound interview I believe it is important you research the work of Kazimierz Dabrowski who said, 'Self awareness leads to psychological transformation and healing." Talk with William Tillier and, or Sal Mendaglio in Calgary, Canada ...

Speaking for myself, this interview has stimulated a high degree of synthesis. This is particularly pertinent to the more subtle, but none-the-less significant, trauma experienced by many highly able and creative children and young people in schools where there is little or no deep understanding of their vulnerability, their intensities and their social emotional and educational needs. I work with children who struggle in environments where few are able to connect with them and consequently they, in turn, begin to loose touch with who they and what they are capable of achieving and contributing positively to society.

I was glad to hear the mention of yoga, Feldenkrais, and cranio-sacral therapy in this conversation. I would add that the Alexander Technique can also be helpful in retraining body and mind to become aware of inefficent physical and emotional habits and replacing them with more efficient, more mindful ones. (Full disclosure: I am a national certified teacher of Alexander Technique.) More information is available at amsatonline.org

We have a 25 year old son suffering with PTSD stemming from a childhood rape. How can we connect with him to get him help?

I did not appreciate the inside discussion regarding Taize. A little context for the uninformed would have been appreciated.

I was very moved by the show and am interested in reading his new book. I do wish Krista had spent more time asking the author about his personal history, especially about how the war affected his life.

Hello,
Thank you for this and your other insightful programs. I listed with more interest becasue of the topic of trauma, how we handle it, and yoga etc. I am a retired police officer. At present I teach in an inner city HS. Often I am asked, "Why did you leave the force? " My pat response it that I saw things that were not good for me. There are images that I carry that over time seem to have faded away, however I recognize that something, a smell, the way the night sky looks, the particular time of year ot holiday will clarify the faded image. In 2001, after the attack on the WTC, Pentagon, and Penn. crash I refused to watch the news and have the images "served to me for breakfast" as Dr. Kolk so aptly put. However, I was teaching at the time and I remember seeing the flag half-staff at school and weeping thinking about all the police and fire personnel that ran toward the danger to honor their oaths.
**
As I mentioned I teach at an inner city HS and toward the end of yhe program you mentioend the importance of safety and safety being the foundation that must be present for all other systems to develop. I see first hand how important that is. I just wish there was more time in HS to help these kids take ownership of their own bodies and hence their futures.
Thank you,
Bob

I wonder if you will post a transcript?

Hi John,

Here is a link to the transcript: http://www.onbeing.org/program/bessel-van-der-kolk-restoring-the-body-yo...

You can also always find it above the kindred episodes bar.

Joy & Gratitude,

Mariah

This is one of my very favorite On Being episodes. I loved it the first time I heard it, and got so much out of it again. Thank you to all involved! I learned alot.

Love this krista, I found your conversation with Bessel so very interesting and heartfelt. I would love to know some more about him.

I love you podcasts

"We must acknowledge, validate, and honor all our emotion.". Steve Solomon

I am in the field, working in DC with addicts who are trauma survivors. I directed the DC Office of the Kolmac Clinic on K Street and instituted a trauma track in 1993. I lecture their Tuesdays on the Neurobiology of Addiction, Trauma and Recovery. As a YDS graduate, I also provide Christian Spirituality Groups as a way to heal trauma. A new trend I am seeing, is what I would call religious trauma, especially from patients who come from an evangelical background. Healing their access to spirituality, let alone Christian spirituality has been a new and growing challenge. What happens, when your type of trauma actually disables your ability to reach out to God? The traditional AA approach is difficult for these folks, but I am finding ways to help them overcome.

Thank you Krista! Who knew that Dr.van der Kolk's father endured such a fate? Also, just amazing to know that he spent time at Taize!! He is a very special person and the interview was amazing. I will be sending it to colleagues and patients alike! I am in the field, working in DC with addicts who are trauma survivors. I directed the DC Office of the Kolmac Clinic on K Street and instituted a trauma track in 1993. I lecture there Tuesdays on the Neurobiology of Addiction, Trauma and Recovery. As a YDS graduate, I also provide Christian Spirituality Groups as a way to heal trauma. A new trend I am seeing, is what I would call religious trauma, especially from patients who come from an evangelical background. Healing their access to spirituality, let alone Christian spirituality has been a new and growing challenge. What happens, when your type of trauma actually disables your ability to reach out to God? The traditional AA approach is difficult for these folks, but I am finding ways to help them overcome.

I'm extremely skeptical about the entire program of fMRI brain mapping explanation of our thoughts. I doubt any idea that comes from that will turn out to be much more durable than any of the many past assertions about the mind, it will all turn out to be an intellectual construct that shows more about the academic or ideological program of the people constructing the model than it does about minds.

I have come to the conclusion that minds are likely not physical objects, are not the same kind of things as objects and are not susceptible to the methods of science which are only competent for studying objects, their motions and interactions. I believe we can impose scenarios that seem to address those but due to the discrepancies in our metaphors and analogies and the real thing, none of those will really be real or will prove to be durable in academic culture.

Your program has become my "Sunday morning church service".Thank you especially for this amazing discussion. I've experienced PTSD since age five and am now 72. I've been in many insight oriented therapies in that time and have experienced therapist who were clueless as to how to manage effective TX. I have asked several times what effect an ongoing state of increased stress hormones has on the bodies organ systems and have gotten in return lank looks. Some of these treaters were affiliated with the premier universities, you know the ones.i still like to hear a discussion about this. I'm buying the book and sending a copy to my daughter in law who is preparing to take the MCATS. Thank you Krista for "Being" and thank you Dr. For your work.

Excellent. I spent my Veterans Day afternoon working on my car and listening to this insightful talk.

I have been working for the past several years with fellow veterans on a 'Right to Heal' campaign that focuses on military trauma and the inherent right service members have to remove themselves from the source of said trauma. My community in the past several weeks has been experiencing the reality of heartbreaking veteran suicide statistics. On average, we're losing 23 veterans a day to suicide.

Real understanding of trauma is so urgently needed, as well as appropriate healing practices, beyond traditional talk therapy & pharmaceuticals. I've lost two personal friends in less than two months to suicide and until we get a better handle on trauma and healing, countless lives literally hang in the balance.

RightToHeal.org

My passed friend Jacob George on 'The Human Cost of War'- https://vimeo.com/66857895

check this out

It is so powerful to listen to this episode and read the comments. I have been suffering and receiving treatment for PTSD for about 4 years now. I never thought about the "loyalty" to the event you describe. Fascinating. I don't want to be a memorial for a horrific event. I want to be a living, loving,laughing husband, dad, and grandpa...Thank you for this opportunity to open up and converse.

Thank you Dr. Kolk for your compassion and insight into trauma. I found myself nodding in agreement to so much of what you said, especially about the powerlessness that trauma induces. I was harnessed into my bed as a toddler (to keep me from joining my parents in bed) and have always had heightened fight-flight responses to seemingly ordinary things which have caused a whole host of problems that are difficult for others to understand. It took me until my adult years (and plenty of setbacks) to even begin to connect the experience with my behavior. It’s so true that you have to learn how to “own” your body, which for me seems like a lifelong process with intermittent success. You give me hope, not only for my own struggle to “normalize” and take myself back, but to educate others and open up the conversation around trauma so there is more compassion and understanding for trauma sufferers. And yes, yoga helps a lot – just finding a safe place in your body and knowing you can “go there” is kind of a revelation in this crazy world. Great program – thanks again!

I loved the interview, but felt discouraged when Ms. Tippet said that finding Feldenkrais and CranioSacral therapists is difficult. Why not provide resources for people to find practitioners in their area? Janet Evergreeen (janetevergreen.com), Gary Peterson(starinstitute.com), and Kate Klemer (drkatecranialschool.com)are teachers of CranialSacral Therapists and all have a community of talented practitioners.

I really appreciate this program. I am currently studying yoga therapy at LMU in Los Angeles California. I really connected to the part when Bessel Van Der Kolkata, MD discussed changing the story/memory that lives within a person. In Yoga we work with visualization, allowing in a new picture or experience than the one we are currently living with. I think this practice creates a tremendous amount of healing and reckoning with past experience. Thank you for sharing deeper insight into it.