The Body Keeps the Score With Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

Verywell / Julie Bang

Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews authors, experts, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Bessel van der Kolk

Bessel van der Kolk, MD is a clinician, researcher, and professor who is best known for his work on posttraumatic stress disorder. He’s the medical director at the Trauma Center in Boston. He’s also a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the National Complex Trauma Treatment Network.

He’s the author of the wildly popular book "The Body Keeps the Score." In it, he describes the link between the brain, mind, and body and the treatment strategies that can help people heal from trauma.

Why Dr. van der Kolk Is Mentally Strong

Dr. Van der Kolk has done extensive research about trauma. And he shares his findings to help inform clinicians about the best treatments available.

He also shares stories from his own practice and talks about what has worked and what hasn’t in his experience treating others. He makes it clear that there are many more paths to healing other than the ones he speaks on.

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • How trauma impacts the brain, the mind, and the body
  • Why talk therapy isn’t always enough
  • The symptoms people experience when they develop PTSD
  • How yoga can reduce symptoms of PTSD
  • Why participating in community theater often helps people heal
  • Why you can’t talk people into being reasonable
  • Why understanding your trauma doesn’t necessarily make it any easier
  • The link between trauma and substance abuse
  • Why Dr. van der Kolk doesn’t think prescriptions are the answer
  • What he believes about psychedelics
  • Why a sense of community and in-person contact is essential to healing
  • The truth about hypnosis and mindfulness
  • How neurofeedback can help and why Dr. van der Kolk says we should make it widely available
  • How your best friend may hold the key to healing for you
  • Why the treatments you access don’t necessarily need to be endorsed by The American Psychological Association

What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength

There’s a lot of information about the “best” treatments for mental health. But sometimes, the things that heal someone aren’t necessarily a form of traditional therapy.

Sometimes people say a new hobby, like knitting, helped them heal. Or they might say joining an exercise group was more effective than medication for reducing their symptoms.

That’s why it’s important to be open to trying various strategies that might work for you. Be open to a variety of options until you find the things that help you feel your best.

Quotes From Dr. van der Kolk

Dr. van der Kolk

To open yourself up and be able to tell somebody what is bothering you is a major act of courage.

— Dr. van der Kolk
  • "I think we are in [a] state right now where we can get almost all the rewards of being with real people in a virtual way. I think it's going to be very damaging for our relationship[s] with each other."

More About the Podcast

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Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors. Thank you. 

For media or public speaking inquiries, contact Amy here.

Links and Resources

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By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.