Understanding Trauma with Bessel van der Kolk

Our graduate training and clinical practice have taught us that trauma is imminently treatable with just the right balance of talk therapy and medication. But what if this recipe, as Bessel van der Kolk teaches us in this riveting interview, is shortsighted? What if our cherished notions about trauma’s impact have been unduly influenced by pseudo-science, therapeutic folklore and faulty diagnostic notions? And what if, in our zealous quest for the best evidence-based approaches, we have overlooked the importance of somatic interventions that have been successfully practiced for millennia?

Trauma, van der Kolk reminds us, is largely relational, a wound lived out day-to-day requiring focus on the body and the brain, not just the mind. His incisive thoughts gleaned from 40 years of research will help you to correctly diagnose trauma in both its singular and complex forms. By watching this video you will be able to move past an overreliance upon DSM diagnoses such as substance use disorders and ADHD that are not the problem, but the client’s attempts at solution. This reorientation will free you to embrace effective brain-based case conceptualization and treatment planning. You will be challenged to reconsider the faulty narrative around the absolute efficacy of cognitive and other talk therapies. In so doing, you will come to appreciate the therapeutic value of EMDR, Neurofeedback, yoga and even the healing nature of music and dance.


6 episodes in this course