Bessel van der Kolk, MD

Understanding and healing from trauma

Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change ​the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience ​and learning to befriend what is going on inside ourselves.

The Body Keeps the Score

Published in 38 Languages

Being able to feel safe with other people is probably ​the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.

Learn More Order Now

Featured In

Bessel van der Kolk MD has spent his professional life studying how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences. He translates emerging findings from neuroscience and attachment research to develop and study a range of effective treatments for traumatic stress and developmental trauma in children and adults.

Join the Trauma Research Foundation

Trauma Research Foundation

Ever since The Body Keeps the Score was published in 2015 and, since then, has been read by well over 1,000,000 people, the Trauma Research Foundation (TRF) has been inundated by requests for referrals to experienced clinicians who are capable of providing the various treatment modalities discussed in that book.

In response, TRF is dedicated to setting up networks of clinicians around the United States, and possibly around the world, who have a solid understanding of the nature, impact, and resolution of traumatic stress and who are deeply familiar with a variety of treatment options and approaches.

This certificate program is, among other things, meant to be a foundation for the creation of such networks of expert clinicians.

Our intensive post-graduate level certificate program consists of 32-weeks of immersion into the fundamental issues necessary to become an expert clinician treating adults and children who suffer from traumatic stress.

In addition, students will have a monthly opportunity for a face-to-face interaction with one of the senior supervisors of this program to discuss lessons learned and clinical challenges, as well as for the formation of peer support groups.

While most advanced training programs are geared to teaching clinicians a particular treatment modality, this course provides a comprehensive overview of a variety of different treatment approaches, relevant to the particular conditions that your clients live under, their presenting problems, their developmental stages and the cultural context and resources of the traumatized individuals.

This course will provide an overview of the basic biological and psychological processes at work that form the foundation for innovative and effective treatment approaches, such as a variety of body based techniques, IFS, ARC, SMART, sand tray therapy, neurofeedback, EMDR, psychedelic therapies, yoga and theater, and address issues of assessment, culture, race, spirituality, families and other contextual issues.

Learn more and register

Current Research

MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD


Bessel van der Kolk, MD is the Principal Investigator for the recently completed Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) sponsored phase 3 program - evaluating the efficacy of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This multi-center study is designed to provide information on whether the drug MDMA combined with psychotherapy is safe and helpful for people with PTSD. Each volunteer is assigned at random (like flipping a coin) to get either MDMA with psychotherapy or psychotherapy with a placebo. Volunteers will have a 50/50 chance of being assigned to either group.


MAPS sponsors clinical trials around the world that offer volunteers the opportunity to participate in our research studies. Our studies have strict enrollment criteria based on the goal of the study and the condition the study is investigating. Learn more.

MAPS is starting a 14 week online training program to help practitioners become certified in MDMA-Assisted Therapy. Click the link below to learn more.

Learn more

The Ezra Klein Show

This Conversation Will Change How You Think About Trauma

"There’s a lot in this conversation. We discuss the lived experience of trauma, the relationship between the mind and the body, the differences between our “experiencing” and “autobiographical” selves, why van der Kolk believes human language is both a “miracle” and a “tyranny,” unconventional treatments for trauma from E.M.D.R. and yoga to psychedelics and theater, how societies can manage collective trauma like 9/11 and Covid-19, the shortcomings of America’s “post-alcoholic” approach to dealing with psychic suffering, how to navigate the often complex relationships with the traumatized people we know and love, and much more."

Listen now
child blowing dandilions

Being able to feel safe with other people is probably ​the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.

- The Body Keeps the Score

Upcoming Events

05 - 05 December 2023

New Zealand Psychological Association (Virtual)

Register Now
29 - 31 January 2024

Latin American Trauma Conference (Mexico City, Mexico)

Register Now
19 - 23 February 2024

Trauma, Memory and the Restoration of One’s Self (Big Sur, CA)

Register Now

View All Events

Bessel van der Kolk on...


Sign up with your email to receive news and updates.