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 32 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.

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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.

Integrating Therapy with Science

In the past 3 decades, we have learned an enormous amount about brain functions and interpersonal attachment systems. This new knowledge has not always been systematically applied to help traumatized children and adults heal from trauma. Dr. van der Kolk's work is focused on integrating therapy with science.

Dr. van der Kolk has published over 150 peer reviewed articles, diversely ranging from neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, developmental trauma, yoga, and theater to EMDR.

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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

Trauma Research Foundation

32nd Annual Trauma Conference


Psychological Trauma:
Neuroscience, Embodiment and The Restoration of The Self
May 26th - 29th, 2021


Trauma Research Foundation and Bessel van der Kolk would like to extend a warm welcome to the 32nd Annual Boston Trauma Conference!

The study of trauma has probably been the single most fertile area in helping to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship among the emotional, cognitive, social and biological forces that shape human development. Starting with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults and expanding into early attachment and overwhelming attachment and social experiences in childhood (“Developmental Trauma”), this endeavor has elucidated how certain experiences can “set” psychological expectations, bodily experiences and biological selectivity. This conference will present both basic research about the impact of trauma over the life cycle, and a range of effective interventions that are being practiced in clinics, schools, prisons, families, and communities around the world.

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Breathing exercise

Activating Your Neural Pathway

Restoring a sense of self is critically important in recovering from trauma. Body-centered activities like deep breathing exercises help us regulate our internal states and restore and repair the connection between our minds and our bodies. In this video, Bessel van der Kolk introduces us to the concept of deep breathing as a practice to activate the neural pathway that allows us to access our internal experience.

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child blowing dandilions
Embodied Practice

TRF TUESDAY: Free Community Event

Join the Trauma Research Foundation in this 8 week series with Michael Lee, the Founder of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. Michael will guide you in easy to follow body and breath meditation practices that will bring you home to now. You will engage both body and breath as anchors to support a shift in your "lens of self-reference". From a place of greater equanimity, stress, anxiety, fear and tension can be transformed. As the series progresses you will become more empowered to lean into life with greater ease and ride the bumps on the road of life without falling off the bicycle. Themes like Awareness, Acceptance, Choice, and Discernment will be focused in the meditation and in a short life integration that follows the practice.

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child blowing dandilions

Upcoming Events

22 - 22 January 2021

3rd International Conference on Trauma & Addiction

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05 - 05 February 2021

Place2Be's Children's Mental Health Week

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25 - 26 February 2020

2-Day: The Body Keeps Score-Trauma Healing with Bessel van der Kolk, MD

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