Bessel van der Kolk, MD

Blog Postpost

Posted Monday October, 25th 2021

Bessel van der Kolk - The Body Keeps the Score

We talk about what trauma really is, and whether it’s possible that the term has become a bit inflated in popular culture.

Van der Kolk tells the story of playing a part in the creation of the Post Traumatic Stress diagnosis and how it originally focused only on combat stress, and completely missed the far more prevalent and more destructive trauma that takes place in families.

I ask him to offer alternatives to the widespread but woefully imprecise and unhelpful diagnostic terms like narcissism, borderline personality disorder, or anti-social personality disorder and discuss our mutual distaste for the DSM—the diagnostic manual used by psychiatrists and licensed professionals.

Even though Bessel contributed to the development of the DSM versions III and IV, he rails against how using labels interferes with genuine observation and connection to the suffering of each person.

We discuss his proposal of a more precise replacement for the PTSD diagnosis called Developmental Trauma Disorder. And we dive into breakthrough treatments like psychedelics and neurofeedback—using a person’s own brain waves to control a video game that trains the brain to correct nervous system dysregulation that occurs as a result of abuse, neglect, or unprocessed trauma. Finally, I ask Bessel about his last conversation with the late Rich Simon, who’s suicide in November of 2020 rocked many of us in the mental health professions.

Watch here

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