Bessel van der Kolk, MD

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Posted Thursday October, 22nd 2020

Cracked Up | Darrell Hammond, Michelle Esrick & Dr. Bessel van der Kolk | Talks at Google

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In "Cracked Up", we witness through the incredible story of actor, comedian, master impressionist and Saturday Night Live veteran, Darrell Hammond, the impact adverse childhood experiences can have across a lifetime . Behind the scenes, Darrell suffered from debilitating flashbacks, self injury, addiction and misdiagnosis, until the right doctor isolated the key to unlocking the memories his brain kept locked away for over 50 years. "Cracked Up" creates an inspiring balance between comedy and tragedy helping us understand the effects of childhood trauma in a new light, breaking down barriers of stigma and replacing shame with compassion and hope.

For more about the film & resources, please visit

Watch the movie here:

Darrell Hammond is an American actor, stand-up comedian and impressionist. He is one of the longest-running cast members on “Saturday Night Live” and has famously portrayed Presidents Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, among others. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller God, If You’re Not Up There I’m F*cked, which was just released as an audiobook on, narrated by Hammond himself. The film “Cracked Up,” detailing his life and career, was released at the end of last year.

Michelle Esrick is an award-winning filmmaker. Her film "Cracked Up, The Darrell Hammond Story" premiered theatrically in September 2019, with a Netflix release in May 2020. "Cracked Up" shows childhood trauma’s impact through the life of SNL legend Darrell Hammond. Appearing before Congress, Esrick and Hammond presented nine trauma-informed care provisions which were added into the ‘Support for Patients and Communities Act’ signed into law in October 2018. Esrick also directed and produced "The Wavy Gravy Movie: Saint Misbehavin’". The NY Times hailed, “Saint Misbehavin’ is an unabashed love letter to the world that defies the cynicism of our age.” Showtime, PBS and Netflix released the film in 2011 and it is currently on Amazon Prime with a 10th Anniversary Special Edition DVD. Esrick Executive Produced the Netflix Original film, "Ram Dass, Going Home", which was short-listed for a 2017 Academy Award. In 2018, she directed Let’s Rise!, a music video CNN dubbed the March for Our Lives Movement anthem. In May 2020, Esrick created Cracked Up, The Evolving Conversation series, exploring the effects of childhood trauma and recovery.

Bessel van der Kolk, MD, has spent his career studying how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences, and has tried to translate emerging findings from pharmacology, neuroscience and attachment research to develop and study potentially effective treatments for traumatic stress in children and adults. In 1984, he set up one of the first clinical/research centers in the US dedicated to study and treatment of traumatic stress in civilian populations, which has trained numerous researchers and clinicians specializing in the study and treatment of traumatic stress. Bessel did the first studies on the effects of SSRIs on PTSD; was a member of the first neuroimaging team to investigate how trauma changes brain processes, and did the first research linking Borderline Personality Disorder and deliberate self-injury to trauma and neglect in early childhood. Much of his research has focused on how trauma has a different impact at different stages of development, and that disruptions in care-giving systems have additional deleterious effects that need to be addressed for effective intervention.

Moderated by Jessica DiVento.

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