From his 2023 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium workshop “One Size Doesn’t Fit All: How to Individualize Trauma Treatment,” Dr. Bessel van der Kolk singles out the most important question to ask when working with traumatized clients.

“What’s lacking in so many of the people we’re hoping to treat is an early experience with being seen, known, played with, and having a sense of ‘I’m a source of pleasure in this world.'”

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One Size Doesn’t Fit All: How to Individualize Trauma Treatment

Bessel van der Kolk

Bessel A. Van der Kolk, M.D., is a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of post-traumatic stress.  His work integrates developmental, neurobiological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment. Dr. van der Kolk and his various collaborators have published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, such as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development, memory, and the psychobiology of trauma.  He has published over 150 peer reviewed scientific articles on such diverse topics as neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, Developmental Trauma, yoga, theater and EMDR.

He is founder of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts and president of the Trauma Research Foundation, which promotes clinical, scientific and educational projects. His 2014 #1 New York Times best seller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma, transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring – specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust.  He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, somatically based therapies, EMDR, psychodrama, play, yoga, and other therapies.