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VIDEO: Learning to Let Go of Trauma

Bessel van der Kolk on the Power of Creating a Narrative

Bessel van der Kolk

Imagine the helplessness of being unable to distinguish painful past experiences from present ones. According to Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score, this is what happens when a traumatic memory is triggered. Old emotional responses bubble up even when the current trigger has little to do with the original trauma.

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The Evolution of Trauma Treatment

Bessel van der Kolk Shares His Hope for the Future of the Field

Bessel van der Kolk

By Bessel van der Kolk - My hope for the field of trauma treatment is that we learn how to help people bring their imaginations more fully to bear on their possibilities. More recently, we’ve been exploring the capacity to rewire brains that are stuck in freeze and terror and develop a sense of self-compassion that enables people to integrate their dissociated self from the past into in a calm state of mind in the present.

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VIDEO: Is Therapy Really a Science?

...Or is It a Conversational Craft?

William Doherty

What do the masters of truly good therapy have in common? According to couples therapist Bill Doherty, they know how to balance their desire to guide therapy with their ability to empathically listen. It's this quality that drives home the truth about therapy—at its heart, this work isn't a science. It's a craft.

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Learning to Bear the Unbearable

How MDMA Works

Bessel van der Kolk, Rich Simon

By Bessel van der Kolk and Rich Simon - As a researcher and outspoken advocate for therapeutic innovation, Bessel van der Kolk has been as influential as anyone in shaping the landscape of trauma therapy today. He describes what’s distinctive about the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

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VIDEO: When is It Trauma? Bessel van der Kolk Explains

Is Your Client Traumatized? For the Answer, Look to the Body

Bessel van der Kolk

Often we hear things from clients like “My relationship ending was so traumatic for me,” or “When my uncle passed away, I was totally traumatized.” With the word trauma being used so loosely and for such a wide range of problems, how do we know what it actually means anymore?

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A Look Back at the Evolution of Trauma Treatment

Are Clinicians Still Turning a Blind Eye to a Key Factor?

Mary Sykes Wylie

By Mary Sykes Wylie - In the 1970s, no sooner had the definition of PTSD been signed, sealed, and delivered, than many clinicians began to realize that the new diagnosis by no means encompassed the experience of all traumatized clients. In the case of trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, many of his traumatized clients shared one other feature: they all reported histories of childhood abuse.

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How Therapy Reached the New Age of Trauma Treatment

Janina Fisher on Helping Trauma Clients Access Their Bodies, Resources, and Resilience

Janina Fisher

By Janina Fisher - In this new age of trauma treatment, we aim to help our clients find the light---or at least to find their bodies, their resources, and their resilience. Of course, listening to and witnessing the clients’ experiences remain central to the treatment process, but we now focus on much more than the traumatic events in their histories, knowing these events don’t define who they truly are.

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Righting Psychotherapy's Reputation in the Media

Bessel van der Kolk and the New York Times

Kathleen Smith

By Kathleen Smith - It’s no secret that psychotherapy has had an image problem in the media. Real and fictional clinicians on TV and in the movies are regularly portrayed as jargon-spouting caricatures, or are often shown to break ethical codes without blinking, displaying more personal problems than their clients. But a bigger part of the problem may be that, on the whole, therapists haven’t done a particularly good job explaining what we do or how it works.

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Why the Current Trauma Model Fails Victims of Abuse

A New Way to Help Traumatized Clients Relieve Guilt, Shame, and Isolation

Susan Clancy

Today, after more than twenty-five years, predictions based on the trauma model have not proved accurate. There appears to be no direct, linear relationship between the severity of the abuse and the psychosocial difficulties victims experience in adulthood. Worst of all, we have developed no clearly effective treatments for sexual abuse victims. They continue to suffer from psychological and social problems in the aftermath of their abuse, and mental health professionals still have not reached a consensus as to exactly why or what precisely to do to help them recover. Here's what needs to change.

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How Effective is Modern Psychotherapy?

The Qualities of Good Therapy, and Where Today's Clinicians Stand

Mary Pipher

Over the past few decades, therapy has made great strides. However, there are areas in which I think therapy may have also gotten worse. The essence of therapy remains the relationship, and the greatest gift to a client with virtually any problem is a focused, curious, empathic listener. But right now, pressure to speed up therapy can undercut the sanctity of the therapeutic relationship. Like good cooking, I think good therapy takes time. In many ways, we’re treating people in therapy offices as if it were 1960. But it’s a really different time, and there are a lot of issues we’re not approaching because we don’t know how.

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