The Body Keeps the Score – How trauma is stored

In the popular book “The Body Keeps the Score,” the Author Bessel Ven Der Kolk speaks about trauma in a way that no one had heard before. He put it into terms that people could see themselves in, which gave language to begin healing. Prior to his work, most of the dialogue surrounding trauma was reserved for veterans of war in the context of Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His book began somewhat of a revolution for recognition and treatment of trauma outside of the experiences of war and combat. 

How does trauma differ from just a combat experience to any experience shifting your perspective?

With the emerging awareness and comprehension that trauma can be “any experience that shifts your perspective on self, others, or the world,” (Jessica Tyler) it’s easy to keep tally of all the events that may have been categorized as trauma in your past. 

When the tally starts to get long and in the meantime, more trauma may be happening, overwhelm and helplessness sets in. We may start to believe that healing from our trauma is like a chore list and once we’ve checked off all the items, then we can have fun. 

Therapy, coping skills and appropriate support systems will allow healing

While it is important to commit to healing from trauma and the residual beliefs that come as a result, through therapy, coping skills, and appropriate support systems, it’s also important to keep living your life. We may underestimate how much healing might be embedded in pushing forward and relaxing into life as we’ve known it. Taking a break from healing can be healing in and of itself. 

When speaking with a client about this topic, the client drew the metaphor of an athlete who has been injured. Of course, seeking medical attention is necessary, however, it’s often that the best thing to do for the injury is to return to the sport. There is healing to be had in the mundane. Approaching past and present trauma is a difficult thing to do. It will require your full attention and effort at times and life may need to be put on hold for the sake of it. 

However, when you are able, don’t forget to keep living your life as a means of active recovery. 

Wishing you wellness,