This Will Change How You Think About Trauma | Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Being Well Podcast

On today’s episode of Being Well, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, the author of The Body Keeps the Score, joins @Rick Hanson and I to explore how trauma keeps us stuck, and how we can use imagination, self-expression, and creativity to break away from those old patterns. Along the way we talk about using somatic and non-cognitive interventions, internalized abuse, the value of a developmental perspective, using psychedelics for complex trauma, some of the problems with modern psychiatry, and how we can cultivate an equitable, flexible, and compassionate approach to treatment.

About Our Guest: Bessel van der Kolk is a professor of Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine and president of the Trauma Research Foundation in Brookline, Massachusetts. He’s also the bestselling author of The Body Keeps the Score, which is one of the most influential modern books in the field.

Key Topics:
0:00 Introduction
1:10 Imagination and aspirational thinking in healing trauma
5:05 Creativity and cultural context
6:20 Where a sense of agency begins
8:55 Why people internalize abuse
17:40 The many practices for redefining past traumas
23:50 The state of psychedelic research and the importance of patient care
28:20 The need for new approaches to diagnosis and treatment
36:00 Issues with the DSM-5 and the need to integrate interpersonal processes
41:10 What counts as trauma? Collective trauma?
45:20 The need for cooperative strategies confronting trauma in pro-social movements
48:20 What helps people resource themselves to create change?
55:10 Recap

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Who Am I: I'm Forrest, the co-author of Resilient ( and host of the Being Well Podcast ( I'm making videos focused on simplifying psychology, mental health, and personal growth.

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