The 5 Best Books on Trauma for Healing Old Wounds

Trauma is a debilitating psychological condition that can affect us from childhood all the way through our adult lives.

Fortunately, there are many therapeutic techniques that can help.

In this article, I’ve compiled some of the top titles on the topic, providing both educational awareness and practical tips for dealing with its effects.

I’d love to hear your feedback and whether you’ve found any other helpful books on the subject.

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Best Books on Trauma

1. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

The Body Keeps the Score is a book written by Bessel van der Kolk, a leading expert in the field of trauma and its impact on the mind and body. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the effects of trauma on the brain and the body, and offers insights into different treatment methods that can be used to help individuals cope with and recover from trauma.

One of the main takeaways from the book is the idea that trauma is not just a psychological issue, but a physical one as well. Van der Kolk argues that trauma can change the way the brain functions, altering the stress response and causing physical symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches, and fatigue. He also explores how different parts of the brain are affected by trauma, including the hippocampus, which plays a role in memory, and the amygdala, which is responsible for the processing of emotions.

Another key point the author makes is that traditional talk therapies are not always effective for treating trauma. He emphasizes the importance of addressing the physical symptoms of trauma and incorporating different treatment methods such as yoga, meditation, and somatic experiencing into therapy.

The book is well-researched and provides a lot of valuable information about the impact of trauma and different ways to help people who have experienced it. I found it really informative and insightful, and it has made me more aware of the importance of addressing the physical symptoms of trauma in addition to the psychological ones. It also gave me more understanding of how trauma affects the brain, which I found really interesting.

One personal reflection is that the book’s focus on somatic experiencing and body-centered therapies resonated with me particularly, which I think can provide a great additional path for healing.

Read more books like this.

2. Trauma and Recovery by Judith Lewis Herman

Trauma and Recovery is a book written by Judith Lewis Herman, a psychiatrist and expert in the field of trauma studies. The book provides a comprehensive examination of the effects of traumatic events on individuals and communities, as well as an in-depth exploration of the healing process.

One of the key themes of the book is the concept of “complex trauma,” which refers to the prolonged and repeated traumatic experiences, such as those experienced by survivors of domestic violence or sexual abuse. Herman argues that complex trauma often leads to long-term psychological damage, and that traditional forms of treatment, such as talk therapy, may be inadequate for addressing the lasting effects of complex trauma.

Another key point made in the book is that social and political factors play a significant role in the experience and recovery from trauma. Herman emphasizes the importance of recognizing and addressing the societal and cultural forces that contribute to the prevalence of traumatic experiences, such as violence and oppression.

The book is well-researched and provides a lot of valuable information about the different types of trauma and the healing process. It is written in an accessible and engaging style, making it easy to understand and follow even for those without a background in psychology.

Personally, reading this book helped me to better understand the long-term effects of complex trauma, especially in survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence, and the importance of addressing the social and political factors that contribute to the prevalence of traumatic experiences.

3. Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine and Ann Frederick

Waking the Tiger is a book written by Peter A. Levine and Ann Frederick that explores the effects of trauma on the body and mind and provides an in-depth examination of the healing process. The authors propose a holistic approach that incorporates the body’s natural healing mechanisms in order to overcome the effects of trauma.

The book introduces the concept of “trauma energy,” which refers to the energy that is created by the body’s stress response during a traumatic event. The authors argue that this energy can become “stuck” in the body, leading to physical and emotional symptoms of trauma. They propose a technique called Somatic Experiencing, which aims to help individuals release this trapped trauma energy and resolve the symptoms of trauma.

The book is well-written, and it provides a lot of valuable information about the effects of trauma on the body and the importance of addressing physical symptoms in addition to the psychological ones. The authors provide detailed explanations and examples of their techniques, making it easy for readers to understand and apply them in their own lives.

Personally, reading this book opened my eyes to the idea that trauma is stored in the body as well as the mind, and that addressing the physical symptoms of trauma is essential for healing. I also appreciate the holistic approach that the authors take and how they focus on the body’s natural healing mechanisms.

4. The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller

The Drama of the Gifted Child is a book written by Alice Miller that explores the effects of emotional abuse on children and the ways in which it can shape their adult lives. The book focuses on the concept of “parental narcissism,” in which parents use their children to fulfill their own emotional needs, often at the expense of the child’s well-being.

Miller argues that children who are subjected to emotional abuse and neglected by their narcissistic parents often develop a “false self” in order to please their parents and receive love and approval. This false self becomes the adult’s default persona, and can lead to a range of problems including low self-esteem, difficulty with intimacy, and difficulty in finding one’s own voice and identity.

The book is well-written and provides a lot of valuable insights into the ways in which emotional abuse can shape a child’s development and adult life. Miller’s writing is engaging and easy to follow, and she provides a number of examples to illustrate her points.

Personally, reading this book was a very eye-opening experience for me. It helped me to better understand the lasting effects of emotional abuse on children and the ways in which it can shape their adult lives. It also made me more aware of the potential for narcissistic behavior in parenting, and the importance of being attuned to the needs and well-being of one’s children.

Overall, I would highly recommend The Drama of the Gifted Child to anyone interested in learning more about the effects of emotional abuse on children and the ways in which it can shape their adult lives. It is a thought-provoking and insightful book that provides valuable insights into the issue of emotional abuse and its long-term consequences.

5. Complex PTSD by Pete Walker

Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving is a book written by Pete Walker that explores the effects of complex trauma, which is defined as prolonged and repeated traumatic experiences, such as those experienced by survivors of domestic abuse or sexual abuse. The book provides an in-depth examination of the symptoms and effects of complex trauma, as well as strategies for healing and recovery.

One of the key points made in the book is the idea that complex trauma often leads to the development of coping mechanisms, such as dissociation, that can become maladaptive in adulthood. Walker argues that these coping mechanisms can interfere with an individual’s ability to form healthy relationships and lead to a range of problems, including difficulty with trust, intimacy, and self-worth.

The book is well-written and provides a lot of valuable information about the effects of complex trauma and the healing process. It is written in an accessible and engaging style, making it easy to understand and follow even for those without a background in psychology.

Personally, reading this book helped me to better understand the long-term effects of complex trauma and the importance of addressing maladaptive coping mechanisms in order to facilitate healing and recovery. It also provided a lot of valuable insights into the different strategies that can be used to support individuals who have experienced complex trauma.

Summary

In conclusion, there are many excellent books available on the topic of trauma, each offering valuable insights and strategies for understanding and overcoming its effects.

The five books reviewed in this article…

  • The Body Keeps the Score
  • Trauma and Recovery
  • Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma
  • The Drama of the Gifted Child
  • Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving

…are among the best in this field, and provide a wealth of information and guidance for individuals seeking to understand and heal from trauma.

Whether you are a survivor of trauma seeking support and guidance, or a professional working with trauma survivors, these books are sure to provide valuable insights and tools for healing and recovery.