Trauma is a complex topic, and healing it can be an even more complex process.
There are many different types of trauma, from neglect experienced in childhood to violence we may have witnessed as adults.
And just as everyone’s experiences are different, so too we all cope with trauma in our own unique way.
One amazing book to learn more about this vital area of psychology is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.
Check out these other 5 book recommendations just like it.
5 Books Like The Body Keeps the Score
1. It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn
In It Didn’t Start with You, Mark Wolynn discusses the ways in which inherited family trauma can shape individuals and their families.
He provides an overview of the various ways in which trauma can be inherited, including emotional, cognitive, physical, and sexual abuse.
Wolynn also explores the ways in which family dynamics can contribute to or exacerbate inherited trauma.
One of the key points that Wolynn makes is that individuals do not need to have experienced a traumatic event themselves in order to be affected by inherited trauma and in many cases, individuals may not even be aware of the traumatic events that occurred in their families of origin.
Wolynn argues that it is important for individuals to become aware of the possible impact of inherited trauma in order to break the cycle of dysfunction that often accompanies it.
He goes on to offer a number of strategies for addressing inherited trauma, including therapy, self-care, and support groups, while also emphasizing the importance of developing a healthy relationship with one’s family history.
Ultimately, Wolynn believes that by understanding and addressing inherited trauma, we can all begin to heal ourselves and our families.
2. The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris
The Deepest Well discusses the long-term effects that childhood adversity can have on individuals.
Burke Harris defines childhood adversity as exposure to any event or experience that can cause stress and disrupt development, including physical, emotional, and/or psychological abuse, neglect, poverty, and exposure to violence.
Burke Harris argues that these early experiences can have a lasting impact on a person’s physical and mental health, as well as their overall wellbeing.
The book is divided into five sections: (1) Understanding the problem, (2) The science of early adversity, (3) Interventions for children with toxic stress, (4) Preventing toxic stress, and (5) the future of early adversity research.
In the first section, Burke Harris discusses the various ways in which childhood adversity can affect individuals, citing numerous studies which support her argument that early adversities can lead to a variety of health problems in adulthood.
In the second section, Burke Harris delves into the scientific literature on how early adversities can impact brain development and lead to negative outcomes later in life, discussing how toxic stress can damage the architecture of the brain and hinder its ability to function properly.
In the third section, Burke Harris describes various interventions that have been shown to be effective in mitigating the negative effects of early adversity, including techniques targeted at both children and adults.
The fourth section focuses on prevention, and Burke Harris provides tips for parents and educators on how to create supportive environments for children who have experienced adverse events.
The fifth section offers a glimpse into the future of early adversity research and highlights some of the unanswered questions surrounding this topic.
Overall, The Deepest Well provides an in-depth look at the impact that childhood adversity can have on individuals.
Burke Harris provides evidence from both scientific studies and personal anecdotes to support her argument that early adversities can have devastating consequences for people’s physical and mental health.
While the book does not provide any easy answers, it offers hope that by understanding the science of toxic stress and implementing effective interventions, we can begin to mitigate its negative effects.
3. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook by Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz
The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog is a non-fiction account of a boy who was raised in an environment that was devoid of love and affection.
As a result, the boy became severely emotionally disturbed and was unable to form normal attachments with other people.
After eventually being diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), he was prescribed medication to help him cope with his disorder.
However, the medication only made the boy more lethargic and unresponsive.
Fortunately, he was subsequently able to receive treatment from Dr. Perry, who helped him to overcome his emotional problems.
One of the main themes of the book is the importance of attachment in human development.
According to Dr. Perry, attachment is essential for the development of a healthy sense of self-identity and he believes that children who do not have strong attachments to their caregivers are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders later in life.
Another theme of the book is the importance of early intervention.
Dr. Perry believes that it is critical to provide treatment for children who are suffering from emotional disturbances at an early age.
If left untreated, these children are likely to develop chronic mental health problems later in life.
4. Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Lewis Herman
Trauma and Recovery by Judith Lewis Herman is a book about the psychological effects of trauma.
The book is divided into three sections: the first section discusses trauma theory, the second section discusses treatment, and the third section discusses recovery.
According to Herman, trauma is a “normal reaction to abnormal events” and can be caused by physical or sexual abuse, accidents, natural disasters, or war.
The psychological effects can include depression, anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and dissociation.
Herman believes that recovery from trauma is possible but requires patience and hard work:
- The first step is to identify and acknowledge the trauma.
- The second step is to develop a support network of family and friends.
- The third step is to develop a healing activity such as writing, painting, or gardening.
- The fourth step is to confront the memories of the trauma.
- The fifth step is to forgive oneself and others.
5. Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine and Ann Frederick
In Waking the Tiger, Levine and Frederick explore the idea of trauma and its effects on both the body and mind, discussing how it can be both a physical and emotional response to an event or series of events that overwhelms the individual’s ability to cope.
The authors explain that while trauma is a normal response to an abnormal situation, it can often lead to long-term problems if not properly addressed.
Levine and Frederick outline a five-step process for healing:
- The first step is learning how to safely access and release the energy that has been trapped in the body as a result of the traumatic experience. This can be done through various techniques such as breath work, visualization, and movement.
- The second step is to identify and process any accompanying emotions that may have been repressed as a result of the traumatic event.
- The third step is to restore balance within the body by addressing any physical imbalances that may have been caused by the trauma.
- The fourth step is to reconnect with previously avoided aspects of life in order to reclaim lost parts of oneself.
- The fifth and final step is to cultivate a new understanding of trauma and its effects, which can help prevent future trauma from occurring.
Waking the Tiger offers readers a unique and comprehensive look at topic and its effects on both the body and mind, providing readers with practical tools for addressing and healing traumatic experiences.
Trauma is a prevalent issue and can have damaging consequences on our mental health. And yet it remains an underdiscussed topic.
The Body Keeps the Score offers readers a comprehensive look at trauma and its effects on both the body and mind, providing readers with practical tools for addressing and healing traumatic experiences.
The other book recommendations above complement Bessel van der Kolk’s work nicely and provide additional insight into this fascinating subject.
For further reading on a tangential topic, check out these play therapy book recommendations.