Being Well Podcast: Evolving Our Approach to Treating Trauma with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk
October 17, 2022

On today’s episode of Being Well, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, the author of The Body Keeps the Score, joins Rick and Forrest to explore how trauma keeps us stuck, and how we can use imagination, self-expression, and creativity in treating trauma. Along the way they 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 Scorewhich is one of the most influential modern books in the field.


Key Topics:

  • 0:00: Introduction
  • 1:15: Imagination and aspirational thinking in healing trauma
  • 4:55: Creativity and cultural context
  • 6:10: Where a sense of agency begins
  • 8:40: Why people internalize abuse
  • 16:30: The myriad available practices for redefining past traumas  
  • 22:10: The state of psychedelic research and the importance of patient care
  • 29:15: The need for new approaches to diagnosis and treatment
  • 34:00: Issues with the DSM-5 and the need to integrate interpersonal processes
  • 38:50: What counts as trauma? Collective trauma?
  • 42:25: The need for cooperative strategies confronting trauma in pro-social movements
  • 45:15: What helps people resource themselves to create change?
  • 51:45: Recap

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Join Dr. Rick and Forrest Hanson every week on the Being Well Podcast for lively and thought-provoking conversation and practical tips for being happier, building inner strengths, and getting the most out of life.

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