Bessel A. van der Kolk M.D.

Join Trauma Therapist 2.0

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute

This week I’m very excited to have on the podcast, Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk.

About one year ago I sent a LinkedIn message to Dr. van der Kolk, asking if he’d like to be on the podcast.

He replied, “Sure,” and then he asked me to email him at a separate email address.  

I emailed him at that address and didn’t hear back for about one year.

Well, here we are.

I remember I first encountered Dr. van der Kolk’s work in graduate school.

I came across his article, The Body Keeps The Score, and thought to myself, Oh my God, this is it. This makes perfect sense. This is what I want to do.

I went on to read his other book, Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society, and was equally inspired by that.

Now, of course, his most recent work, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma, has been informing and inspiring not just trauma workers, but individuals who’ve been impacted by trauma, as well.

Bessel A. van der Kolk M.D. is a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of posttraumatic stress. His work integrates developmental, neurobiological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment.

Dr. van der Kolk and his various collaborators have published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, such as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development, memory, and the psychobiology of trauma.

He has published over 150 peer reviewed scientific articles on such diverse topics as neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, Developmental Trauma, yoga, theater and EMDR.

He is founder and Medical Director of the Trauma Center; past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School.

He regularly teaches at universities and hospitals around the world.

His most recent 2014 New York Times Science best seller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies.


This interview took place prior to Dr. van der Kolk’s firing by the Justice Resource Institute and reports that he “bullied and denigrated employees at his renowned Trauma Center.”

Bessel van der Kolk’s response to these accusations can be found here:

In This Episode

Trauma Therapist | 2.0 Member Update with Jessica Culp
An American Trauma. A life of resilience with David Carr

The Trauma Therapist Newsletter has launched! Check out a recent issue here for free: The Trauma Therapist Newsletter