The Body Keeps the Score Book Summary - The Body Keeps the Score Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Body Keeps the Score summary

Bessel van der Kolk

Mind, Brain and the Body in the Transformation of Trauma

4.5 (1136 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk is an insightful exploration of trauma, its effects on the body and mind, and various healing techniques.
Table of Contents

    The Body Keeps the Score
    Summary of 8 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 8

    Trauma is incredibly common in our society.

    Trauma isn’t just something faced by war veterans – it’s far more prevalent in our society than we realize. The truth is that trauma can happen to anyone, and it’s time we found out what this really means.

    Traumas result from an experience of extreme stress or pain that leaves an individual feeling helpless, or too overwhelmed, to cope with adversity. Experiences involving war typically result in traumas, but violent crimes and accidents cause them too.

    Rape and child abuse are terrible events, and they are also unfortunately more common than you might think. Reports reveal that 12 million women were victims of rape in the United States in 2014 alone, and that more than 50 percent of those women were under the age of 15 at the time of the assault. Every year in the United States, there are 3 million cases of child abuse.

    These traumatic experiences can change the lives of those affected, as well as the lives of their friends and family. Traumatized people often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can lead to depression and substance abuse.

    In addition, traumatized people tend to mistrust anyone who hasn’t experienced the same suffering they have, and assume that nobody can understand them. This was illustrated in one of the therapy groups the author set up for Vietnam veterans.

    While the group helped the veterans find friends and share their experiences, those who weren’t traumatized by the war were considered outsiders by the group – including the author. It took weeks of listening, empathizing and building trust with the veterans for them to accept him.

    Establishing a rapport with someone suffering from PTSD is a challenge on its own, so just imagine trying to maintain a marriage, a close friendship or a stable parent-child relationship. Traumatized people find it difficult to trust even those who love them most, including partners and kids. This can be very tough on friends and families, often leading to estrangement or divorce.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Body Keeps the Score?

    Key ideas in The Body Keeps the Score

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Body Keeps the Score about?

    The Body Keeps the Score (2014) explains what trauma is and how it can change our lives for the worse. These blinks investigate the wide-ranging effects experienced not only by traumatized people, but also those around them. Nevertheless, while trauma presents a number of challenges, there are ways to heal.

    The Body Keeps the Score Review

    The Body Keeps The Score (2014) is a groundbreaking book on understanding and healing trauma. This important work stands out for its:

    • Comprehensive overview of trauma's impact on the body, brain, and emotions.
    • In-depth discussion of various therapeutic approaches, from traditional to alternative methods.
    • Empowering message that promotes resilience and recovery for trauma survivors.

    Learn about the science of trauma and the path to healing by reading The Body Keeps The Score.

    Best quote from The Body Keeps the Score

    People who have not shared the traumatic experience cannot be trusted, because they cant understand it.

    —Bessel van der Kolk
    example alt text

    Who should read The Body Keeps the Score?

    • People struggling with chronic pain, anxiety or depression
    • Family and friends of PTSD sufferers
    • Students of psychology and medicine

    About the Author

    Bessel van der Kolk, MD, is a physician, researcher and teacher specializing in post-traumatic stress. His other books include Psychological Trauma and Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society. Van der Kolk is a professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine and directed the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute.

    Categories with The Body Keeps the Score

    Book summaries like The Body Keeps the Score

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    The Body Keeps the Score FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Body Keeps The Score?

    The main message of The Body Keeps The Score is the profound effects of trauma and the potential for healing and recovery.

    How long does it take to read The Body Keeps The Score?

    It takes approximately 13 hours to read The Body Keeps The Score, while the Blinkist summary can be read in about 15 minutes.

    Is The Body Keeps The Score a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Body Keeps The Score is a must-read for understanding trauma and its effects on body and mind.

    Who is the author of The Body Keeps The Score?

    The author of The Body Keeps The Score is Bessel Van Der Kolk.

    How many chapters are in The Body Keeps The Score?

    The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk has 20 chapters.

    How many pages are in The Body Keeps The Score?

    There are 464 pages in The Body Keeps The Score.

    When was The Body Keeps The Score published?

    The Body Keeps The Score was published in 2014.

    What to read after The Body Keeps the Score?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Body Keeps the Score, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • It Didn't Start With You by Mark Wolynn
    • When the Body Says No by Gabor Maté
    • The Myth of Normal by Gabor Maté with Daniel Maté
    • The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo
    • Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop
    • What Happened to You? by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Outlive by Peter Attia
    • The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking by Michael D. Watkins
    • The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt