Eager to know more about trauma and building resilience? Here are the books I recommend to anyone embarking on their healing journey. They offer clear explanations of how the mind and body process trauma, as well as practical tools for moving forward.
In the meantime, enjoy the titles below.
The founder of Somatic Experiencing, Peter A. Levine, PhD, wrote this book to illuminate the mysteries of how trauma is stored in the memory. “While much work has been done in the field of trauma studies to address ‘explicit’ traumatic memories in the brain (such as intrusive thoughts or flashbacks), much less attention has been paid to how the body itself stores ‘implicit’ memory, and how much of what we think of as ‘memory’ actually comes to us through our (often unconsciously accessed) felt sense,” he writes. The book helps readers understand the relationship between the brain and the body and how we experience the past in the present. I like this book because Peter helps the reader access their own felt sense of the body in a non-threatening way.
Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: A Parents’ Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy and Resilience, by Peter A. Levine, PhD, and Maggie Kline
Another title by Dr. Levine, this one in collaboration with family therapist and retired school psychologist Maggie Kline, LMFT. The book offers tools “to keep children safe from danger and to help them ‘bounce back’ after feeling scared and overwhelmed.” Levine and Kline show readers how to reduce stress, set boundaries, and build resilience so that their children can avoid long-term negative effects of traumatic events. I like this book for anyone who works with children as well as parents who experience their own anxieties and fears.
The Courage to Rise by Liz Arch
Liz Arch is the creator of Primal Yoga, which blends yoga and martial arts to create empowerment and self-healing. In this book, she shares how the trauma of domestic violence led to anxiety and panic attacks. She developed an integrated, holistic approach to healing herself through movement, nutrition, and mindfulness. The book features accessible explanations on how trauma affects the brain as well as recipes, meditations, and Primal Yoga movement sequences. I like the interactive and experiential nature of this book.
The Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel
In this book, Daniel J. Siegel illustrates how our interpersonal relationships contribute to our brain’s development. By sharing a “new way of thinking about the emergence of the human mind and the process by which each of us becomes a feeling, thinking, remembering individual,” the book shows readers how to foster resilience in children, students and patients. This book does a fantastic job at teaching us the importance of finding our resources and building resilience.
Stress Proof: The Scientific Solution to Protect Your Brain and Body–and Be More Resilient Every Day by Mithu Storoni, MD, PhD
Mithu Storoni is a physician who also has a PhD in neuro-ophthalmology. In each chapter of the book, Storoni takes a common stressor – such as inflammation, an out-of-sync body clock, and high cortisol levels – and “presents simple ways to minimize its harmful effects with changes in diet, exercise, and other daily habits—including surprising hacks involving music, eye movements, body temperature, daily routine, and more.”
The Body Keeps the Score by Besel Van der Kolk
Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, MD has spent three decades treating trauma survivors. In this bestseller, he explains how trauma changes the brain’s wiring and the impact traumatic stress can have on our ability to experience and sustain pleasure and connection. The book explores traditional and cutting-edge treatments such as neurofeedback, EMDR, mindfulness, yoga, and play therapy. Bessel Van der Kolk does a fantasitc job of sharing case studies and helping us understand the importance of bringing the body into the healing process.