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van der Kolk, B.A. (2002). Posttraumatic Therapy in the Age of Neuroscience. Psychoanal. Dial., 12(3):381-392.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(3):381-392

Posttraumatic Therapy in the Age of Neuroscience

Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D.

When people develop PTSD in the wake of exposure to a traumatic event, the imprint of that trauma comes to dominate how they organize their way in the world. Verbalizing, making meaning, and putting the event in contezt may provide a means of feeling understood, rejoining the human race, and gaining perspective on the experience, but it may do little to reorganize the person to feel safe and focused on fulfilling the demands of the present. Given the subcortical nature of trauma imprints, effective therapy needs to help survivors tolerate the sensory reminders of the trauma, and physically experience efficacy and purpose in response to stimuli that once triggered feelings of helplessness and dependence.

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