The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk, MD

17 modules


Course Length
30 hours

Marcie Dierks

28 Mar 2024

$0 - 50


Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent more than three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments - from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga - that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal - and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.


As our years as educators continue, we are seeing more and more students that are experiencing heavy trauma in more serious doses. But why? And is there anything we can do about it? This book helps to explain some of what happens to kids and why they struggle so much as they develop into adults. These struggles come due to changes in the brain and how it impacts them on social, emotional and physical levels. It explores the history of understanding trauma, what trauma is and what can cause trauma. Engaging, real-life stories are shared to help us understand what happens to our bodies due to the situations and experiences we have gone through. 


The author also discusses the development of the ACE score (adverse childhood experiences) and why this came to be. Again, there are multiple real-life stories that accompany the scientific aspect to give us examples of the relationships between the body and mind.


In the last section of the book we get to explore the variety of therapies and solutions that doctors and mental health professionals have assembled to assist individuals in overcoming their trauma. Some that are mentioned that we can incorporate into school settings include theater and movement classes, yoga, and mindfulness strategies. 


Teachers that have read this indicate that they recognize even more fully why they need to have patience and be patient with students. There was also a profound understanding that the world that we grew up in doesn’t exist anymore and that we can’t keep judging students through our lens because we are trying to help them navigate a completely different situation. 


As educators that are making decisions in our buildings and with the knowledge that is found in these pages, we can help create a healthy culture of understanding and patience. This is what will make a difference to our students now. (


BOOK:  The Body Keeps the Score

  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0143127741

  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0143127741

  • Free PDF Version:

  • "The Body Keeps the Score" audiobook from YouTube is included in this course. 

    • Please be aware of who is with you if listening to this audiobook, as some case studies are graphic in their description of physical and sexual abuse.  

    • Mispronunciation of some words is also obvious in listening to the audiobook, but does not effect the understanding of the content.


This book study is free for members or $50 for non-members. You can earn either two graduate credits from Augustana for $100 or 30 continuing education contact hours (CECH). 


After this book study, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the basic processes that underlie trauma.

  • Describe the role of trauma in the disintegration of bodily systems.

  • Identify the parts of the brain that are altered through the experience of trauma and discuss how those changes translate into changes in behavior and functioning daily life. 

  • Describe the role of parental and social relationships in mitigating or exacerbating the effects of childhood trauma.

"The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk, MD
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All content will be released May 15.
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Week 1 (Chapters 1-2: pages 7-38)
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Week 2 (Chapter 3: pages 39-50)
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Week 3 (Chapters 4-5: pages 51-88)
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Week 4 (Chapter 6: pages 89-106)
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Week 5 (Chapters 7-8: pages 107-137)
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Week 6 (Chapters 9-10: pages 138-172)
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Week 7 (Chapters 11-12: pages 173-204)
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Week 8 (Chapters 13-14: pages 205-249)
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Week 9 (Chapters 15-16: pages 250-278)
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Week 10 (Chapters 17-18: pages 279-310)
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Week 11 (Chapters 19-20: pages 311-358)
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Final Reflection
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Course Resources Folder
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Reflection Paper
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Two Graduate Credits or 30 Continuing Education Contact Hours?
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Added 4 days ago, by Erin

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