Bessel van der Kolk
Bessel van der Kolk, MD, is the founder and medical director of the Trauma Center, which provides comprehensive services to traumatized children and adults and their families at the main office in Brookline, Massachusetts.
An internationally recognized leader in the field of psychological trauma, van der Kolk has been active as a clinician, researcher, and teacher in the area of post-traumatic stress and related phenomena since the 1970s. His work integrates developmental, biological, psychodynamic, and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment. Released in 1987, his book, Psychological Trauma, was the first integrative text on the subject, depicting the far-ranging impact of trauma on the entire person and the range of therapeutic issues that need to be addressed for recovery.
Van der Kolk has published extensively on the impact of trauma, exploring such issues as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development in traumatized children and adults, and the psychobiology of trauma. He was co-principal investigator in the field trials for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. He is currently conducting research on trauma and memory processes and brain imaging studies of PTSD.
Bessel van der Kolk has taught at universities and hospitals across the United States and around the world, including Europe, Africa, Russia, Australia, Israel, and China. His latest book, Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society, coedited with Alexander McFarlane and Lars Weisaeth, explores the research that has been conducted over the past 20 years on the role of trauma in psychiatric illness.