Skip to content

Psychological Trauma

Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D.

  • 1986
  • 256 Pages
  • ISBN 978-1-58562-162-0
  • Item #62162

View Pricing

List Price

APA Members

20% off

APA Resident-Fellow Members

25% off

Buying In Canada or Europe?


How many of your psychiatric patients have a history of severe physical or psychological abuse or other psychological trauma? These patients often present diagnostic dilemmas, get a variety of diagnoses, and frequently prove difficult-to-treat. They may have syndromes that are reminiscent of the post-traumatic sequelae in adults, such as physiological hyperactivity, a sense of loss of control, passivity alternating with uncontrolled violence, and sleep disturbances including nightmares. Investigating the impact of the traumatic event in connection with the development of the disorder is essential to an effective treatment approach.

Psychological Trauma provides a basis for understanding human response to trauma. The consequences of specific traumas have usually been described as separate entities. This is the first book to examine human response to trauma as a whole. In this thorough study of the biologic, psychodynamic and social consequences of trauma, separate chapters explore:

  • The impact of separation from the parental figure on a child's development, including cognitive and neurological disturbances
  • The psychobiology of traumatic response
  • Traumatic antecedents of borderline personality disorder
  • The effect of trauma on the family unit
  • Amnesia and dissociation as response to trauma
  • A stress management approach that can be incorporated into the treatment of patients


  • The psychological consequences of overwhelming life experiences. The separation cry and the trauma response: developmental issues in the psychobiology of attachment and separation. The psychobiology of the trauma response: hyperarousal, constriction, and addiction to traumatic reexposure. Evolving ideas: the effect of abuse on children's thought. Traumatic antecedents of borderline personality disorder. Trauma in the family: perspectives on the intergenerational transmission of violence. The role of the group in the origin and resolution of the trauma response. Amnesia, dissociation, and the return of the repressed. Retrieval and integration of traumatic memories with the painting cure. From victim to survivor: a stress management approach in the treatment of learned helplessness.

Related Products

Become an APA Member
Join Now