Trauma, the Body and 2021

An interview with Bessel van der Kolk, a recognized compassionate psychiatrist and trauma specialist, about what happens in the body when we experience trauma and how it affects us in years to come. The interview has value for 2021 and far beyond.


Discussion of how the different parts of the brain work to process trauma and how that relates to different parts of the body; observations of trauma treatment from deep pain to healing possibility; history of trauma diagnosis is traced to tremendously difficult experiences in war; thoughts on the power - both good and bad - of memory and the need to turn memories into stories; discussion of why yoga can help with processing through trauma

Suggested Uses

  • Most powerful if the podcast is listened to with those in small groups and then unpacked with a larger group, perhaps facilitated by a mental health professional.
  • Clergy referring a parishioner who is processing trauma to listen to the podcast with a partner or trusted person.
  • An appropriate referral by clergy who are typically not trained to respond to those with deep trauma but want to offer support.

About the Contributor

Tim Shapiro

Tim Shapiro is the Indianapolis Center’s president. He began serving the Center in 2003 after 18 years in pastoral ministry. For 14 years, Tim served Westminster Presbyterian Church in Xenia, Ohio. Prior to his pastorate at Westminster, he was pastor of Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in Logansport, Indiana. He holds degrees from Purdue University and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Tim’s interest in how congregations learn to do new things is represented in his book How Your Congregation LearnsAfter his extensive work on the Center’s Sacred Space initiative, Tim co-authored the book Holy Places: Matching Sacred Space with Mission and MessageHe has also authored several articles, including Applying Positive Deviance and The Congregation of Theological Coherence.

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