Traumatic Stress: Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body and Society

Author(s): Edited by Bessel A. van der Kolk, Alexander C. McFarlane & Lars Weisaeth

Personal Development

This volume presents the current state of research and clinical knowledge on traumatic stress and its treatment. With contributions from the leading authorities, the book summarizes the knowledge that has emerged since the acceptance of PTSD as a defined entity in 1980. It also addresses the uncertainties and controversies that confront the field of traumatic stress, including the complexity of posttraumatic adaptations and the unproven effectiveness of some approaches to prevention and treatment. 


Throughout the book, contributors demonstrate that rather than a normal response to an extraordinary situation, PTSD leads to a profound disorganization of the capacity to properly attend to subsequent stresses and to distinguish relevant from irrelevant stimuli. Highlighting the controversies and uncertainties that punctuate the study of trauma -- including issues of memory, dissociation, and the interface between culture and trauma and the inextricable relationships between biological and psychological processes--this book examines how effective treatment interventions require a firm understanding of the basic processes involved at various stages in the development of PTSD. 

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'An impressive and important book....From children to the elderly, from psychoanalysis to psychopharmacology, from the individual to society at large, the clinical material is all here.' --- Frank W. Putnam, MD 

'Like a small number of classic volumes in the field of traumatic stress...this book is remarkable for including not only (the) scientific and medical viewpoint, but also the sociopolitical context in which trauma, it study, and its treatment occur....An invaluable contribution to the field of traumatic stress studies, and psychology in general. We highly recommend this book to researchers, clinicians, students, and all of those committed to understanding and taking responsibility for the effects of trauma on the individual and society.'--- Contemporary Psychology 

'Once in a blue moon, a book is published that bears such importance for its subject that it becomes an instant classic. Traumatic Stress is such a book...No doubt, researchers will consider Traumatic Stress as an essential resource, and no academic libraary serving PTSD scholars will want to be without it...' --- Choice, December 1996 

A valuable text on trauma and its treatment. I use the book in the courses Clinical Practice I and II. It is very informative in that it provides many perspectives regarding the possible long-term effects of trauma on children and adults. In addition, the authors' styles make the book highly accessible and useful for clinicians at all levels of practice.''--Karen Kaufman, PhD, LCSW, Adjunct Faculty Member, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service

Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D., is Director of the Trauma Center at Human Resources Institute in Boston Massachusetts, a center for the treatment and study of traumatized children and adults. He is an Associate Professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the past President of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies


Lars Weisaeth, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Disaster Psychiatry at the University of Oslo, Norway


Alexander C. McFarlane is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Adelaide and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in South Australia

Part I: Background Issued and History. van der Kolk, McFarlane, The Black Hole of Trauma. McFarlane, van der Kolk, Trauma and Its Challenges to Society. van der Kolk et al., History of Trauma in Psychiatry. Part II: Acute Reactions. Shalev, Stress versus Traumatic Stress: From Acute Homeostatic Reactions to Chronic Psychopathology. Solomon et al., Acute Posttraumatic Reactions in Soldiers and Civilians. Part II. Defining and Diagnosing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Brett, The Classification of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. McFarlane, de Girolamo, The Nature of Traumatic Stressors and the Epidemiology of Posttraumatic Reactions. McFarlane, Vulnerability, Resilience, and the Course of Posttraumatic Reactions. van der Kolk, The Complexity of Adaptation to Trauma: Self?Regulation, Stimulus Discrimination, and Characterological Development. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Approaches to the Psychobiology of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Newman et al., Assessment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Clinical and Research Settings. Part IV: Memory: Mechanisms and Processes. van der Kolk, Trauma and Memory. van der Kolk et al., Dissociation and Information Processing in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Part V: Developmental, Social and Cultural Issues. Pynoos et al., Traumatic Stress in Childhood and Adolescence: Recent Developments and Current Controversies. Aarts, Op den Velde, Prior Traumatization and the Process of Aging: Theory and Clinical Implications. Sparr, Legal Issues in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. de Vries. Trauma in Cultural Perspective. Part VI: Treatment. van der Kolk et al., A General Approach to Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Ursano et al., Prevention of Posttraumatic Stress: Consultation, Training, and Early Treatment. Raphael, Acute Preventive Interventions. Turnbull, McFarlane, Acute Treatments. Rothbaum, Foa, Cognitive?Behavioral Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Davidson, van der Kolk, The Psychopharmacological Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Lindy, Psychotherapy of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: The Nature of the Therapeutic Relationship. Turner et al., The Therapeutic Environment and New Explorations in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

General Fields

  • : 9781572304574
  • : Guilford Publications
  • : Guilford Publications
  • : January 1999
  • : 234mm X 156mm X 28mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 611
  • : Paperback
  • : Edited by Bessel A. van der Kolk, Alexander C. McFarlane & Lars Weisaeth