Showing posts with label Mental healing. Show all posts

Reclaiming Your Body 

David Emerson & Elizabeth Hopper

1. Psychic trauma—Physical therapy. 2. Yoga—Therapeutic use.

Overcoming Trauma through Yoga- Reclaiming Your Body
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 178 p
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 by Justice Resource Institute, Inc

About the Author
A registered yoga teacher, David Emerson is the director of
yoga services at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource
Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts. In 2003 he
collaborated with Bessel van der Kolk, MD, the founder and
medical director of the Trauma Center, to create the
Trauma Center Yoga Program, which includes classes and
teacher training programs. Emerson currently leads
trainings for yoga teachers and clinicians interested in offering traumasensitive
yoga to their clients.
Elizabeth Hopper, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist
with a specialization in traumatic stress and has worked
with trauma survivors for the past fourteen years. She is a
staff psychologist, supervisor, and the associate director of
training at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute.
Dr. Hopper is also the director of Project REACH, a
program that serves survivors of human trafficking
throughout the United States. She offers national training and
consultation on traumatic stress and alternative interventions for trauma survivors.

Founder and Medical Director of the
Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute

THERE MUST BE many different things that inspire people to develop a yoga
practice, and what got us at the Trauma Center involved in yoga was
rather peculiar. After all, what does it take to get a rather conventional
person to stand on one leg with his fingers pointing at the sky for
prolonged periods of time, or to casually lie on the floor to assume the
posture of a happy baby?
Somewhere around 1999 we became familiar with a new biological
marker called heart rate variability (HRV). HRV had recently been
discovered to be a good way to measure the integrity of one of the
brain’s arousal systems, the one located in the oldest part of the brain:
the brain stem. Well-regulated people tend to have robust HRV, which is
reflected in their ability to have a reasonable degree of control over their
impulses and emotions. This is mirrored in the capacity of their
inhalations and exhalations to produce rhythmical fluctuations in heart
rate. People who are easily thrown off balance tend to have low HRV,
and they also are at risk for developing a variety of illnesses, including
depression, heart disease, and cancer.

After several months we had collected enough tracings of our
traumatized patients to make us conclude that they have unusually low
HRV. This could help explain why traumatized people are so reactive to
minor stresses and so prone to develop a variety of physical illnesses.
Aside from our scientific interest, there also was a more personal one.
While we were experimenting with HRV, we measured the integrity of
our own brain stem regulatory systems, as well, and discovered that my
own HRV was not nearly robust enough to guarantee long-term physical
health. Thus, we had a double incentive to start concentrating on
improving HRV, both to protect our patients against losing their cool
and getting sick, and to find a way of taking care of my own recently
diagnosed brain stem dysregulation.

We looked on the internet to see what research had shown to help
improve HRV. Google listed 17,000 yoga sites that claimed that yoga
changes HRV, but when I looked up what studies had been done to
prove that this is, in fact, true, the search engine produced no results.
Yogis may have developed a wonderful method to help people find an
internal balance, but there is not much of a scientific tradition of
measuring the various claims of what yoga can and cannot do.
A few days after we started to think about ways in which we could
improve people’s HRV, David Emerson walked through the front door of
the Trauma Center. He introduced himself as a yoga teacher who had
been working with war veterans at a local vet center and developing a
modified form of hatha yoga to help these trauma survivors. Dave asked
us if we would be interested in collaborating to study the efficacy of
yoga as a treatment for PTSD. We looked around for a space to teach
yoga classes and figured out how we should formally measure how yoga
affects PTSD. This collaboration led to one of the most gratifying
programs at the Trauma Center. Yoga became a major cornerstone in our
understanding that it is imperative to befriend one’s bodily sensations to
overcome the imprints of trauma.

Why did yoga provide a key to recovery from traumatic stress? Our
work with traumatized children and adults had taught us that assaults
can cause a disintegration of people’s self-protective capacities. Our
bodies are programmed to automatically respond to physical threats by
fighting or fleeing. An experience becomes traumatic when this natural
flight/flight defense is aborted. When you are assaulted and realize that
there is nothing you can do to stave off the inevitable, this selfprotective
system may break down, resulting in the inappropriate
activation of fight/flight reactions in response to minor subsequent
irritations, and an inability to regain a sense of safety and relaxation.
While the mind usually shuts down during a traumatizing experience,
the bodily sensations associated with immobilization and helplessness
carry the memories of having absolutely no control over the outcome of
your life: the fate of trauma survivors is lived 
out in heartbreak and gutwrenching sensations.

The most profound legacy of trauma may be this timeless feeling of
being battered by unbearable physical sensations: crushing feelings in
your chest, agonizing tension in your shoulders, and burning pain in
your abdomen, accompanied by the conviction that you are utterly
helpless to do anything about it. The body, instead of being an ally on
one’s road to recovery, becomes the enemy. Many traumatized people
learn to tell a story of what happened, so that friends and relatives can
understand why they are so frightened, angry, or out of control, but the
real problem is that they do not feel safe inside—their own bodies have
become booby-trapped. As a result, it is not OK to feel what you feel and
know what you know, because your body has become the container of
dread and horror. The enemy who started on the outside is transformed
into an inner torment.

Table of Contents
Title Page
Foreword by Peter A. Levine, PhD
Foreword by Stephen Cope, MSW
Introduction by Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD
A Brief History of Traumatic Stress and Trauma Treatment
Historical Views on Mental Health Symptoms
Link between Traumatic Events and Symptoms
Veterans and Traumatic Stress
Expansion of the Application of the PTSD Diagnosis
Modern-Day Treatment Models for Post-traumatic Stress
Complex Trauma and the Limitations of Available Treatment Models
More Recent Treatments
The Future of Trauma Treatment
Trauma and the Survival Response
The Impact of Trauma
Yoga as Trauma Treatment
The Origins of Yoga
Yoga in the West
The Need for Trauma-Sensitive Yoga
Key Themes of Trauma-Sensitive Yoga
Experiencing the Present Moment
Making Choices
Taking Effective Action
Creating Rhythms
Developing a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Practice
An At-Home Practice
Integrating Yoga-Based Practices into the Therapy Office
Matching Yoga-Based Interventions to Goals
Creating Present-Moment Focus
Developing Mindfulness Skills
Building Curiosity and Developing Tolerance for Experiencing Sensation
Changing the Relationship with the Body
Building Affect-Regulation Skills
Breathing Practices and Affect Regulation
Practicing Choice
Integrating Aspects of Experience
Increasing Confidence
Building Connection to Others
Addressing Challenges in Introducing Yoga-Based Strategies into the Therapy Office
Building a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Class
Teacher Qualities
Responding to Triggered Reactions in a Yoga Class
About the Authors

Overcoming Trauma through Yoga- Reclaiming Your Body
Published by
North Atlantic Books
P.O. Box 12327
Berkeley, California
The Trauma Center at Justice Resource
Institute, Inc.
545 Boylston St., Suite 700
Boston, MA 02116

Cover photo © Zelei

What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About consciousness, dying, addiction, depression, and transcendence

Michael Pollan

BISAC: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Science & Technology. | MEDICAL / Mental Health.

Subjects: LCSH: Pollan, Michael, 1955—Mental health. | Hallucinogenic drugs—Therapeutic use. | Psychotherapy patients—Biography.

How to Change Your Mind- What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness
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 456 p
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 9780525558941 (ebook) 
 2018 by Michael Pollan

About the Author
MICHAEL POLLAN is the author of seven previous books, including
Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and
The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. A
longtime contributor to The New York Times Magazine, he also teaches
writing at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley, where he is
the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism. In 2010, Time
magazine named him in its list of the one hundred most influential
people in the world.

A New Door
MIDWAY THROUGH the twentieth century, two unusual new molecules,
organic compounds with a striking family resemblance, exploded upon
the West. In time, they would change the course of social, political, and
cultural history, as well as the personal histories of the millions of people
who would eventually introduce them to their brains. As it happened, the
arrival of these disruptive chemistries coincided with another world
historical explosion—that of the atomic bomb. There were people who
compared the two events and made much of the cosmic synchronicity.
Extraordinary new energies had been loosed upon the world; things
would never be quite the same.

The first of these molecules was an accidental invention of science.
Lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly known as LSD, was first
synthesized by Albert Hofmann in 1938, shortly before physicists split an
atom of uranium for the first time. Hofmann, who worked for the Swiss
pharmaceutical firm Sandoz, had been looking for a drug to stimulate
circulation, not a psychoactive compound. It wasn’t until five years later
when he accidentally ingested a minuscule quantity of the new chemical
that he realized he had created something powerful, at once terrifying and wondrous.

The second molecule had been around for thousands of years, though
no one in the developed world was aware of it. Produced not by a chemist
but by an inconspicuous little brown mushroom, this molecule, which
would come to be known as psilocybin, had been used by the indigenous
peoples of Mexico and Central America for hundreds of years as a
sacrament. Called teonanácatl by the Aztecs, or “flesh of the gods,” the
mushroom was brutally suppressed by the Roman Catholic Church after
the Spanish conquest and driven underground. In 1955, twelve years after
Albert Hofmann’s discovery of LSD, a Manhattan banker and amateur
mycologist named R. Gordon Wasson sampled the magic mushroom in
the town of Huautla de Jiménez in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Two years later, he published a fifteen-page account of the “mushrooms
that cause strange visions” in Life magazine, marking the moment when
news of a new form of consciousness first reached the general public. (In
1957, knowledge of LSD was mostly confined to the community of
researchers and mental health professionals.) People would not realize
the magnitude of what had happened for several more years, but history
in the West had shifted.

The impact of these two molecules is hard to overestimate. The advent
of LSD can be linked to the revolution in brain science that begins in the
1950s, when scientists discovered the role of neurotransmitters in the
brain. That quantities of LSD measured in micrograms could produce
symptoms resembling psychosis inspired brain scientists to search for the
neurochemical basis of mental disorders previously believed to be
psychological in origin. At the same time, psychedelics found their way
into psychotherapy, where they were used to treat a variety of disorders,
including alcoholism, anxiety, and depression. For most of the 1950s and
early 1960s, many in the psychiatric establishment regarded LSD and
psilocybin as miracle drugs.

The arrival of these two compounds is also linked to the rise of the
counterculture during the 1960s and, perhaps especially, to its particular
tone and style. For the first time in history, the young had a rite of
passage all their own: the “acid trip.” Instead of folding the young into the
adult world, as rites of passage have always done, this one landed them in
a country of the mind few adults had any idea even existed. The effect on
society was, to put it mildly, disruptive.

Yet by the end of the 1960s, the social and political shock waves
unleashed by these molecules seemed to dissipate. The dark side of
psychedelics began to receive tremendous amounts of publicity—bad
trips, psychotic breaks, flashbacks, suicides—and beginning in 1965 the
exuberance surrounding these new drugs gave way to moral panic. As
quickly as the culture and the scientific establishment had embraced
psychedelics, they now turned sharply against them. By the end of the
decade, psychedelic drugs—which had been legal in most places—were
outlawed and forced underground. At least one of the twentieth century’s
two bombs appeared to have been defused.
Then something unexpected and telling happened. Beginning in the
1990s, well out of view of most of us, a small group of scientists,
psychotherapists, and so-called psychonauts, believing that something
precious had been lost from both science and culture, resolved to recover it.

Today, after several decades of suppression and neglect, psychedelics
are having a renaissance. A new generation of scientists, many of them
inspired by their own personal experience of the compounds, are testing
their potential to heal mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety,
trauma, and addiction. Other scientists are using psychedelics in
conjunction with new brain-imaging tools to explore the links between
brain and mind, hoping to unravel some of the mysteries of consciousness.

One good way to understand a complex system is to disturb it and then
see what happens. By smashing atoms, a particle accelerator forces them
to yield their secrets. By administering psychedelics in carefully
calibrated doses, neuroscientists can profoundly disturb the normal
waking consciousness of volunteers, dissolving the structures of the self
and occasioning what can be described as a mystical experience. While
this is happening, imaging tools can observe the changes in the brain’s
activity and patterns of connection. Already this work is yielding
surprising insights into the “neural correlates” of the sense of self and
spiritual experience. The hoary 1960s platitude that psychedelics offered
a key to understanding—and “expanding”—consciousness no longer looks
quite so preposterous.

How to Change Your Mind is the story of this renaissance. Although it
didn’t start out that way, it is a very personal as well as public history.
Perhaps this was inevitable. Everything I was learning about the thirdperson
history of psychedelic research made me want to explore this
novel landscape of the mind in the first person too—to see how the
changes in consciousness these molecules wrought actually feel and what,
if anything, they had to teach me about my mind and might contribute to my life.

Table of Contents
Also by Michael Pollan
Title Page
Prologue: A New Door
A Renaissance
Natural History: Bemushroomed
History: The First Wave
Part I: The Promise
Part II: The Crack-Up
Travelogue: Journeying Underground
Trip One: LSD
Trip Two: Psilocybin
Trip Three: 5-MeO-DMT (or, The Toad)
The Neuroscience: Your Brain on Psychedelics
The Trip Treatment: Psychedelics in Psychotherapy
One: Dying
Two: Addiction
Three: Depression
Coda: Going to Meet My Default Mode Network
Epilogue: In Praise of Neural Diversity
About the Author

How to Change Your Mind- What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness
An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
375 Hudson Street
New York, New York 10014

DDC 615.7/883—dc23
LC record available at

Exploring Nonlocal Consciousness and Spiritual Healing

Russell Targ and Jane Katra, Ph.D.

Foreword by Larry Dossey, M.D.

1. Extrasensory perception. 2. Parapsychology. 3. Mind and body. 4. Mental healing. 5. Spiritual healing.

Russell Targ, Jane Katra Miracles of Mind
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 219 p
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 1998, 1999 by Russell Targ
 and Jane Katra, Ph.D.

The Illusion of Separation
There are only two ways to live your life:
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is.
I believe in the latter.
Albert Einstein

This book is about connecting to the universe and to each other through the use of our psychic abilities. These abilities, known collectively as psi, from the Greek word for soul, reveal numerous kinds of connections mind to mind, mind to body, mind to the world, and what some would call one-mindedness with God. The idea that our "separation is an illusion" is not new it has been a core premise of wisdom teachings for centuries, even before the time of Buddha, 2,500 years ago. Our ancient ancestors knew that the essence of our nature is consciousness. Extrasensory perception, or ESP, is one way of experiencing the mystery inherent in this consciousness that connects us across space and time.
Spiritual healing reveals the powerful effects that our consciousness can have in the presence of peaceful receptivity, trust, and loving intentions.

It is not necessary to hold any particular beliefs about spirituality or anything else in order to be psychic. No special rituals are necessary. And, contrary to what some writers or misguided friends might tell you, using psychic abilities is not something reserved for a select few talented individuals; it does not make a person go crazy, nor does it require having a near-death experience. Our experience and laboratory data clearly demonstrate that psychic abilities are part of our inherent nature. Psychic research from the past fifty years shows conclusively that our universe is both far more grand and more subtle than our science can presently explain.

The authors of this book have devoted most of their professional lives synthesizing the ideas presented here. Russell Targ was a pioneer in the development of the laser, and he is presently a senior staff scientist at the Lockheed Martin Research & Development Laboratory, pursuing the peaceful applications of lasers for remote sensing of the wind. He was also a co-founder of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI International) remote-viewing ESP program.
Dr. Jane Katra has been a practicing spiritual healer for more than twenty years, using her gift of mind-to-mind connection to heal and alleviate pain in others, both nearby and at a distance. She is also a university instructor with a doctorate degree in health education, who has taught nutrition and mind-body health both in private practice as an "immune-system coach," and at the University of Oregon.
"Remote viewing" refers to our psychic ability to experience and describe activities at distant places that are blocked from ordinary perception, and it reveals quite clearly the connection that exists between our minds and the universe. It is this same connection, which we call the "nonlocal mind," that we believe to be the means through which spiritual healing takes place. Because the SRI remote-viewing experiments provided such dramatic proof of the existence of nonlocal mind, we describe them in the first part of this book. Some of these experiments, which have only recently been declassified, took place as part of a series conducted by Targ and others as "ESPionage" for the CIA during the
Cold War. There are many states of nonlocal consciousness available to humankind, just as there are a variety of states of awareness within ordinary space-time. For example, right and left hemispheric tasks such as the activity of a dancer compared to an accountant, involve quite different mental states, though both are available in "local" sensory consciousness. Dr. Katra experiences kinesthetic, or physical, sensations and direct knowing in connection with her practice of spiritual healing. Her work is also characterized by an experience of serenity that can be described as universal love. Entering into a receptive, nonthinking, nonsensual state of awareness, which could be called a state of meditation or prayer, enables a spiritual healer to become a vehicle carrying healing information to her patients.

Jane Katra's work as a healer was largely responsible for the collaboration that resulted in this book. That partnership actually began in the winter of 1992, when co-author Russell Targ was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Russell was sickly pale, and he had been losing weight. After two weeks of CAT scans and x-rays that revealed numerous ominous spots on Russell's internal organs, the doctors at his friendly HMO wheeled him out on a gurney cart. They gave him instructions to put his affairs in order, and to begin chemotherapy as soon as possible. Instead, he contacted Jane, whom he had met at Parapsychology Association conferences, and asked her if she would work with him in the dual
roles of spiritual healer and immune system coach.

Acting on her intuition, Jane felt compelled to tell Russell that he was not sick, and that he should not empower that concept by saying he was sick, or that he had cancer. "All we actually know is that there were spots on some film," she said. Russell had received the frightening diagnosis just a few days before Christmas, but the chemotherapy team was fortunately unavailable until after the first of the year. In addition to her spiritual healing, Jane worked with Russell exploring the theory of changing the host so the disease could no longer recognize him. During the ensuing weeks, she wrote out a five-page prescription for Russell's healing treatment, based on research literature and her experiences concerning immune system enhancement. She recommended changes affecting the physical body, as well as changes in attitudes, emotional expression, and social and spiritual connections.

In addition, Jane did many healing meditations with Russell, and taught him to focus his thoughts with self-healing imagery and affirmations. She got him to try many new and unfamiliar behaviors: early morning jogging; expressions of gratitude, such as saying grace at mealtime; and even prayer. Healing experiences that involve union with a universal consciousness do not arise out of any particular beliefs, rituals, or actions, except one: quieting one's mind. These practices were foreign to Russell. Jane also recommended that he get reacquainted with his "community of spirit," which is one of the important aspects of what the health trade calls "social support." Local as well as nonlocal caring connections are important for healing, as well as health.

Russell followed these new behaviors, and he has been well ever since. He never returned to the hospital for medical treatment of cancer and never took any chemotherapy. Ensuing blood tests and x-rays showed no indications of illness.
We will never know if he actually had metastatic cancer, or if it was a misdiagnosis, as some people believe. What we do know is that Jane's interaction with Russell saved him from chemotherapy, which could have killed him, even in the absence of cancer. Jane's part in this spiritual healing can be more fully understood by reading Chapters 7 and 8 about
"The Making of a Healer" and "The Healing Experience."
Physician Larry Dossey has delineated three distinctively different "eras" of medicine, which distinguish the ways we have viewed the relationship of mind and body: physical, psychosomatic, and transpersonal. With our recognition of the nonlocal mind our consciousness that is unconfined by either space or time we have now entered Dossey's third era, which recognizes the importance of mind-to-mind connections for healing. We are just beginning to realize the potential effects of mind both within each person and between people, for information gathering (as in remote viewing), and for information sharing in psychic and spiritual healing. Regarding the effects of our thoughts, physicist
David Bohm says, "A change in meaning is a change in being." 1 In other words, thoughts have effects in the physical world.

Because we still do not fully understand the mechanisms underlying spiritual and psychic healing, many people dismiss the possibility of their effectiveness. However, we believe that different states of nonlocal awareness allow us to access levels of information unavailable through our ordinary senses. We will see this demonstrated by the remote viewing and other psychic data reported later in this book. A mystic might call the healing information "universal love."

The practice of quieting one's mental noise and creating coherence with a patient allows a healer's caring intentions and state of consciousness to become an avenue of this spiritual healing. The healing is available from a distance, whenever a patient is receptive to it. A healer's prayerful state makes available a type of "healing template," which appears to activate a patient's own self-healing capabilities. Thus, we believe a spiritual healer interacts with a distant patient by sending or revealing a healing message, rather than healing "rays." It is actually an information transaction, involving a relationship in which need, helping intentions, and quiet minds are the important elements. Spiritual
healing, when done in the presence of a patient, may also involve the transfer of a little-understood "vital life energy"
from a healer. Such "energy healing'' is postulated to occur during other forms of psychic healing, when the healing practitioner is not distant from the patient.

Psychic and spiritual healing are gaining new credibility in contemporary medical circles as well as governmental agencies. The National Institutes of Health have established an office to investigate alternative medicine, and physicians and hospitals are participating in double-blind clinical trials of spiritual healing. In this book we present the encouraging data from recently published experimental trials with both cardiac and AIDS patients. Such healing research has prompted Larry Dossey, physician, author, and executive editor of the new journal Alternative Therapies
in Health and Medicine, to comment that:
After scrutinizing this body of data for almost two decades, I have come to regard it as one of the best kept secrets in medical science. I'm convinced that the distant, nonlocal effects are real and that healing happens. We begin this book with Russell's autobiographical descriptions of a variety of extrasensory phenomena that point to the existence of mind-to-mind and mind-to-matter connections. We then broaden the evidence by examining the scientific basis provided by some astonishing remote-viewing experiments conducted by Russell at Stanford Research Institute. In these carefully controlled experimental tests spanning two decades, many different subjects sat in a windowless office,
closed their eyes, and explored the world outside. These individuals were consistently able to experience and accurately describe distant scenes and events from coast-to-coast and even continent-to-continent, in both present and future time. The SRI experiments demonstrated unequivocal evidence for extrasensory perception and the existence of the nonlocal mind, outside the brain and body. The ability of human awareness to make remarkable connections
apparently transcends the conventional limitations of time and space.

One of the most astonishing examples of remote viewing that we include in this book is a particular experiment in a series that was covertly funded by the CIA over a period of many years. In this case, a talented subject named Pat Price was given only the latitude and longitude coordinates of what turned out to be a secret Soviet atom bomb laboratory in Semipalatinsk, Siberia. With no other information of any kind to guide him, Price immediately described and sketched the plant with incredible precision. Not only did his drawings show previously unknown external structures that later were confirmed by satellite photography, but he also described, in remarkable detail, a complicated assembly process
being conducted indoors, inside a secure building. The existence of this completely secret process was verified by satellite photography several years later, after Price died, when the structure was moved outside.
This particular example of remote viewing occupies only a few pages in the book, but its importance far transcends the amount of space devoted to it. Price's drawings, which were recently declassified and obtained by Russell under the Freedom of Information Act, have never before appeared in book form. (Although initial support for Russell's work came in 1972 from the CIA; by 1995, a multitude of governmental agencies had joined in, including the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Army, Navy, and NASA, all of whom were stunned and impressed by the results.) Price's amazingly accurate drawings and descriptions, as well as the CIA acceptance of remote viewing as a way of penetrating the Iron Curtain, are a powerful testament to the existence of nonlocal mind.
As further evidence of these capabilities, we describe our personal experiences with high-quality psychic functioning, and Jane's involvement in spiritual healing interactions. We deal with psi inside and outside of the laboratory, as well as healing inside and outside of hospitals, during the past two decades. Physical models for psychic functioning are explored, as are the potential impacts of psychic abilities the mind-to-mind and mind-to-world connections on our society.

Psychic abilities and remote viewing are probes into what Carl Jung called our collective unconscious, and what the authors call our community of spirit. The reason we have a passion for our work with psi is that it allows us, as scientists, to keep one foot firmly in the materialistic twenty-fist century, and at least one toe in the "Divine." The data for our ability to share the feelings and experiences of others who are apparently separated from us show clearly that the Biblical idea of spiritual community can have a contemporary scientific meaning. We believe scientists will not come to a full understanding of the nature of consciousness until they recognize that there is no real separation between the observer and the so-called outside world they think they're observing. It's not an exaggeration, in our
opinion, to say that the reliable laboratory demonstration by worldwide parapsychological researchers of our human connectedness is an accomplishment on a par with the most notable scientific achievements of the twentieth century.

The field of psi research has its critics, of course. Despite irrefutable evidence for the existence of psi, it has been repressed and ridiculed in Western society because its mechanism is not yet understood. Magicians have gained fame and fortune assailing the ostensible spoon bending of Uri Geller. Many scientists who claim to understand nearly all of the phenomena of the physical universe apparently perceive psi to be a threat to their omniscience. Historically, much opposition to psi has been based on fear rather than intellect. Many leaders of organized religions have viewed psi
abilities as a kind of freelance spirituality they could not control.

In this book, we choose not to deal with spoon bending, astrology, or unidentified flying objects. The research we present here has appeared in the world's most prestigious scientific journals: Nature, The Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), The Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Psychological Bulletin of the American Psychological Association (APA).

The work we describe has been scrutinized and accepted in the halls of Congress, and by the House Committee on Intelligence Oversight, as described in Chapter 2. Our own view of psi functioning has been strongly influenced by the work of the distinguished physicist David Bohm, whose holographic model of the universe could be summarized by saying that any event that occurs is immediately available anywhere as information. That is, each portion of space contains information about all others. 

We hope this book will help to overcome fear of our mind-to-mind connections, and inspire people to appreciate, use, and enjoy their natural abilities. Although we know that psi, like any other human ability, is not perfectly reliable, the experimental data discussed here show convincingly that it is widely distributed in the general population. ESP should
no longer be considered elusive. It is available and can be used.

Our psychic and spiritual capacities enable us to explore an important part of our true nature. Accepting and learning to use our nonlocal minds is important because it gives us direct access to the wider world in which we reside. It shows us that our consciousness knows no boundaries. We can each personally contact this expansive dimension of life, which evokes in us a greater sense of what our purpose here might be, and inspires us to reach for our highest potential as conscious beings.

We each create the reality that shapes our perceptions and experiences of everyday life. Daily, we are given the opportunity to decide if there will be psi in our lives. Our mental software, however, may need an upgrade in order to create this remarkable future. Otherwise, we will not be able to run the new programs and be part of what we envision as a Psychic Internet: the mind-to-mind connections available to all who wish to log on. If the truth be known, we are
all already hooked up. We just have to decide to pay attention.

One of our objectives is to help you to do this, by giving you the essential tools to expand your own potential. We do not promise that you will become more "psychic," but we can teach you to become more aware of the psychic aspects of your own mental processes. We can show you how to achieve a nonlocal connection with others, unlimited by space and time, acquired through trust, acceptance, and regular practice. Spiritual healing is one of the most important of these connections.

In this book, we include strong evidence for distant healing of both humans and animals, as well as theories and studies of noncontact, ostensible "energy healing" techniques such as Therapeutic Touch. We report studies of people affecting living systems from a distance, of remote mental-influence research in the former Soviet Union, and provocative accounts of remote diagnosis. All are further demonstrations of the range of our versatile human capabilities. Discussions of the roles of love, prayer, and surrender in spiritual healing; mental techniques used in studies of distant influence; and the differences between psychic and spiritual healing are also included.

In addition, we address the idea of precognition and the nature of time, and ask, "What does it mean to look into the future?" We explore the question of whether psychic abilities are sacred, or a secular expansion of our sensory awareness. Finally, we describe how a single-pointed focus of attention can be applied to helping others through healing. The basis of this spiritual healing resides in an attitude of openness and attunement to a greater universal mind, working through a person with helping intentions, in an environment of trust and surrender of personal ego.

We describe the many ways the magic of mind transcends our ordinary understanding of the space and time we live in. We hope to share our wonder, gratitude, and our experiences with you, and we invite you to join with us in the adventure of examining the relationship between what a physicist might describe as our "holographic quantum interconnectedness," and what a healer calls "God and our mutual community of spirit." Our goal is to open a door to all the riches of experience available in the world of mind-to-mind connections, and provide the tools to enable you to walk through that door.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual and political leader in exile, has written that our strongest tool for achieving peace among nations is education of our shared awareness. He has called upon scientists to assist in educating people of the world concerning our interconnected nature, and the interdependence of life. 4 We hope that this book will further that endeavor. It is partly through learning to quiet our minds that we become peaceful world citizens, and it is also through silencing our thoughts, memories, imagination, and sensations that we become aware of our mind-to-mind connections.

Sir Arthur Eddington (1882 1944) has been described as the most distinguished astrophysicist of his time. His view of the significance of these connections is one with which both the physicist and the healer can agree:
If I were to try to put into words the essential truth revealed by the mystic experience, it would be that our minds are not apart from the world: and the feelings that we have of gladness and melancholy and our other deeper feelings are not of ourselves alone, but are glimpses of reality transcending the narrow limits of our particular consciousness. . .

Table of Contents
by Larry Dossey, M.D. xiii
Acknowledgments xvii
Introduction 1

Chapter One · The Illusion of Separation: 
A Physicist's Description of His Psi Experiences 11
Chapter Two · Our Astonishing Nonlocal Mind: 
CIA Spying at SRI Yields Unequivocal Proof of ESP 27
Chapter Three · What We Have Learned about Remote Viewing: 
How You Can Learn to Do It Yourself 63
Chapter Four · The Masters of the Universe and the Mystery of Psi: 
The Golden Experiments in Psi from This Century 83
Chapter Five · Precognition: Time and Time Again: 
What Does It Mean to Look into the Future 113
Chapter Six · Are Psychic Abilities Sacred?: 
Using Psychic Abilities in the World, Including Spiritual Healing 133
Chapter Seven · The Making of a Healer: Becoming a Healer, 
Cosmic Consciousness, Mystical Experiences 145
Chapter Eight · The Healing Experience:
Mind-to-Mind Connections: Jane's Healing Experiences 171
Chapter Nine · Minding the Body: 
Significant Mind-Body Experiments and Distant Influence 197
Chapter Ten · Ways of Healing: 
Spiritual and Energy Healing, Therapeutic Touch, Diseases 223
Chapter Eleven · Prayer and the Healing Connection: 
Healing Prayer, Love and Surrender, How to Do Spiritual Healing 255
Chapter Twelve · The Physics of Miracles and the Magic of Mind: A Theory of Unity Consciousness and Hope for the Future 273
Chapter Notes 289
Bibliography 307
Index 321

Russell Targ, Jane Katra Miracles of Mind
Cover design by Big Fish
Cover photograph by Photonica
Text layout and design by Aaron Kenedi

First paperback printing, May 1999
ISBN 1-57731-097-7
Printed in Canada on acid-free, recycled paper
Distributed to the trade by Publishers Group West

Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

1. Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic—physiopathology. 2. Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic—therapy.

The Body Keeps the Score- Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
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 2014 by Bessel van der Kolk
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Praise for The Body Keeps the Score
“This book is a tour de force. Its deeply empathic, insightful, and compassionate
perspective promises to further humanize the treatment of trauma victims,
dramatically expand their repertoire of self-regulatory healing practices and
therapeutic options, and also stimulate greater creative thinking and research on
trauma and its effective treatment. The body does keep the score, and Van der
Kolk’s ability to demonstrate this through compelling descriptions of the work of
others, his own pioneering trajectory and experience as the field evolved and
him along with it, and above all, his discovery of ways to work skillfully with
people by bringing mindfulness to the body (as well as to their thoughts and
emotions) through yoga, movement, and theater are a wonderful and welcome
breath of fresh air and possibility in the therapy world.”
—Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor of medicine emeritus, UMass Medical School; author of
Full Catastrophe Living
“This exceptional book will be a classic of modern psychiatric thought. The
impact of overwhelming experience can only be truly understood when many
disparate domains of knowledge, such as neuroscience, developmental
psychopathology, and interpersonal neurobiology are integrated, as this work
uniquely does. There is no other volume in the field of traumatic stress that has
distilled these domains of science with such rich historical and clinical
perspectives, and arrived at such innovative treatment approaches. The clarity of
vision and breadth of wisdom of this unique but highly accessible work is
remarkable. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in
understanding and treating traumatic stress and the scope of its impact on
—Alexander McFarlane AO, MB BS (Hons) MD FRANZCP, director of the Centre
for Traumatic Stress Studies, The University of Adelaide, South Australia.
“This is an amazing accomplishment from the neuroscientist most responsible
for the contemporary revolution in mental health toward the recognition that so
many mental problems are the product of trauma. With the compelling writing of
a good novelist, van der Kolk revisits his fascinating journey of discovery that
has challenged established wisdom in psychiatry. Interspersed with that narrative
are clear and understandable descriptions of the neurobiology of trauma;
explanations of the ineffectiveness of traditional approaches to treating trauma;
and introductions to the approaches that take patients beneath their cognitive
minds to heal the parts of them that remained frozen in the past. All this is
illustrated vividly with dramatic case histories and substantiated with convincing
research. This is a watershed book that will be remembered as tipping the scales
within psychiatry and the culture at large toward the recognition of the toll
traumatic events and our attempts to deny their impact take on us all.”
—Richard Schwartz, originator, Internal Family Systems Therapy
“The Body Keeps the Score is clear, fascinating, hard to put down, and filled with
powerful case histories. Van der Kolk, the eminent impresario of trauma
treatment, who has spent a career bringing together diverse trauma scientists and
clinicians and their ideas, while making his own pivotal contributions, describes
what is arguably the most important series of breakthroughs in mental health in
the last thirty years. We’ve known that psychological trauma fragments the
mind. Here we see not only how psychological trauma also breaks connections
within the brain, but also between mind and body, and learn about the exciting
new approaches that allow people with the severest forms of trauma to put all the
parts back together again.”
—Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself
“In The Body Keeps the Score we share the author’s courageous journey into the
parallel dissociative worlds of trauma victims and the medical and psychological
disciplines that are meant to provide relief. In this compelling book we learn that
as our minds desperately try to leave trauma behind, our bodies keep us trapped
in the past with wordless emotions and feelings. These inner disconnections
cascade into ruptures in social relationships with disastrous effects on marriages,
families, and friendships. Van der Kolk offers hope by describing treatments and
strategies that have successfully helped his patients reconnect their thoughts with
their bodies. We leave this shared journey understanding that only through
fostering self-awareness and gaining an inner sense of safety will we, as a
species, fully experience the richness of life.
—Stephen W. Porges, PhD, professor of psychiatry, University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill; author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of
Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation
“Bessel van der Kolk is unequaled in his ability to synthesize the stunning
developments in the field of psychological trauma over the past few decades.
Thanks in part to his work, psychological trauma—ranging from chronic child
abuse and neglect, to war trauma and natural disasters—is now generally
recognized as a major cause of individual, social, and cultural breakdown. In this
masterfully lucid and engaging tour de force, Van der Kolk takes us—both
specialists and the general public— on his personal journey and shows what he
has learned from his research, from his colleagues and students, and, most
important, from his patients. The Body Keeps the Score is, simply put, brilliant.”
—Onno van der Hart, PhD, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; senior author, The
Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization
“The Body Keeps the Score articulates new and better therapies for toxic stress
based on a deep understanding of the effects of trauma on brain development and
attachment systems. This volume provides a moving summary of what is
currently known about the effects of trauma on individuals and societies, and
introduces the healing potential of both age-old and novel approaches to help
traumatized children and adults fully engage in the present.”
—Jessica Stern, policy consultant on terrorism; author of Denial: A Memoir of Terror
“A book about understanding the impact of trauma by one of the true pioneers in
the field. It is a rare book that integrates cutting edge neuroscience with wisdom
and understanding about the experience and meaning of trauma, for people who
have suffered from it. Like its author, this book is wise and compassionate,
occasionally quite provocative, and always interesting.”
—Glenn N. Saxe, MD, Arnold Simon Professor and chairman, Department of Child
and Adolescent Psychiatry; director, NYU Child Study Center, New York University
School of Medicine.
“A fascinating exploration of a wide range of therapeutic treatments shows
readers how to take charge of the healing process, gain a sense of safety, and find
their way out of the morass of suffering.”
—Francine Shapiro, PhD, originator of EMDR therapy; senior research fellow,
Emeritus Mental Research Institute; author of Getting Past Your Past
“As an attachment researcher I know that infants are psychobiological beings.
They are as much of the body as they are of the brain. Without language or
symbols infants use every one of their biological systems to make meaning of
their self in relation to the world of things and people. Van der Kolk shows that
those very same systems continue to operate at every age, and that traumatic
experiences, especially chronic toxic experience during early development,
produce psychic devastation. With this understanding he provides insight and
guidance for survivors, researchers, and clinicians alike. Bessel van der Kolk
may focus on the body and trauma, but what a mind he must have to have
written this book.”
—Ed Tronick, distinguished professor, University of Massachusetts, Boston; author of
Neurobehavior and Social Emotional Development of Infants and Young Children
“The Body Keeps the Score eloquently articulates how overwhelming
experiences affect the development of brain, mind, and body awareness, all of
which are closely intertwined. The resulting derailments have a profound impact
on the capacity for love and work. This rich integration of clinical case examples
with ground breaking scientific studies provides us with a new understanding of
trauma, which inevitably leads to the exploration of novel therapeutic
approaches that ‘rewire’ the brain, and help traumatized people to reengage in
the present. This book will provide traumatized individuals with a guide to
healing and permanently change how psychologists and psychiatrists think about
trauma and recovery.”
—Ruth A. Lanius, MD, PhD, Harris-Woodman chair in Psyche and Soma, professor
of psychiatry, and director PTSD research at the University of Western Ontario; author
of The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease
“When it comes to understanding the impact of trauma and being able to
continue to grow despite overwhelming life experiences, Bessel van der Kolk
leads the way in his comprehensive knowledge, clinical courage, and creative
strategies to help us heal. The Body Keeps the Score is a cutting-edge offering
for the general reader to comprehend the complex effects of trauma, and a guide
to a wide array of scientifically informed approaches to not only reduce
suffering, but to move beyond mere survival— and to thrive.”
—Daniel J. Siegel, MD, clinical professor, UCLA School of Medicine, author of
Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain; Mindsight: The New
Science of Personal Transformation; and The Developing Mind: How Relationships
and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are
“In this magnificent book, Bessel van der Kolk takes the reader on a captivating
journey that is chock-full of riveting stories of patients and their struggles
interpreted through history, research, and neuroscience made accessible in the
words of a gifted storyteller. We are privy to the author’s own courageous efforts
to understand and treat trauma over the past forty years, the results of which
have broken new ground and challenged the status quo of psychiatry and
psychotherapy. The Body Keeps the Score leaves us with both a profound
appreciation for and a felt sense of the debilitating effects of trauma, along with
hope for the future through fascinating descriptions of novel approaches to
treatment. This outstanding volume is absolutely essential reading not only for
therapists but for all who seek to understand, prevent, or treat the immense
suffering caused by trauma.”
—Pat Ogden PhD, founder/educational director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
Institute; author of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment
“This is masterpiece of powerful understanding and brave heartedness, one of
the most intelligent and helpful works on trauma I have ever read. Dr. Van der
Kolk offer a brilliant synthesis of clinical cases, neuroscience, powerful tools
and caring humanity, offering a whole new level of healing for thtraumas
carried by so many.”
—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

One does not have be a combat soldier, or visit a refugee camp in Syria or the
Congo to encounter trauma. Trauma happens to us, our friends, our
families, and our neighbors. Research by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention has shown that one in five Americans was sexually molested as a
child; one in four was beaten by a parent to the point of a mark being left on
their body; and one in three couples engages in physical violence. A quarter of
us grew up with alcoholic relatives, and one out of eight witnessed their mother
being beaten or hit.1
As human beings we belong to an extremely resilient species. Since time
immemorial we have rebounded from our relentless wars, countless disasters
(both natural and man-made), and the violence and betrayal in our own lives.
But traumatic experiences do leave traces, whether on a large scale (on our
histories and cultures) or close to home, on our families, with dark secrets being
imperceptibly passed down through generations. They also leave traces on our
minds and emotions, on our capacity for joy and intimacy, and even on our
biology and immune systems.
Trauma affects not only those who are directly exposed to it, but also those
around them. Soldiers returning home from combat may frighten their families
with their rages and emotional absence. The wives of men who suffer from
PTSD tend to become depressed, and the children of depressed mothers are at
risk of growing up insecure and anxious. Having been exposed to family
violence as a child often makes it difficult to establish stable, trusting
relationships as an adult.
Trauma, by definition, is unbearable and intolerable. Most rape victims,
combat soldiers, and children who have been molested become so upset when
they think about what they experienced that they try to push it out of their minds,
trying to act as if nothing happened, and move on. It takes tremendous energy to
keep functioning while carrying the memory of terror, and the shame of utter
weakness and vulnerability.
While we all want to move beyond trauma, the part of our brain that is
devoted to ensuring our survival (deep below our rational brain) is not very good
at denial. Long after a traumatic experience is over, it may be reactivated at the
slightest hint of danger and mobilize disturbed brain circuits and secrete massive
amounts of stress hormones. This precipitates unpleasant emotions intense
physical sensations, and impulsive and aggressive actions. These posttraumatic
reactions feel incomprehensible and overwhelming. Feeling out of control,
survivors of trauma often begin to fear that they are damaged to the core and
beyond redemption.
• • •
The first time I remember being drawn to study medicine was at a summer camp
when I was about fourteen years old. My cousin Michael kept me up all night
explaining the intricacies of how kidneys work, how they secrete the body’s
waste materials and then reabsorb the chemicals that keep the system in balance.
I was riveted by his account of the miraculous way the body functions. Later,
during every stage of my medical training, whether I was studying surgery,
cardiology, or pediatrics, it was obvious to me that the key to healing was
understanding how the human organism works. When I began my psychiatry
rotation, however, I was struck by the contrast between the incredible
complexity of the mind and the ways that we human beings are connected and
attached to one another, and how little psychiatrists knew about the origins of the
problems they were treating. Would it be possible one day to know as much
about brains, minds, and love as we do about the other systems that make up our
We are obviously still years from attaining that sort of detailed
understanding, but the birth of three new branches of science has led to an
explosion of knowledge about the effects of psychological trauma, abuse, and
neglect. Those new disciplines are neuroscience, the study of how the brain
supports mental processes; developmental psychopathology, the study of the
impact of adverse experiences on the development of mind and brain; and
interpersonal neurobiology, the study of how our behavior influences the
emotions, biology, and mind-sets of those around us.
Research from these new disciplines has revealed that trauma produces
actual physiological changes, including a recalibration of the brain’s alarm
system, an increase in stress hormone activity, and alterations in the system that
filters relevant information from irrelevant. We now know that trauma
compromises the brain area that communicates the physical, embodied feeling of
being alive. These changes explain why traumatized individuals become
hypervigilant to threat at the expense of spontaneously engaging in their day-today
lives. They also help us understand why traumatized people so often keep
repeating the same problems and have such trouble learning from experience.
We now know that their behaviors are not the result of moral failings or signs of
lack of willpower or bad character—they are caused by actual changes in the
brain. This vast increase in our knowledge about the basic processes that underlie
trauma has also opened up new possibilities to palliate or even reverse the
damage. We can now develop methods and experiences that utilize the brain’s
own natural neuroplasticity to help survivors feel fully alive in the present and
move on with their lives. There are fundamentally three avenues: 1) top down,
by talking, (re-) connecting with others, and allowing ourselves to know and
understand what is going on with us, while processing the memories of the
trauma; 2) by taking medicines that shut down inappropriate alarm reactions, or
by utilizing other technologies that change the way the brain organizes
information, and 3) bottom up: by allowing the body to have experiences that
deeply and viscerally contradict the helplessness, rage, or collapse that result
from trauma. Which one of these is best for any particular survivor is an
empirical question. Most people I have worked with require a combination.
This has been my life’s work. In this effort I have been supported by my
colleagues and students at the Trauma Center, which I founded thirty years ago.
Together we have treated thousands of traumatized children and adults: victims
of child abuse, natural disasters, wars, accidents, and human trafficking; people
who have suffered assaults by intimates and strangers. We have a long tradition
of discussing all our patients in great depth at weekly treatment team meetings
and carefully tracking how well different forms of treatment work for particular
Our principal mission has always been to take care of the children and adults
who have come to us for treatment, but from the very beginning we also have
dedicated ourselves to conducting research to explore the effects of traumatic
stress on different populations and to determine what treatments work for whom.
We have been supported by research grants from the National Institute of Mental
Health, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the
Centers for Disease Control, and a number of private foundations to study the
efficacy of many different forms of treatment, from medications to talking, yoga,
EMDR, theater, and neurofeedback.
The challenge is: How can people gain control over the residues of past
trauma and return to being masters of their own ship? Talking, understanding,
and human connections help, and drugs can dampen hyperactive alarm systems.
But we will also see that the imprints from the past can be transformed by
having physical experiences that directly contradict the helplessness, rage, and
collapse that are part of trauma, and thereby regaining self-mastery. I have no
preferred treatment modality, as no single approach fits everybody, but I practice
all the forms of treatment that I discuss in this book. Each one of them can
produce profound changes, depending on the nature of the particular problem
and the makeup of the individual person.
I wrote this book to serve as both a guide and an invitation—an invitation to
dedicate ourselves to facing the reality of trauma, to explore how best to treat it,
and to commit ourselves, as a society, to using every means we have to prevent

Table of Contents
Praise for The Body Keeps the Score
Title Page

The Body Keeps the Score- Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) LLC
375 Hudson Street
New York, New York 10014

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A Penguin Random House Company First published by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group
(USA) LLC, 2014
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