Trauma Healing Reading List

Wendell and Wild
For starters, a little something to prime your system. Embedded within this movie are themes of trauma recovery and triumph over systemic oppression. There is a scene towards the end that beautifully illustrates the compassion and space required to integrate one’s trauma, and there are the goofballs Key and Peele– what more do you want from a film?

Reading list for those interested in how our bodies hold trauma:

What Happened to You
by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
This is great to listen to as an audiobook, a conversation between Oprah and Dr. Perry about how trauma acts in the body and what we can do about it. Probably the most accessible and least triggering of the books on this list (except maybe My Grandmother’s Hands) “What happened to you?” is the question they wish we would ask instead of “What’s wrong with you?”

In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness
by Peter A. Levine and Gabor Mate
Peter Levine is the developer of Somatic Experiencing. This is a comprehensive look at the theories behind his work.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
by Bessel van der Kolk
Though this book was not written for the general public, it has clearly struck a chord. Folks with complex PTSD may find this book difficult to get through, but it does help explain a lot of what is going on.

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts
by Resmaa Menakem
This is a wonderful book that takes the Somatic Experiencing lens and points it towards racialized trauma, for people of all races. There are many exercises along the way, I highly recommend actually doing them.