Neurofeedback on Your Bookshelf: Two Great New Books

11/20/2014 08:25 pm ET Updated Jan 20, 2015

The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., is currently at number 12 on the New York Times list of bestselling science books. It discusses the history of trauma treatment and the author's personal evolution within the field. Van der Kolk has been looking for breakthroughs in the treatment of trauma, particularly what he calls "developmental trauma," for his entire career.

A section of this comprehensive five-part book is dedicated to treatment paths for trauma survivors. Among the several paths discussed are yoga and theater. It is in this treatment section that van der Kolk explains neurofeedback and its role in recovery from developmental trauma. He takes the reader on a brief journey from his earliest engagement with EEG, aiding in a sleep laboratory at Boston State Hospital, to his later seminal conversations with colleague Sebern Fisher, another influencer in the small but especially vital field of developmental trauma and neurofeedback.

Ms. Fisher had already begun to see extraordinary changes in her patients and gave van der Kolk the key opportunity to try out the modern equipment she was using and interview three of her patients whose progress exemplified the potential of this then-little-used treatment. Van der Kolk, building on his EEG knowledge from those early sleep studies, understood the tremendous possibility in this far more modern equipment and in the techniques that Fisher was using with her especially vulnerable patients.

Sebern Fisher is author of Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain. For those looking to educate themselves in the fields of trauma and brainwave training, this pair of books serves as a robust guide to what is new in the field as well as the research and the patient stories that bring us to our contemporary understanding of the brain and how it heals itself.

Van der Kolk's new book gives a comprehensive look at the ins and outs of trauma. If you are particularly interested in how the brain learns to organize itself through neurofeedback, you will find Fisher's Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma to be a gem in the field, and the only book of its exact kind.

Developmental trauma itself is an epidemic: From victims of war to victims of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, the imprint of trauma is all over society. These books help a new generation of patients and psychologists fully understand trauma and its effects on the brain and body.