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What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing

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Our earliest experiences shape our lives far down the road, and What Happened to You? provides powerful scientific and emotional insights into the behavioral patterns so many of us struggle to understand.

“Through this lens we can build a renewed sense of personal self-worth and ultimately recalibrate our responses to circumstances, situations, and relationships. It is, in other words, the key to reshaping our very lives.”—Oprah Winfrey

This book is going to change the way you see your life.

Have you ever wondered "Why did I do that?" or "Why can't I just control my behavior?" Others may judge our reactions and think, "What's wrong with that person?" When questioning our emotions, it's easy to place the blame on ourselves; holding ourselves and those around us to an impossible standard. It's time we started asking a different question.

Through deeply personal conversations, Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry offer a groundbreaking and profound shift from asking “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”

Here, Winfrey shares stories from her own past, understanding through experience the vulnerability that comes from facing trauma and adversity at a young age. In conversation throughout the book, she and Dr. Perry focus on understanding people, behavior, and ourselves. It’s a subtle but profound shift in our approach to trauma, and it’s one that allows us to understand our pasts in order to clear a path to our future—opening the door to resilience and healing in a proven, powerful way.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published April 27, 2021

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About the author

Bruce D. Perry

24 books1,139 followers
Bruce D. Perry is an American psychiatrist, currently the senior fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas and an adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,652 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,848 followers
January 2, 2022
Possibly one of the best DIY self help, brain fix, auto mind penetration for better, more massive mental reconstruction, books ever written

Combining the scientific with the personal emotional to better understand the reasons
Other authors might have just focused on the theoretical, neurochemical, brain architecture, epigenetic traits, etc. way, the just psychiatric psychological foundations, or on personal, emotional examples, but by combining the science and knowledge offered by Perry with the wisdom and real life experiences of Oprah, the book reaches new levels of accessibility to help readers find out how broken they really are. And accepting and understanding what caused years and decades of self doubt, fragility, and mental problems is the key to the solution in the form of a fresh, better, and more stable self.

The medical, neurological part of PTSD and trauma manifested and shown with real life examples that might be disturbing and too much for some readers
The above mentioned balance stays perfect throughout the whole book, Perry delivers the understandable, broken down science which is spiced and exponentiated by Opray, who is not getting weaker by opening herself up to what happened to her, but stronger by accepting, forgiving, and thereby creating a positive, better, and healthier self. That´s another key element, not believing that one is this body, emotion, diagnosis, or mind, but that´s it´s just the current, changeable state one can form to whatever kingdom or hell one wants to live in. Including another extremely challenging part, not forgiving, but accepting the perpetrators and the impact they had without triggering flashbacks.

The baby makes the child makes the teen makes the adult brain and identity.
Understanding that one can get out of her/his skin, break the doom loop, escape the self made mental torture chamber, can just be achieved by reflecting on how the present state of mind has been reached, what made one the person one is. Desillusion of self and ego, something close to enlightenment, might be an a bit too big, unrealistic option for beginners, but the central, most important key element on the way is the same. Accepting that one doesn´t have to be the person, described by adjectives, mindsets, or mainstream psychological traits, one was made and used to be, because change is possible. And just that milestone leads to

Healing and an end of suffering
Just by understanding and realizing how miserable one really is, the step towards finally growing scars, on wounds festering for years, can be done. Gratitude, exercise, mindfulness, meditation, Buddhism, perseverance, and discipline are necessary to reach this extremely tricky goal. Social nets and family can help, but the most essential part is to transform and metamorphize from helpless victim or mentally sick and unstable patient who suffers, takes pills, goes to therapy for years, and never dares to dig down to the core of the problems and confront oneself with them, to someone developing auto self repair functions and resilience.

Don´t fight or flight, meditate and find inner peace
The key problem, I found in close to all similar works, is to never understand that an untrained monkey mind is an accelerating self destruction train that is getting more and more momentum by changing neural passways, by deepening all problems by conditioning the personality to more fear, fright, avoiding behavior, and mental problems. While awake, the demons, memories, and injuries keep popping up as they wish to, old associations are mixed with the current life and one doesn´t even want to know what happens while sleeping. Of course, perfected mind control and years of practice are a damned hard challenge, but without that tricky psychological workout, one ends with a different, weaker, far less armored, and save brain and mind.

Personal drivel
What motivates me to reach these therapy, Buddhism, meditation nonfiction works is mostly an egoistic wish to pimp my mind to perfection, because I have the extreme luck of not having real traumatic problems, just the usual WEIRD first world problems with childhood, parents, family, the usual ridiculous stuff when compared to people who suffered real, long time mental, physical, and sexual abuse. Those might find one of the most successful ways to deal with their issues, to find a better way back to a normal life. Because the more I understand how severely my minor mini traumas influence who I was, am, and will be, the more respect I have for people who find ways out of the abysses of things done to them, so terrible that close to all average people wouldn´t find a way back out of the screaming nightmares haunting them.

Other great, similar books that are dealing with improving ones´ psychic bodys´ defences:


More to find in my 0 mental strength shelve.

A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books:
Profile Image for Warda.
1,207 reviews19.7k followers
November 15, 2021
This was such a much needed read.

I’ve always been of the opinion that your beginnings, your childhood, your what-happened-to-you moments shape your being. Your past shapes your present, your wounds can translate into something you don’t even recognise started with some form of trauma.

The audiobook was great. It felt like I was listening to a podcast. There are case studies presented alongside the science of the mind and how the two intertwine. The science never felt too much. It was easy enough to follow and understand.

This allowed me to reflect a lot. Truth be told, it’s something I’m always thinking about.
Healing from trauma is a lifelong journey and I think my biggest takeaway from this book is that it’s never too late, it’s definitely possible and the brain is malleable. It allows you to look at your difficulties, your circumstance with grace and compassion, as well as those of others. And that your chances of healing are better with a loving support system. Whether that it is with your own family or your own found family.

A random tidbit: annoying to know that us weak humans are social creatures and need people/community to really survive and have a healthy mental well-being. That’s my plan to live like a hermit out the window.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews596 followers
May 5, 2021
read by Bruce D. Perry and
Oprah Winfrey
…..8 hours and 27 minutes

“Biologically speaking….
continuous trauma can weaken remaining neutral pathways to the thinking part of the brain and strengthen neutral pathways to the survival part, thus bypassing the thinking part, which makes some children less capable of coping with adversity as they grow up”.

The terrific duo conversational styling, was enhanced in the audiobook format.

“What Happened To You?”
rather than “what’s wrong with you?”
uncovers interesting scientific findings that directly corresponds to emotional, psychological, or physical trauma.

Genuinely eye-opening—
….new understandings about feelings, PTSD, vibration of love, etc.
….revolutionary aspects are discussed- and it makes perfect sense.
….healing possibilities are possible — no matter what the past traumatic situation was.

Clearly we are not done learning about mental health.

Well researched —a terrific addition to the great books that address worthiness, shame, vulnerability, early childhood trauma and the effects on the brain throughout a persons life…
…on self-awareness, continued education and guidelines for living wholeheartedly from a peaceful inner world of worthiness.

Interesting stories balanced with Scientific Findings.

All proceeds from this book are donated to the Boys and Girls Club Mississippi.
Profile Image for Desiree.
584 reviews
May 4, 2021
Not all that impressed with this one, Oprah. Unless you are very interested in child development/psychology, not sure this is worth the time. Additionally, I don't agree that trauma can only encompass severe situations (e.g., sexual abuse, child abuse). I personally have a broader definition, and this book didn't include relevant information from that perspective. There also wasn't much about how to heal the trauma, especially as an adult. I do, however, like the idea of reframing the question to what happened to you, rather than what's wrong with you, and relieving some of the victim aspect while not dissolving accountability.
Profile Image for Schizanthus Nerd.
1,184 reviews247 followers
April 12, 2021
As you move through the experiences of your past, know that no matter what happened, your being here, vibrant and alive, makes you worthy.
You alone are enough.
Sometimes a book will come into your life at exactly the right time. Traumas, both from childhood and more recent times, have been making themselves known to me with an urgency I haven’t experienced before, at a time that seems more inconvenient than pretty much any other time in my life. Although I’d love to push it all to the side, with a ‘Not now! Can’t you see I’m busy reading?’, there’s also a knowing that there’s never going to be a good time and that maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason it’s all coming up for me now.

So, here I am, trying to figure out what healing will look like for me and having conversations with people who are seeing my resilience from the outside in vastly different ways than I’m perceiving it from the inside. Then this book, which covers the trifecta of what my brain has decided is my priority right now (trauma, resilience and healing), makes its way into my world.

The shift from asking ‘what’s wrong with you?’ to ‘what happened to you?’ is something I’ve yearned to hear for most of my life. Western society is so fixed on labels, which I know have their place and can be useful, but all too often pasting a diagnosis (or multiple diagnoses) on someone marginalises them more than it helps them. If we don’t get to the core of why a person behaves the way they do then we’re really missing the point, and the opportunity to best support them.
All of us want to know that what we do, what we say and who we are, matters.
Dr. Perry’s work in understanding how the brain’s development is impacted by early trauma helps explain why we behave the way we do, for example, why some people lash out in anger and others withdraw into themselves.

There’s science in this book but it was explained in a way that made sense to me, someone who hasn’t formally studied science since high school. Even if you don’t understand a concept the first time it’s mentioned it’s okay as it will be referred to in later conversations. If words like ‘brainstem’, ‘diencephalon’, ‘limbic’ and ‘cortex’ make you want to disengage, I’d encourage you to hold on because how the science relates to someone’s life will be explained. This, in turn, will make it easier to apply what’s being said to your own life. You’ll read about people Dr. Perry has worked with, people Oprah has interviewed and about Oprah’s own experiences.

Knowledge truly is powerful and simply having an understanding of why a smell or sound (‘evocative cues’) can cause people with PTSD to have flashbacks, making them feel as though they’re right back in that moment, feels like half the battle. If you’re not caught up in judging yourself for your brain responding the way that it does, then it frees up so much energy that you can use to regulate yourself.

I learned about how our view of the world becomes a “self-fulfilling prophecy”, why self harm makes so much sense to the people who do it (even though it baffles the people who don’t), the importance of rhythm in regulation, how vital connections with other people are to healing and why I need to learn more about neuroplasticity.

I gained a much better understanding of flock, freeze, flight and fight. Dissociation, which I thought I knew all about from personal experience, make much more sense to me now, as does why I find reading so helpful in my everyday life.

I love facts and there were some that really put what I was reading into context for me.
During the first nine months, fetal brain development is explosive, at times reaching a rate of 20,000 new neurons ‘born’ per second. In comparison, an adult may, on a good day, create 700.
This book isn’t about blaming anyone for your trauma and it’s not giving you an excuse for bad behaviour. It does explain why you react the way you do and can help silence the voice inside you that tells you there’s something wrong with you because of it - your reaction is reasonable given your history but there is also hope; you can heal.

I would recommend this book to so many people. Before I’d even begun reading I’d recommended it to my GP and would not hesitate in recommending it to anyone who works in a profession that brings them into contact with young children and their families or trauma survivors.
To this day, the role that trauma and developmental adversity play in mental and physical health remains under appreciated.
I would recommend it to trauma survivors, although with a few caveats: that they stay safe while reading (some of the content is bound to be triggering), read at their own pace and make good use of their support system as needed. Loved ones of trauma survivors will find explanations for why their friend or family member behaves the way that they do and ways they can help.

I’m not someone who usually listens to audiobooks but if there’s a book that would be more suited for that format than this one, a series of conversations between Dr. Perry and Oprah, I can’t think of it. Of course, having grown up with Oprah, I heard everything she said in her voice as I read anyway but I’m definitely planning to reread via audiobook.
It takes courage to confront your actions, peel back the layers of trauma in our lives and expose the raw truth of what happened.
But, this is where healing begins.
Content warnings include mention of .

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Bluebird, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, for the opportunity to read this book.

Blog - https://schizanthusnerd.com
Profile Image for Holly.
1,449 reviews1,087 followers
February 16, 2022
This book has something for everyone and I highly recommend it! First of all let me say - you absolutely should go with the audiobook for this one. Oprah narrates it along with Dr. Perry and it's almost like listening to a really interesting podcast. There is science and information provided, but it's always tied to real life examples and experiences that keeps you interested while also helping you better understand the concepts being discussed. I personally don't have any specific trauma (that I can recall anyways) to work through but I still found this book to be really helpful, and not in a corny "self-help book" kind of way. I think everyone could benefit from reading this, and here are just some examples:

- Are you a fan of Oprah? You can learn about her own traumatic childhood experiences and how she is also working to help support traumatized students in the girls' school she created. The epilogue concerning her mother made me cry and I am not a crier.
- Are you a parent? You can learn why your child literally can't process your instructions when they are not in a regulated state of mind and how your own regulation (or lack thereof) might be impacting your interactions with your child.
- Have you had a traumatic experience, no matter how big or small? You can learn how it might be impacting you in ways you aren't even aware of!
- Have you wondered why some people (maybe even yourself or someone you love) have patterns of self destructive behavior such as cutting, actively pushing away supportive relationships, and using social media to seek self-affirmation? All of these things are discussed and explained!
- Are you interested in more 'natural' healing? Learn how indigenous groups have successfully healed trauma and issues of regulation without 'therapy'.
- Are you a teacher or someone who works with children? You can learn how and why problematic child behaviors can be tied to trauma, why trauma that occurs in earlier ages lasts longer, and how prioritizing resolving issues with regulation first can improve all other facets in a child's life including their ability to learn.
- Do you or someone you know suffer from PTSD? You can learn why your brain reacts in certain ways before you can even process thoughts about a triggering situation.

I really can't recommend this book enough - go get this audiobook! You won't regret it.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,718 followers
June 6, 2021
This was a very meaningful and thought-provoking book. I listened to this on audio, which was an enjoyable conversation between the great Oprah Winfrey and her longtime collaborator Dr. Perry, a neuroscientist and child psychologist who specializes in trauma and how it affects the brain.

The discussions of the brain were well-done and made it easier for a layperson like me to understand. And I appreciated the wide variety of stories Oprah and Perry shared that illustrated the impact trauma can have on a person.

I liked this book so much I already bought multiple copies to share. Highly recommended for those interested in psychology.
Profile Image for Sonal Apte.
127 reviews5 followers
May 7, 2021
This should absolutely be required reading for everyone. Why? Because it explains how we don't really know anyone until we know what happened to them. And from that perspective, it gives educators, parents, and really everybody who interacts with humans a new perspective on why we as humans act the way we do.

It's easily the best non-clinical book on trauma I've ever read. Definite must read.
Profile Image for Jess.
197 reviews5 followers
May 12, 2021
I wanted to like this book a lot, but it just didn’t hit for me. The idea is important - ask about what happened to you rather than what is “wrong” with you. However, the vast majority of the book focuses on infant and early childhood experiences and barely touches on trauma that happens in young adult or adulthood. I came away feeling like this book was more about parenting than about healing from trauma. The best parts were about Oprah’s own life and childhood; those sections were emotionally impactful.
Profile Image for Rachel Hanes.
523 reviews273 followers
February 17, 2023
This is probably a book that everyone should sit down with. I know what happened to me, and with age comes wisdom. But looking back many, many years ago- I didn’t know why I acted the way I did. Why I was so naive, gullible, and such a people pleaser? As I grew older, I started to figure things out (the hard way-as I never had any type of teacher or support system), and I’ve learned to do better. Like Maya Angelou says, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”. But on to the book…

Dr. Bruce Perry is an empathetic genius! He doesn’t judge people without first learning their background and how they were brought up (he still isn’t judging them, just finding out what happened to them). Both Dr. Perry and Oprah Winfrey give great stories about their lives and the lives of others in this book. We learn instead of looking at someone and wondering (or asking) “What’s wrong with you?”, we need to ask “What happened to you?”

For instance, as Dr. Perry describes, we can look at a big, beautiful home that is immaculately decorated and furnished. We may think it’s one of the nicest, sturdiest, houses around just basing it on what we see. However, if the wiring and plumbing inside the walls are faulty- which we can’t see, then the house isn’t going to be as wonderful as we thought. This same method applies to a person- just because someone appears to be fine on the outside, we have no idea what traumas are being stored on the inside. We need to always remember this, especially when dealing with someone (or multiple people) who seem to be problematic.

Oprah also had many heartbreaking and heart rendering stories to tell throughout this book. Oprah also talks a lot about healing and said, “Very often, “what happened” takes years to reveal itself. It takes courage to confront our actions, peel back the layers of trauma in our lives, and expose the raw truth of our past. But this is where healing begins”.

Yes, I learned quite a bit from this book. The chapters and information were very eye opening. The only reason I gave four stars instead of five stars was because towards the end, this book did start to feel too much like a textbook. I enjoyed reading about the personal stories more than the anatomy of the brain. However, the anatomy of the brain is important in learning how and why our traumas are stored.

I do recommend reading this book. In fact, I think it’s a must read for everyone. We all need to learn how to connect, communicate, and understand one another.
Profile Image for Jen.
36 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2021
I wanted to like this book and I did like the theme that pulsed throughout. However, I had some issues with the mixed messages such as "if you didn't know love as a child, you can never love", then later on saying everyone can heal. Also, many times throughout the book there was some negative generalizations and pre-judging of single parents, which I found highly inappropriate. (There are some single parents who are rocking it and some two-parent homes that are not.). Finally, confirmation bias was prevalent throughout, as the book seemed riddled with sensational, cherry picked stories used to illustrate the point.
Profile Image for Nina.
267 reviews98 followers
May 17, 2022
Imagine you experience trauma. As a result, you will have physical and mental reactions that your body uses to help you get out of the situation. Sometimes this is useful, in many cases it causes new problems. Winfrey and Perry discuss this, giving examples, adding biographical context and explaining the neurological reasons for what is happening. This is not only about trauma resulting from sexual abuse, though there are many references to that as well. Instead, you’ll find examples from situations like kidnapping, shooting, murder, and more.

Some of these passages could at times appear a little too long, which happens because Perry, an expert on trauma, gives so detailed examples and explanations. However, what he says is necessary to create the complete picture, and I think this book is one that takes time anyway, so I didn't really mind. There are many references to heartbreaking and serious situations which are used to explain the reasons for how and why people react in certain ways.
All in all this was a great book, and the authors manage to tell about rather complex issues in an understandable way.
5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lindsay Nixon.
Author 22 books719 followers
May 12, 2021
Yowza. This was just too boring and scattered

I’ve read several books on trauma, PTSD, how the body keeps score, and so very little was new to me and how it was presented was inferior to previous explanations.

I also found it lacking in enough varied examples or actionable suggestions. Switching between the doctor “explaining” and Oprah coming in (it came across as interruptive) with her experience made me think it would have been better to turn this into a memoir with professional analysis ... maybe.

It isn’t a helpful manual in my experience.

Summary: this book didn’t work for me but I appreciate any books written in the mental health space especially by beloved celebs.

Profile Image for Ana  Lelis.
459 reviews157 followers
April 17, 2023
The more I read about the brain, experiences, and traumas, the more I realize that everything we do has a reason behind it and most of the time we don't even know why. I've been trying to understand people and their behaviors, trying to judge less and be more empathic. It's not an easy thing, but very important. This book was great, the balance between Oprah and Dr. Bruce was on point.
Profile Image for Brittany.
189 reviews10 followers
May 7, 2021
Man, I really loved this book. It was an incredibly fascinating tour through the way the MIND processes trauma. There was a quote, "we prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty", that stuck with me when he said it. He also points out that in trauma, we are not "resilient". We don't bounce back unchanged. We are forever changed. And we have to work hard to readjust and change the lens which has been altered during the traumatic event. We're malleable. Not resilient. I appreciated that. Abuse of any sort changes you. Period. You NEVER see things the same way you did prior. It's learning to change that lens again afterward that is the process of healing.

I loved this book a lot. It was a really great listen as I'm on my own journey and I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Mary.
947 reviews16 followers
June 10, 2021
If I could give this a negative rating and tell everyone NOT to read it, I would.
Before I picked up a copy of this, I read reviews and it was presented as if it were a selection of stories from actual trauma survivors. Instead we have a very scientifically worded, very LONG, interview between Oprah and Dr. Perry about the topic and trauma and how they believe it affects others. I found it plodding and dull, presenting no actual new information, and only a small handful of survivors' stories were actually shared, and then only briefly.
I closed the book when I read how Dr. Perry treated one such trauma survivor as a guinea pig in an experiment -- an experiment the patient could NOT consent to because he was a 12 year old boy in a coma thanks to his foster family's neglect and abuse. As a survivor of trauma myself, I found that utterly VILE and unethical. This "doctor" should be ashamed of himself.
Profile Image for Morgan Blackledge.
621 reviews2,032 followers
May 14, 2023

WITHOUT hesitation.

My FAAAAVORITE book of 2023.

Even though it was published in 2021.

But anyway.

Words fail.

This thing is SO well done.

I’m agog.

I’m breathless.

I feel hopeful.

I feel inspired.

I feel good.


Oprah and Dr. Perry have managed to take this extremely complicated, and difficult, and painful, and stigmatized issue and communicate it in perfectly clear, totally accessible and completely relatable language, with BIG heart, and BIG soul, and without insulting the intelligence of the reader.



So FUH KANG good.

I’m a therapist.

I will recommend this to book clients (and friends and whoever) for the foreseeable future.

It’s my new goto.

The BIG message is simple.

The current medical model of mental health asks “what’s wrong with you” when we really should be asking “what happened to you”.

This simple reorientation towards conceptualizing mental health challenges in terms of personal, trans-generational, and sociocultural trauma/neglect, and away from relating to mental health challenges as symptom clusters and discrete disease entities is so important. So needed. And so right on.


Words fail.

This is the paradigm shift that mental healthcare workers (and many many others) have been hoping for, and working towards, and knowing in our hearts, but assuming would never come to pass, at least not anytime soon.

Oprah and Dr. Bruce Perry have managed to produce a near perfect piece of popular psycho-education. It normalizes without pandering. It speaks plainly without distorting the science. It testifies without preaching. And it is heartfelt and relatable without bypassing divisive and painful social and political issues like racism, patriarchy and homophobia.

I’m very familiar with the science and clinical practices presented in the book. As I am currently writing a doctoral dissertation on trauma and addiction, and it is my area of clinical specialty. As such, I can verify the integrity and veracity of the technical and statistical arguments.

The science is current and sound as a pound.

Great book.

A huge achievement.


5/5 stars ⭐️


I listened to the audio book.

It was clearly meant to be consumed in that medium.

Oprah and Dr. Perry narrate as if it were an interview.

I have no idea how well it translates to written from.
Profile Image for Alex Anderson.
178 reviews6 followers
May 5, 2021
This should be a required book for everyone.
Profile Image for Nina (ninjasbooks).
952 reviews374 followers
January 30, 2023
This book was a real gem. The two authors managed to easily explain concepts and theory in a way that made them clear. I can’t say I really have understood the theories so throughly before. The cases fit perfectly and made it an engaging read, and made the concepts even easier to grasp. Can’t recommend this book enough.
Profile Image for Rachel.
546 reviews3 followers
May 3, 2021
What if we asked “what happened to you?” Instead of “what’s wrong with you?”? What if we heal the generational trauma instead of passing it on to the next generation?

This book fabulous! It gave me lots to think about and reminded me to have more grace for myself and others, we are all fighting deep wounds.
Profile Image for Grace.
557 reviews11 followers
January 15, 2023
“Our world is filled with so many kind, capable, and creative people. We are a curious species. We will continue to discover, invent, and learn. We can make our world a safer, more just, and humane place for all.”
What a wonderful closing quote. Oh, the empathy expressed in this book! The kindness! The (moderately) scientific explanations for observed psychological or physiological phenomena!! This was just well done, all around.
Super recommend to anyone going through or considering therapy.
Profile Image for Vinay Sutaria.
Author 3 books18 followers
May 25, 2021
I didn't find the ideas presented in this book very novel. This could partially be due to my bias, or the fact that the knowledge presented in this book is easily found elsewhere. I think the subtitle of the book can be changed to 'Conversations on Childhood Trauma, Resilience and Healing'.
The majority of the content is linked to early childhood and is suited towards understanding the reasons behind trauma as opposed to practical solutions (which I thought I would discover).

All in all, Dr. Bruce Perry is very well-experienced and that is clear from the conversations he has in this book with Oprah. But you can save your money buying this book and just watch the YouTube interviews.
Profile Image for Joyce.
63 reviews3 followers
May 3, 2021
This was one of the best non-clinical books about trauma that I have ever experienced. I listened to the audio and would strongly recommend this format.
Profile Image for sunny (ethel cain’s version).
386 reviews127 followers
January 9, 2023
“What happened to you..can be your power.”

I realized that my favorite parts of this book were everything having to do with Oprah. She sang to us and she told us about a very intimate moment right before her mother’s death. Her words and stories are very powerful and moving to me.

Now Bruce on the other hand, is another white cis man moving in mainly circles of women and children and non-binary folks who have experienced deep trauma worldwide. Thankfully he actually is a psychiatrist, but I didn’t agree with everything he said.

“You can’t give what you don’t have” is a lie because I know mothers who have used their own hands to make things out of thin air for their own child. Maybe this is true in the realm of white straight cis men. We have seen it time and time again but here he is confirming it to the masses.

Regardless, this book for me personally was 5 stars because of how I felt while reading it and my personal experience.

Please please PLEASE! Listen to the audiobook! I beg of you! You won’t be sorry🖤🤟🏻
Profile Image for Whitney Campbell.
343 reviews10 followers
April 29, 2021
This is the kind of stuff I read on my day off from doing trauma work. I thought this was an excellent book on trauma and trauma informed care that is accessible to anyone wanting to learn more about trauma work. This was also great to read as someone feeling some intense compassion fatigue these days. It is always a great to have a refresher to help me reframe and refocus my work so that compassion fatigue doesn’t just completely wipe me out. I would recommend this to lay people and even other therapists that need to shift focus work.
June 14, 2021
A healing journey like no other...

For some strange reason I felt peace while going through the pages of this book. As though I was revisiting past traumatic experiences not as a victim but as a student. I felt like I was standing outside myself and studying how past traumas have shaped my thinking and behavior. Understanding that the brain makes memories and associations based on past experiences is so enlightening and liberating at the same time. Even more liberating is the understanding that with intentionality we can retrain the brain and build new associations. Reading this book felt like being given a gift of wisdom. There were a lot of aha moments for me... I expected to be sad while reading it. But on the contrary I received the power to live from a place of enlightenment. The whole reading session felt like a spiritual encounter. #Itstimetoheal
Profile Image for DeB.
999 reviews252 followers
October 20, 2021
I appreciated the amalgamation of many theories on behaviour, trauma, PTSD coordinated with the latest neuroscience. Much to consider- I did some personal reflection.

Oprah’s voice is strongly represented with her personal story and experience; whether that is a negative or positive will depend on the reader.

For the average person, certainly worth reading and considering “what happened to you?” versus “what’s wrong with you?”, or assigning blame to anyone - thinking about empathy.

The phrase “post-traumatic wisdom” was new to me- from Dr. Bruce Perry. Understanding how the brain works from trauma, the path of stress and the process of living with the scars provides insight.

Much is subject matter available in many places, or has been presented at other times elsewhere but this summary is worthy of contemplation.
Profile Image for India M. Clamp.
223 reviews
June 15, 2023
This gives much credit to talk therapy and the resolution of inner trauma that may manifest into physical symptoms and our reality. This collaborative look at brain trauma and how we may bring to the surface the effects that haunt many for a lifetime. Perry is a child psychiatrist who buddies up with Oprah Winfrey to look deeply into what happens as a result of an abusive and traumatic childhood.

Medical paradigms are used. Perry and Winfrey’s show us how (via experience and academic studies) the brain’s resilience and ability to adapt to traumatic situations is effective when combined with natural interventions, and behavioral treatments works. Though some cases require pharmaceutical assistance. This process of neural recalibration helps in case of deeply embedded abuse helping patients to live well with a newly invigorated self-worth.

"We elicit from the world what we project into the world; but what you project is based on what happened to you as a child."
---Dr. Bruce D. Perry MD, PhD

Darkness is shared by Winfrey with her memories of a childhood where being whipped from the age 3 as it was an “accepted practice." Her family expected silence post this trauma and for her to put a smile on her face. Winfrey reflects on her difficult relationship with her mom---which culminates in a somber scene in a nursing home when Winfrey froze at her mother’s bedside (without a voice). Dr. Perry and Oprah demonstrate how recovery is possible---the reward is a renewed mind and spirit. Mental trauma may be exorcised.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Michelle Jarc.
779 reviews
May 29, 2021
One of the best books I have read about trauma. Just exceptional. I replayed so many parts of this audiobook to listen to again, to reflect, and to take notes. I ordered the book so that I can have my own copy. Teachers, parents, anyone who works with children - this is a must read. Here are just a few quotes that made the most impact on me....
1) "The past is not an excuse but an explanation.....this is where healing begins".
2) "It takes a long time to change people and an even longer time to change systems".
3)"There is a toxic mismatch between a child's capabilities and the unrealistic expectations of an educational system that is under resourced, developmentally uniformed, and trauma ignorant".
4) "Disconnection is disease....we are raising youth in a society where there is loss of community, social isolation, relationship impoverished, and sensory overloaded.....there is constant bombardment of social novelty and lack of reciprocal relationships. "

Profile Image for Renata.
439 reviews280 followers
June 24, 2022
I would love to read a book about trauma or healing from another point of view that's not from rich, privileged people but sadly it's not the case. I did loved the concept of why we need to change what's wrong with you for what happened to you, that's a really indepth question and it touches home, but other than that this was a waste of time and reaaaaally boring.
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