on the cover

On the Cover of New York: How Bessel van der Kolk Made Trauma a Popular American Diagnosis

Photo: New York Magazine

The July 31–August 13 cover story for New York Magazine is a profile by Danielle Carr on Bessel van der Kolk, the author of the best-selling book The Body Keeps the Score, exploring how he turned an embattled psychiatric theory on the definition of trauma into the dominant way we make sense of our lives in the modern world.

“The rise and ubiquity of the concept of trauma has been striking, as is the prevalence of van der Kolk’s book, and I thought an examination of him and his work might offer an interesting way into how the term/diagnosis came into prominence,” said features editor Joy Shan. “As someone who writes at the intersection of mind science and history and politics, Danielle was uniquely primed to explain that the concept of trauma as something that exists in our bodies was the product of multiple acrimonious scientific controversies and fights and hugely influenced by geopolitical events that continue to this day.”

Elsewhere in the issue, Vox senior correspondent Rebecca Jennings writes on how, after Britney Spears was released from her conservatorship, some of her most ardent fans started questioning whether she was ever freed at all. In addition, Justin Davidson profiles Dan Doctoroff, the hard-driving, fast-moving urban visionary who served as Michael Bloomberg’s deputy mayor and then ran Sidewalk Labs, utterly changing New York City.

New York Mag: How Trauma Became America’s Favorite Diagnosis