book hack

What Happened to You?

Oprah Winfrey, Bruce D. Perry

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

What Happened to You? presents a different way of identifying and healing from trauma by asking a different type of question: not 'what's wrong with you?' but 'what's happened to you?'


What Happened to You?

What Happened to You?

by Oprah Winfrey


We've all got automatic reactions to certain things in life, both positive and negative. These reactions are the result of associations that our brains formed early in our lives. Unless we understand this it's tempting to think there's just something wrong with us when we re-experience trauma when really, it stems from what happened to us.

What Happened to You? is a conversation between Oprah Winfrey and neuroscientist and psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry. Perry's extensive work with children has shed light on the ways that childhood trauma not only affects our behaviors and patterns as adults, but changes the very structures in our brains.

Through deeply personal stories of her own childhood neglect, abuse, and trauma, Winfrey opens a pathway for Perry to explain his pioneering insights into the human mind, child psychology, and how we can heal from even the most painful experiences.

Favorite quote

It is almost as if therapy is taking your two-lane dirt road and building a four-lane freeway alongside it. The old road stays, but you don't use it much anymore.

- Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey

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