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Summary

Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain development and trauma expert Dr Bruce Perry discuss the impact of trauma and adverse experiences and how healing must begin with a shift to asking, 'What happened to you?' rather than 'What’s wrong with you?'

Through wide-ranging and often deeply personal conversation, Oprah Winfrey and Dr Perry explore how what happens to us in early childhood - both good and bad - influences the people we become. They challenge us to shift from focusing on 'What’s wrong with you?' or 'Why are you behaving that way?' to asking, 'What happened to you?' This simple change in perspective can open up a new and hopeful understanding for millions about why we do the things we do and why we are the way we are, providing a road map for repairing relationships, overcoming what seems insurmountable and ultimately living better and more fulfilling lives.

Many of us experience adversity and trauma during childhood that have lasting impact on our physical and emotional health. And as we’re beginning to understand, we are more sensitive to developmental trauma as children than we are as adults. What happened to us in childhood is a powerful predictor of our risk for physical and mental health problems down the road and offers scientific insights in to the patterns of behaviours so many struggle to understand.

A survivor of multiple childhood challenges herself, Oprah Winfrey shares portions of her own harrowing experiences because she understands the vulnerability that comes from facing trauma at a young age. Throughout her career, Oprah has teamed up with Dr Bruce Perry, one of the world’s leading experts on childhood trauma. He has treated thousands of children, youth and adults and has been called on for decades to support individuals and communities following high-profile traumatic events. Now, Oprah joins forces with Dr Perry to marry the power of storytelling with the science and clinical experience to better understand and overcome the effects of trauma.

In conversation throughout the book, the two focus on understanding people, behaviour and ourselves in the context of personal experiences. They remove blame and self-shaming and open up a space for healing and understanding. 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.

Grounded in the latest brain science and brought to life through compelling narratives, this book shines a light on a much-needed path to recovery - showing us our incredible capacity to transform after adversity.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2021 Oprah Winfrey and Dr Bruce Perry (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about What Happened to You?

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Great book

This book is so relevant and on point! It really touched me and gave me clarity. I was hooked instantly! Thank you Oprah Winfrey and Dr Perry. Now I can make peace with my past!

7 people found this helpful

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Literally the best book I had ever read/ Listened to!

This is one of those life changing books, that I recommend everyone should read! I will definitely be listening to this book again soon. There are just too many life changing principles to fully consume full understanding of this book after one listen. The stories were so real, relatable and open. I want to thank both Oprah and Dr Perry for this collaboration, the stories mixed with science give an untapped depth to the understanding of trauma and how it effects our lives. How what happened to your efforts who you are and how you behave! This book also gives advice about healing methods, honestly this book has it all! Everyone can benefit from read/ listening to this book. The audio book is animated with actual inserts of Oprah’s interviews, which only adds to the effect of bringing the stories to life!

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A whole new level of self-awareness

Listening to this remarkable book has brought a whole new level of self-awareness. It is so relatable to what happened to me in childhood and how it has shaped who I am now.

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Very insightful

Loved this book. Be nice to have a follow up book/work book to accompany the findings..

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Fantastic!

A book for all humans. Should also be read by teachers, nurses, carers, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, counsellors, old and young. Expect to cry! I cried a lot! I will read it again and have already gifted it.

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Enlightening

I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book and it connected some dots and gave me plenty of food for thought. However, I think it is all well and good educating people on ways forward and how to interact with traumatised people and types and ways therapy can be used, but for the masses, possibly 99% of people do not have access to this type of knowledge let alone treatment, so as much as I enjoyed this book I think the education is futile. Again, it is an excellent read, I just wish it could reach the other 99%.

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Outstanding

I’m a therapist and have read and taken multiple courses on trauma - this book and audible version are outstanding.
There is also a free downloadable related workbook on Dr Perry’s website if you are interested.

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Excellent

From start to finish I was hooked. It was so interesting to learn about how we carry trauma into our adult lives and no one thinks to ask what happened to you to try and help work this out in order to heal past wounds. 100%recommended. I will definitely listen to this again.

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Superb

What a listen. I resonated with so much of this book. No doubt, I will listen again as it had so much to teach me. Thank you.

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Nothing new here

I love Oprah. Normally her reading is passionate and engaging but this book is a slog. There's no chemistry between the readers. And honestly it doesn't tell you anything that watching a few episodes of the Oprah show wouldn't. I'm going to get a refund

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-06-21

Thank you 🙏🏽

Wow! What an incredible guide and tool for what healing can do for you! Thank you Oprah and Dr Perry for your vulnerability and authenticity! The world needs more of you 🙏🏽

1 person found this helpful

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  • P.T
  • 22-06-21

This should be a set work for every human!

This is both a mirror and a map to healing our hearts! Read it again and again!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-06-21

Audiobook a better option than the actual book.

I expierenced a lot of light bulb moments listening to Oprah and Dr Perry.
Chapter 7 in particular.
I am going to listen to this audiobook often when I am feeling overwhelmed with my trauma recovery

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-06-21

Fav new book!!

I'm definitely going to read this over and over again. Such a beautiful way to convey such important messages, through story and understanding.
I have begun applying some techniques to my horse training to build trust and get to the cortex. Thank you!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-05-21

A must read for every human

This book made me cry so many times, and answerd so many questions for me!


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  • Diane Simpson Page
  • 20-05-21

Life changing

This in one of those books that should be standard reading for all humans. I have read many books on psychology and many on the brain, this brings the 2 together and brings so much clarity to how what happens to us, affects our behaviour. It is read so beautifully and the real life stories are incredibly moving and cement each idea so magically.

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  • Nicci
  • 17-05-21

Life changing book!

This book is read by the authors, Oprah Winfrey and Dr Bruce Perry and it feels like a conversation. Although they touch on some fascinating neuroscience, the content is very accessible and engaging. Little anecdotes bring the underlying theory to life and it was difficult to put down. So many "aha" moments. I will definitely be reading this again. I am just sad I didn't have this as a new parent and teacher. Highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-05-21

Brilliant.

Moving, riveting, filled with startling insights. Buy it. Listen to it. This audio book will save many damaged lives. Wish I could give 20 stars.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-07-21

Amazing book

A book that made me grow both personally and in my profession. Everybody should read it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-07-21

Transformation!!

This book has forever shaped my mind, I can’t wait to think through this more. Thank you for the open and honest dialogue 🤍