‘Support through connection’ for survivors: “Learning to feel safe ‘enough’ with another person, or within a group, can be an important part of a survivor’s journey. For many survivors it can be hard to identify a person with whom you do feel safe. #Justice4Australia 1/47
It can be hard to begin to trust them. It is important to try and identify your safe person or people. The following are possible people or groups who can provide you with support: Family; Friends, neighbours or work colleagues; 2/47
Peer groups: like a local drop-in centre, support group or sports club; Counsellor or therapist, case worker, support worker, GP or other professional; Therapeutic groups; Groups with activities you enjoy e.g. sport, hobbies, music, singing, dancing; 3/47
Different processes survivors have found helpful - Yoga, meditation, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Emotion-Focussed Therapy (EFT) neurofeedback etc. 4/47
Blue Knot National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma: Call 1300 657 380 between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Sunday AEST/AEDT.
For people who require referrals to trauma-informed health professionals and information and education around trauma impacts and recovery. 5/47
You can also email helpline@blueknot.org.au; Our counsellors are here to listen and support you; Everyone’s experience of trauma is different; Everyone has different needs; Our counsellors focus on your needs when you call 6/47
Our specialist trauma counsellors provide:
•Short-term counselling support
•Referrals for ongoing support
•Support with redress applications 7/47
We support adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse, parents, partners, family, friends as well as professionals who work with them. If you are distressed, in crisis or immediately need support: Lifeline on 13 11 14. Call 000 (Emergency Services) if life is in danger. 8/47
Testimonials: "Anyone experiencing trauma, this helpline is the exact comfort you need. After abuse and trauma it’s normal to be confused w/ what we are needing, This helpline allows a safe place for you to explore what you're needing and to have it met." - Anonymous, 2018 9/47
"I want to let you know how important you are. How much you have meant to me to have someone to talk to about my wife’s child hood trauma. I know it didn’t happen to me, but the information that was given to me from the first phone call has been lifesaving." - Jake, 2018 10/47
In times of crisis: Survivors of child abuse and childhood trauma can feel intense emotional pain. This can cause some survivors to self-harm or have suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know is suicidal, the following suggestions can guide you to support and help. 11/47
If you feel suicidal: If you feel suicidal or unsafe contact LIFELINE on 1311114 or Suicide Call Back Service on 130069467 (also have online chat) to get help immediately. Try to find someone to be with you if possible. Call a friend, family member or neighbour you trust 12/47
to support you and to help get assistance. If you are having suicidal thoughts but are not in immediate danger, tell your doctor, counsellor or other health professional as soon as you can so they can help you prepare an action plan to keep you safe. 13/47
If someone else is suicidal: If you believe that someone else is in danger of completing suicide call 000 for either the ambulance or the police.  Stay calm, explain the situation, give the address and directions while comfort and protect the person who is in danger. 14/47
Remember whenever anyone talks, writes or hints about suicide, take them seriously, listen and find professional help. Individuals who have attempted suicide in the past are at serious risk of attempting suicide again in the future. 15/47
You can also contact LIFELINE on 131114 or Suicide Call Back Service on 130069467 if you have concerns about someone else. 16/47
Family and friends: Many survivors find relationships challenging. Childhood trauma and abuse can damage relationships within families, especially if violence and abuse occurred within the family of origin. Some survivors are estranged from their families for this reason. 17/47
Others grew up without or removed from any family. Others were not believed or were blamed for what happened. Many survivors grew up without a strong bond to their caregiver/s or parents. 18/47
This can make it hard to have close relationships, including friendships and intimate relationships. Childhood trauma doesn’t only affect family relationships. It can also affect those with partners and friends.  It can also affect parenting of their own children. 19/47
Many survivors become fiercely independent, withdraw easily and avoid social contact. Others can tend to be clingy, sometimes demanding, disclose frequently, and sometimes to people who are not close or trustworthy, or become people pleasers. 20/47
All of these ways of being make sense when someone experienced trauma in childhood. It is however possible to heal from childhood trauma, and develop mutually supportive and respectful relationships. Many survivors develop trusting connections over time.  21/47
This can start with a single relationship, sometimes with a counsellor or therapist. For others it might be with one friend who understands. This can help you develop a sense of safety in other relationships that you never thought possible. 22/47
Relationships are very important for the process of recovery. It is important to understand why they can be challenging. The difficulties survivors have safety, trust, triggers, and strong emotions can challenge relationships.  23/47
It is important to understand them and know that they are normal biological responses to trauma. It is possible to work through these issues, with the right support. Support from family and friends, who are emotionally available, can be an important part of this process. 24/47
Seeing a professional: Survivors see all sorts of practitioners for support. Some work privately and others work in agencies e.g. sexual assault services or schemes e.g. victims services. These practitioners use different methods and approaches. 25/47
Studies show that the type of therapy or counselling that is used by a practitioner, is not the main element that helps us heal. It also doesn’t matter if it is provided by a social worker, mental health nurse, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other sort of practitioner. 26/47
It is of course important that the practitioner is experienced and trained in working with adult survivors of child abuse and trauma. That’s because of the particular needs survivors of what is called ‘complex’ trauma have. 27/47
The quality of the relationship the practitioner establishes with you, and you establish with them is crucial. This is true for anyone who sees a counsellor or therapist. As survivors have been harmed in relationships, healing also occurs in relationships. 28/47
Building a relationship of rapport and trust is critical. At times any therapeutic or counselling process can be uncomfortable. That’s because of the issues being explored. This is particularly so when they relate to traumatic experiences in childhood. 29/47
If you are seeing someone professionally, over time, it is however important that you feel safe and comfortable with them. That you build a relationship of trust and respect which enables you to work with them. 30/47
That they empower you to identify and build on your strengths, and arm you with resources to better negotiate day-to-day life. Counselling is a broader term than "psychotherapy". It provides guidance in resolving personal conflicts and emotional problems. 31/47
There are many different counselling approaches. They often draw on psychological theory and techniques. Many counsellors have related qualifications and accreditations. 
Counselling and psychotherapy are better regulated than previously. 32/47
Before choosing your counsellor or therapist it’s a good idea to check their qualifications, expertise, approach, experience and registration status (with a recognised professional body). Many people find a range of practices helpful which include 33/47
mindfulness, yoga, EMDR, EFT, neurofeedback, and art and music therapy, and can be provided as part of a therapeutic process or in support of it. They are provided by a range of different practitioners. Different people find different practices and approaches helpful. 34/47
Attending a group can also be helpful. This can be alongside one-on-one counselling or stand alone. Some women’s health services, community health services and sexual assault services run groups for survivors. 35/47
Some of these are therapeutic groups, by health professionals. Others are peer support groups, involving other survivors. It is important they offer a safe space, which can support healing. Groups can help people who are isolated feel better connected and more supported. 36/47
Choosing a therapist: It can be very hard for anyone to choose a counsellor or therapist. It can be especially challenging if you were abused or traumatised as a child.
You may wish to call Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380 to speak to one of our counsellors. 37/47
The counsellor can explore your needs and access Blue Knot’s referral database to identify therapists and agencies in your area, who are experienced in working with adult survivors. 38/47
Once you have their contact details feel free to ask them about their experience, ways of working and qualifications. It is important that they are sensitive to your needs. That they validate your experience and are respectful of your boundaries. 39/47
You should also feel as safe as you can in their space. Once you are in a therapeutic relationship with them, if you feel you are being pushed too hard, or you are uncomfortable with their methods, try to discuss your concerns with them. 40/47
If their suggestions don’t fit with your feelings or beliefs, try to discuss that as well. You should be comfortable with the pace of your therapy. You should also feel empowered to discuss your progress openly. 41/47
If you are not comfortable after discussing your concerns consider choosing a different therapist. Choosing a therapist can be challenging, confusing and time-consuming. The following advice might help you: 42/47
Ask other survivors. Speak to a counsellor on Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380, 9-5 Mon-Sun AEST. Prepare a list of questions eg. What is his/her experience in working with survivors? What approach(es) does he/she use? How much will it cost? 43/47
Is there a concessional rate? What are payment options? How available is he/she? What happens in a session? How long are they? What happens if I need to cancel a session? Will I be part of the decision-making process? 44/47
Beware of therapists who stress a particular approach or technique, or who are dogmatic about issues such as forgiveness, confrontation, etc. If you do feel uncomfortable when interviewing a therapist, trust your instincts. 45/47
Ask yourself: Do I feel intimidated by this therapist? Does he/she listen to me? Do I believe that I can disagree with him/her? The therapist you choose should be a good listener, empathetic and non-judgmental. Your therapist needs to be a trusted partner in your process.” 46/47
Source: Blue Knot National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma (2021). Website. Survivors. Support through connection. For information on Support with Redress Applications, Going to Court, and more, visit the website. 47/47

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More from @drlouisehansen

7 Apr
Australia has a zero tolerance to defamation: Never mind Pearson, the Director of Human Rights Watch. Australia’s policies: "have caused immense harm to asylum seekers and are repeatedly condemned by the UN and other governments." 1/6 #Justice4Australia #Auspol
Never mind asylum seeks, including children and stateless persons, in mandatory indefinite and non-reviewable detention, some more than ten years. Never mind detention facilities becoming more prison like, where use of force is common place.
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Dark Side of Psychology: Excerpts from the following paper highlight the need to challenge the ‘status quo’. This is an inspiring piece on how healthy skepticism and activism achieves cultural change: ‘Out of DSM: Depathologizing Homosexuality.’ #Justice4Australia #Auspol 1/43
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Dedicated to Australia’s First Nations people: Over-represented in Custody. Deaths in Custody. Children aged 10+ in Custody. Parents 10 x more likely have children removed from home. Health, mental health, suicide crisis. More.👇🏼#Justice4Australia #Auspol
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Self-care for survivors: "Self-care" means looking after yourself. It means treating yourself as person who deserves care. Caring for yourself is often challenging for people who experienced child abuse or childhood trauma. #Justice4Australia 1/11
That’s because you were harmed by another person. Sometimes it was done on purpose. Other times it happened because that person had their own issues which stopped them caring for you. 2/11
When an adult neglects, hits, insults, abuses or ignores a child, the child comes to understanding that they aren’t worth much. Often this happens time and again. This often means that the child grows up believing that they don’t deserve to be loved or cared for – 3/11
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Complex Trauma Treatment: “Complex trauma is different to the trauma of a single incident. Single incident trauma is associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Survivors of complex trauma may experience PTSD and are at increased risk of PTSD. 1/24 #Justice4Australia
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What is complex trauma treatment? `[T]here is no one perfect trauma therapy’ (Shapiro, 2010). The core features of complex trauma treatment reflect clinical and neurobiological insights, including the role of the body. They have been informed by psychodynamic 3/24
Read 24 tweets

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