July 2017 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via eMail Share on LinkedIn

From the Editor

Our feature article covers trends in working with people who have experienced trauma. It focuses on increasing awareness of the body to foster calm and wellbeing. In the “Grounding Experiment” you are invited to explore activities to increase your internal focus.  

Brian expresses his outrage that age can be a factor in sentencing perpetrators – an article we believe will resonate with our readers. You might like to share it through your social networks.

Greg shares his emotive poem in the My Story section – we gratefully welcome and accept submissions from our readers, stories/poems.  

We share another free App that can be downloaded onto your device – the generous collation of music, chimes, podcasts and meditations may be worth exploring.

The team at Blue Knot Foundation is excited to announce that we have fully funded the next round of Survivor Workshops through our EOFY fundraising campaign. Thank you to everyone who has contributed. We are currently finalizing the dates and venues for them and will announce them in future issues. 
We are also preparing for 2017 Blue Knot Day on Monday 16th October – our annual national day. 

The Australian Government Department of Health wants to hear your feedback around their soon to be launched digital mental health gateway - “Head to Health”.

Finally the News section provides some of the stories that we have been following this month. If you have comments about what you read in this issue or suggestions for future issues, please contact me at newsletter@blueknot.org.au

Warm regards
Jane Macnaught 
| Editor



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SURVIVOR WORKSHOPS

We made it. Our Blue Knot community has rallied together once again.

Thank you to everyone that contributed. 


We are delighted to announce that due to the generosity of our supporters, the Blue Knot Foundation’s recent EOFY Appeal exceeded its fundraising goal of $48,000, raising $49,074 in just under three weeks!

“The response from the community has once again been incredible this year”, said Blue Knot President, Cathy Kezelman. “We know how important these workshops can be in providing the right supports and education for adult survivors of childhood trauma. As no alternative funding sources were available we turned to our community and we are so grateful and encouraged with this response – people’s generosity has been overwhelming”.  

Each year the Blue Knot Foundation aim to raise enough funds throughout the month of June to support the delivery of an educational workshop for adult survivors of childhood trauma in each state across Australia. 

The full-day educational workshops provide a safe space for people, who have experienced abuse or trauma in childhood, to learn more about what that experience means and how it may have affected them back then and now. 

Presenters raise awareness about survivors’ strengths and resilience, the role of coping strategies; how the brain responds to stress; and most importantly discuss research - which shows that recovery is possible. 

Participants gain information, which may help them build on their strengths, understand their reactions and ways of coping and identify strategies for positive change. Attendees will also receive information about finding and engaging good support, accessing helpful resources and self-care strategies. 

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we have once again raised enough funds to deliver this vital service.

Full details of Blue Knot Foundation Educational Workshops for Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma will be detailed on our website and in upcoming issues of Breaking Free. 

If you know someone that may like to attend, they can stay informed by subscribing here.


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BLUE KNOT DAY Coming soon

Blue Knot Day 2017
Preparations are well underway for Blue Knot Foundation’s national awareness event, Blue Knot Day, which this year will be held on Monday 16 October. On this day we ask all Australians to unite in support of the 5 million Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse. The Blue Knot Day symbol is representative of the knotted complexity of childhood trauma, with blue representing a clear blue sky with space for new possibilities.

“Last year, Blue Knot Day was a tremendous success thanks to the support of everyone who volunteered their time, energy and ideas!”, said Cath James, Blue Knot Foundation Fundraising Manager. 

“We saw morning teas, BBQs, healing trails, murals and faith based services organised across the country, and the Sydney Opera House sails illuminated blue! This year we already have a number of community events and fundraising activities being organised and I would encourage anyone who would like to get involved in any way to please get in touch. Blue Knot Day is run by the community and awareness can only grow with active participation from us all, on a grass roots level”.

If you would like to talk about how to bring Blue Knot Day into your community please call Cath on (02) 8920 3611/0472 995 859 or email cjames@blueknot.org.au
Further details on Blue Knot Day are available at http://www.blueknot.org.au/BlueKnotDay.


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The Theatre Of The Body 

By Breaking Free editor Jane Macnaught

This article provides a brief overview of one of the current trends in the trauma field. I’ve collated a series of quotes that reveal shared understanding and provide some book titles that you may like to explore. Once you have read this I hope you will also go to our “Grounding Experiment” article, which contains an introduction to grounding ideas. Here you are invited to explore and experience a taste of how we can engage with the ‘Theatre Of The Body,’ ideas that may help you become more self aware and calm.

Trigger Warning

Warning: This article may contain content that could disturb some readers. If reading this story causes you distress and you need support, please call the Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380 (9am-5pm AEST, 7 days). Calls that cannot be answered directly will be returned as soon as possible, so please leave a message with your phone number, and state of residence.

The Theatre of The Body

There is a groundswell of research and training available in trauma therapy and recovery. The latest research is overwhelmingly supportive of body-based therapies - we are not talking about the use of touch - rather a focus on understanding what is happening inside - bottom up - from the soles of your feet through to the crown of your head: a therapeutic movement towards exploring what you are experiencing within your body.

Many trauma survivors ignore their inner sensations, trying to neutralise unwanted sensory experiences and bracing, or isolating, themselves to cope with the world. This results in a wide variety of symptoms, which we know can be traced back to the experience of childhood trauma and abuse. For many who didn’t experience safety and security in childhood, feelings of safety within the body may have been lost or were never familiar.

“People’s inner sensory world… (where) the trauma continues to play out – in the theatre of the body” van der Kolk cited in Emerson (see end).

In talking therapy people can start to process how the world around them – certain sounds, smells and images can trigger them to feel as if the trauma is happening again. Researchers are interested in the impact of increased awareness of the sensations deep within your own body – the sensory experiences and how you may be bracing against these inner feelings using defences developed to cope with body memories and related thoughts, behaviours and actions. Research shows that working with the body improves wellbeing. Increasing physical self awareness encourages connection with the body and nurtures a sense of self which can foster a sense of inner calm.

Despite logically knowing and cognitively reasoning that the world is safe people may lack the visceral experience of a calm centred body – a deep sense of being absolutely safe. Therefore it can be challenging to reach a calm state.“Learning to tolerate and be curious about dreaded physical sensations gives people a sense of mastery… new resources, energy and capacity to take effective action.” van der Kolk cited in Emerson.

“A common denominator of all traumas is an alienation and disconnection from the body and a reduced capacity to be present in the here and now.” Peter Levine

“People who have been traumatized hold an implicit memory of traumatic events in their brains and their bodies.” Babette Rothschild

“In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.” Bessel van der Kolk


Read full article: The Theatre Of The Body


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My Story – by Greg

What's It Like by Greg


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My Story – by Brian

Lock Them Up

I am a survivor of child sexual abuse in an institution and I would like to talk about old men being sent to prison for crimes that happened decades ago.

I had a meeting with my solicitor recently; he made some comments that shocked me and I decided that I needed to write this article. He said to ME… "oh I don't know about these old men being sent to prison for abuse that happened decades ago."

I have heard several people say, "but they are just old men now". This infuriates me. We should not have any sympathy whatsoever for these perpetrators because they are old men. 

Did they think for one moment when we were children, of our youthfulness and innocence? Was age a factor? Not then. Not now.

They wielded their power and used their positions to exploit our innocence. Did they think for one moment of the devastating effects that their selfish actions would have on us children? 

These old men, were a lot younger when they committed these crimes. These old men more than likely had many victims.
They have lived ‘scot-free’in freedom for decades. 

I have been reading in the international press that the UK and USA are looking to make the aged perpetrators have non-custodial sentences arguing that many have “stopped the offending, perhaps for decades, and in doing so, reformed themselves.” I doubt this reflects the actual facts.  Statistics and reports show that very few offenders rehabilitate themselves and many continue with their criminal behaviours.

I say “lock them up” – they must experience some pain for the life sentence of trauma they have inflicted on the innocent children no matter how long ago.

Just on a final note I ask that if you are a survivor of child sexual abuse and you are strong enough, please speak out about it, no matter how long ago it was or how old the perpetrator is now.

Brian


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Lock Them Up

Head To Health Digital Mental Health Gateway

Head To Health Digital Mental Health Gateway Survey

The Australian Government Department of Health wants to hear your feedback around their soon to be launched digital mental health gateway - “Head to Health”. Head to Health aims to support people to access online and phone mental health and wellbeing advice, information and treatment options most relevant to their needs via a website, social media channels, and a dedicated telephone line.

Feedback by completing a survey is currently being sought prior to the public launch of the website in September 2017. 

 

SELF CARE RESOURCES

In this section, we will review self care/help resources our Blue Knot Helpline counselling team collects to share with people who call the Helpline. We are delighted to share these ideas with our Breaking Free readers. What is helpful for one person may not be right for someone else so please experiment, explore and find what suits you.

App suggestion from Blue Knot Helpline

Insight Timer

By Breaking Free editor Jane Macnaught


Beautiful Tibetan singing bowls and a dynamic worldwide meditation community


Insight TimerInsight Timer has become more useful for me over time. This free app has a wide variety of sounds, voices and gongs. It also has guided meditations, talks and music.

I started using this app just as a timer, using the wood block to sound a gentle reminder: 10 minutes to go and then finishing with a delightfully toned Tibetan singing bowl chime. The chimes work when the phone is locked or in silent mode, to prevent interruptions.

Fiddling with the app one day I clicked on the bar at the base of the screen. The Home icon tells me how many people are meditating – 286,377 today and 4,730 meditating right now. And then scrolling down I can see who is meditating and what they are listening to! Fascinating:

Viv is listening to “Mindfully Happy Flowing in Life’s Direction” - good on her – oh and she has 11 minutes left (I wonder if she will finish) 
Judy is listening to “The Dream for Sleep” – 22 minutes left  
Adam is meditating to “Meditate Now” 3 minutes left  
Kathy meditated to “Body, Breath, Being Meditation – 5 minutes ago – so she’s finished!
Ana tuned to “Guided Meditation for Deep Sleep” – 6 minutes left
Brent meditated to “Pure Relaxation”

None of the above information is vital. However I found many different styles, teachers, and techniques. 

Moving across to the next icon - headphones - I found 5,810 free topics under various headings: podcasts, first time, stress, acceptance, sleep, Spanish, French, mornings and finally my favourite – music. Here I found the ‘Endless Peace Choir’ 38 minutes of pure bliss and ‘Peaceful Guitar, Flute and Waves’ another sublime listening experience. The podcast selection is very generous, a wide range of talks and topics that could entertain and comfort for hours.

When you finish listening, a screen pops up that shows who you have meditated with. It’s pretty powerful and adds a true sense of community. Having said that, if you aren’t prepared for it, it could feel a little intrusive.

To increase your control, explores the ‘Settings’ which can be found on the bottom right hand corner, (the little person icon). Click and go to the wheel icon in the top right hand corner. The privacy settings will allow you to turn off the “just meditated with” pop ups if you prefer. There is also a private journal in this section if you want to keep notes and you can export them. You can access a personal progress report if you are keen on statistics and records.

I have now uploaded a picture for my profile, not of myself, but of a symbol, so I can maintain my privacy and enjoy the richness of the community that this simple little app makes available.

A generous and versatile app that is free and has many useful features.

https://insighttimer.com/ or download it from your app store.


Blue Knot Foundation makes every effort to provide readers of its website and newsletters with information which is accurate and helpful. It is not however a substitute for counselling or professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify all information provided, Blue Knot Foundation cannot guarantee and does not assume any responsibility for currency, errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the information provided.


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Suggestion from Blue Knot Helpline

Trigger Warning

Warning: This article may contain content that could disturb some readers. If reading this story causes you distress and you need support, please call the Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380 (9am-5pm AEST, 7 days). Calls that cannot be answered directly will be returned as soon as possible, so please leave a message with your phone number, and state of residence. 

Grounding Experiment

Grounding ExperimentGrounding is the act of connecting more deeply and completely to the body, strengthening the feeling of being inside the body and connected to the ground or earth.

Here is an introduction to grounding ideas. 

We invite you to explore and experience a taste of how you could engage with the ‘Theatre Of The Body’ with some ideas that may help you become more self aware, connected and calm.

Being grounded is the prerequisite for feeling centred and fully in contact with your world. Some people reduce anxiety symptoms with grounding. The following grounding exercises encourage you to build mind and body connection. 

You could try different ones at different times, see what suits you; you might find one or two that work for you. Whilst experimenting with the grounding exercises suggested here: – remember only to use the exercises with which you feel comfortable.

Stop and listen. Notice and silently name what you can hear nearby and in the distance.
Stamp your feet. Notice the sensation and the sound as you connect with the ground.
If you are sitting feel the chair under you and the weight of your body and legs pressing down onto it.
Focus on your breath - notice your in-breath - count as you exhale, repeat.
Look around the room and notice familiar objects and name them. 
Have a special object on your bedside table, something soothing – look for this when you wake, recall why you selected this object
Lying down. Feel the contact between your head, your body and your legs. Notice where they touch the surface you are lying on. Starting from your head, notice how each muscle feels, all the way down to your feet, on the soft or hard surface.
Hold a mug of tea in both hands and feel its warmth. Don’t rush, take small sips and take your time tasting each mouthful mindfully, notice how you swallow.
Get up, walk around and take your time to notice each step as you take one then another.
Clap and rub your hands together, hear the noise and feel the sensation in your hands and arms.
Step outside, notice the temperature of the air and contrast this with inside.

You could record the sensations that you notice. You could reflect on the activity and notice if you feel better or worse? Calmer or more stressed? Without judgment – there are no right or wrong answers in this experiment. Keeping a record, writing down your observations enhances the experience.

What do you use for grounding? What do you find helpful? Make your own list and keep it handy for those moments when you might need reminding.

Blue Knot Foundation makes every effort to provide readers of its website and newsletters with information which is accurate and helpful. It is not however a substitute for counselling or professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify all information provided, Blue Knot Foundation cannot guarantee and does not assume any responsibility for currency, errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the information provided.


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IN THE NEWS

VALE ANTHONY FOSTER, A TIRELESS FIGHTER FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE

Never has the fight for justice been so acknowledged and celebrated than at the state funeral on June 7 of Anthony Foster. This remarkable man, who died from a brain haemorrhage on May 28, two days after he collapsed, was only 64. His sudden death is shattering for his beautiful family and it leaves the entire community grieving.

For 21 years, Anthony and his beloved wife Chrissie fought for justice, not only for their daughters Emma and Katie but for all victims of institutional child sexual abuse. They could not have predicted in 1996 that they would still be fighting the Catholic Church in 2017. 

Throughout those years, Anthony and Chrissie were valiant in their lionhearted fight with what continues to be a legalistic and cold-hearted hierarchy. Denials, obfuscations and the protection of assets and reputations have remained paramount.

Read full article at
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/obituaries/obituary-anthony-foster-was-a-tireless-fighter-for-truth-and-justice-20170616-gwszim.html


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CARDINAL PELL FACES MULTIPLE HISTORICAL SEXUAL OFFENSE CHARGES

Vatican Cardinal George Pell will plead not guilty to historical sexual offence charges involving multiple complainants, a court in Melbourne was told on Wednesday.

"Cardinal Pell will plead not guilty to all the charges and will maintain his presumed innocence that he has," his lawyer Robert Richter told the packed courtroom on Pell's behalf.

The brief hearing at Melbourne Magistrates Court lasted around just five minutes. Magistrate Duncan Reynolds set October 6 for the next hearing in the case.

Pell, one of Pope Francis' most senior aides, was mobbed by media as he entered and left the court with his legal team, but did not speak to reporters.

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL SET TO BE CHARGED WITH SERIOUS SEX OFFENCES

Cardinal George Pell, Australia's highest ranking Catholic, has been charged with historical sex offences.

Victoria Police has confirmed Cardinal Pell has been charged on summons over multiple allegations and is due to face Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 26 for a filing hearing.

A statement from the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney said Cardinal Pell had been informed of Victoria Police's "decision and action".
"Cardinal Pell will return to Australia, as soon as possible, to clear his name following advice and approval by his doctors who will also advise on his travel arrangements.

"He said he is looking forward to his day in court and will defend the charges vigorously. Cardinal Pell is the third most senior Catholic at the Vatican, where he is responsible for the church's finances.

Read full article at
http://www.smh.com.au/national/cardinal-george-pell-set-to-be-charged-with-serious-sex-offences-20170628-gx0v8y.html


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HOLES STILL APPARENT IN ACT REPORTABLE CONDUCT SCHEME TO PREVENT CHILD ABUSE

Schools, child care centres and health providers will be forced to report all child abuse allegations to the ACT Ombudsman from this Saturday.

However the ACT's new reportable conduct scheme does not cover church organisations, Scout groups, sporting clubs or dance schools, despite government officials telling the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse the scheme would need to be refined to meet community expectations as far back as March.

In launching the scheme on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry denied there were gaps in the law and said the most important aspect was its consistency with other states and territories.

Read full article at
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/holes-still-apparent-in-act-reportable-conduct-scheme-to-prevent-child-abuse-20170628-gx02fd.html

 


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CATHOLIC BOYS SCHOOL IN BALLARAT APOLOGISES TO VICTIMS OF CHILD SEX ABUSE

A survivor of clergy child sexual abuse has called on Catholic institutions in Melbourne to follow the lead of a Ballarat school, after it offered the first public apology to its abuse victims.

St Patricks College is one of Ballarat's most enduring Catholic institutions. Some students have graduated to become priests, archbishops and even a cardinal.

Cardinal George Pell was made school captain here in 1959.

But the school has also been the scene of trauma, violence and sexual abuse.

On Tuesday, at the foot of a red brick building which once housed the perpetrators, the school's headmaster acknowledged the harm.

Read full article at
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-27/ballarat-catholic-boys-school-apologises-to-sex-abuse-victims/8657226


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CATHOLIC ORDER HEAD 'KNEW OF ALLEGATIONS’

The founder of a Catholic order shut down over sexual misconduct defended a religious brother accused of indecent assault despite knowing about allegations against him two decades earlier, an inquiry has heard.

Society of St Gerard Majella founder John Sweeney, who was himself later convicted of indecent assault, knew about sexual impropriety by Peter Harold Pritchard (Brother Joseph Pritchard) as early as 1974, a church inquiry found.

Documents released by the child abuse royal commission show Sweeney wrote a character reference for Pritchard in 1993, telling the magistrate that numerous young men were deeply indebted to the chaplain.

Read full article at
http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/catholic-order-head-knew-of-allegations/news-story/16a7be9d7e4ca633f2bed33e4f8b8db6


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Disclaimer - Blue Knot Foundation makes every effort to provide readers of its website and newsletters with information which is accurate and helpful. It is not however a substitute for counselling or professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify all information provided, Blue Knot Foundation cannot guarantee and does not assume any responsibility for currency, errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the information provided.