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Coping Strategies


The importance of self-care, using distress tolerance strategies and arousal reduction strategies

 It is helpful for adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse to engage in activities to help reduce stress. These include self-caring activities, distress tolerance and arousal reducing strategies.

Research suggests that many of the long-term impacts of child abuse result from the chronic neuro-endocrine dysregulation caused by prolonged exposure to abuse and violence (Kendall-Tackett, 2001). The neuro-endocrine system refers to the interaction between our brain/ nervous system and the hormones in our bodies. This system helps regulate our moods, our stress response, our immune system, and our digestion, amongst other things. Any disruption to the neuro-endocrine system can affect a range of basic psychological and physiological functions.

Exposure to trauma, abuse and violence in childhood can cause physiological changes. The bodies of children who are being abused react and adapt to the unpredictable and dangerous environments to which they are exposed (Cozolino, 2002). Their nervous systems run constantly on high as they anticipate further danger; this floods the body with fight-or-flight hormones. This state of chronic “hyper-arousal” persists for many survivors throughout their adult years as well. Even when the trauma, abuse and violence has ceased and the environment is ‘safe’, many trauma survivors still perceive the threat to be present and remain fearful (Giarratano, 2004b).

Chronic hyper-arousal disrupts the delicate balance within the neuro-endocrine system, a state referred to as neuro-endocrine dysregulation and this can affect both the body and the mind.

The good news is that a range of interventions and skills can promote healthy neuro-endocrine function. Engaging in activities that reduce stress -- such as self-caring activities, distress tolerance strategies and arousal reducing strategies have been established to normalise the nervous system and balance hormone levels.

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Health Direct


Head to Health


“Blue Knot Foundation has a key role to play in the building of community capacity in care provision to those who have experienced childhood abuse and trauma in any environment.”

NIALL MULLIGAN Manager, Lifeline Northern Rivers

“I think Blue Knot Foundation is a fantastic support organisation for people who have experienced childhood trauma/abuse, for their families/close friends and for professionals who would like to learn how to more effectively work with these people.”

Psychologist Melbourne

“It's such a beautiful thing that you are doing. Helping people to get through this.”


“It was only last September when I discovered the Blue Knot Foundation website and I will never forget the feeling of support and empathy that I received when I finally made the first phone call to Blue Knot Helpline, which was also the first time I had ever spoken about my abuse.”


"At last there is some sound education and empathetic support for individuals and partners impacted by such gross boundary violations.”


Contact Us

Phone: 02 8920 3611
PO Box 597 Milsons Point NSW 1565
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm AEST

Blue Knot Helpline
Phone: 1300 657 380
Hours: Mon-Sun, 9am-5pm AEST

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0425 812 197 or

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