Dear Helpline service users, 
We want to let you know that if you left a voicemail after 4pm Thursday afternoon (24th), that it may not have been received due to technical issues. Our IT service provider and phone system have had  issues that have affected delivery of voicemails. Any voicemails left may have been lost. So, please do call the Helpline again to speak to a counsellor. Or email the service via apologise if this has affected you and thank you for your understanding. 
- Helpline Management

For all in-house training enquiries, click here or call us on (02) 8920 3611 to speak to our training team. Download our In-house Training Booklet here

Talking about trauma for services


“I have attended one of your workshops for Health Professionals and found it to be one of the most enlightening and useful trainings I have attended. In particular, I really got an understanding of how to best deal with people in crisis related to past trauma.”


“The workshop was outstanding - could be used for all practitioners no matter what their discipline. I would hope that you would promote it among psychologists - particularly because the focus was on "abuse" without putting the various types of abuse into boxes.”


“I recommend Blue Knot Foundation's trauma training to every professional, worker of all setting, survivor, and carer. The better trained the earlier the diagnosis and a better chance for survivor recovery.”


“I would highly recommend Blue Knot Foundation training. The information and research is impressive and relevant; the facilitator knew her stuff, was engaging and provided relevant examples.”


Impacts of Complex Trauma

Unlike a ‘single incident’ trauma complex trauma is cumulative, repeated, often intentional and extreme. Complex trauma in childhood often occurs in the context of severe disturbances in primary caregiving relationships. Unlike PTSD, it involves difficulties with attachment, brain development and developmental trauma. People with complex trauma experiences often carry multiple diagnoses without acknowledging the the underlying trauma. This can be pathologising and re-traumatising, as well as ineffective (Jennings, 2004; Fallot & Harris, 2009; Davidson, 1997). 

Complex trauma, especially as a result of adverse childhood events, including abuse, impacts the developing brain structurally, functionally and chemically compromising the hormonal, endocrinal, immune and other systems of the body. Sustained traumatic stress is associated with chronic inflammation, disease, illness, hospitalisations, surgery and accidents.

Complex trauma affects the integration between the left and right brain processes, as well as top to bottom creating a disconnection between the body, mind and emotions. When fight- flight- freeze responses are activated in an ongoing way, arousal states increase and cognitive functions can be impaired. This includes impacts on thinking, concentration, focus and memory. Dissociation is also common especially from childhood trauma and abuse. 

Children who are in an ongoing state of ‘hypervigilance’, ‘aroused by fear and anxiety’ can develop behavioural problems. Much ADHD, ODD, truancy, aggression is based in trauma and the coping strategies children, as well as adults adopt to mediate their distress can become behaviourally challenging. Substance abuse is a common mechanism for managing/numbing or avoiding painful feelings but there are many more. A trauma-informed lens helps to identify a person’s strengths, and honour their creativity and resilience in developing strategies which allowed them to survive. Understanding such ‘behaviours’ in the first step in working with traumatised people, and helping them to feel safe.

The capacity to self-soothe and manage big feelings (affect regulate) comes from living in safe environments with well attuned caregivers. Many survivors struggle to feel safe. Anxiety and depression are the most common outcomes of child abuse (Fergusson & Mullen 2007). Traumatised children and adults often have issues of impulsivity, passivity, compliance, hypervigilance, hyperarousal, startle response, numbness and shutdown.

Interpersonal trauma is an attachment trauma in which safe, respectful boundaries have been violated. People can then find it difficult to trust or can trust too easily. Many also have issues around intimacy, sexuality and identity, and this includes challenges with being a parent. Research shows that unresolved parental trauma increases the risk of transmission of relational problems to infants. 

Other effects include those on learning, education and work, and challenges finding a sense of purpose and a meaningful role. Many survivors struggle to ‘survive’ and are unable to dream, have hopes and ambitions for the future. They may believe that people and life are not trustworthy or ‘just’ and that life is worth little. Making meaning of terrible experiences is a challenge and hallmark of healing. 

These traumas often have serious impacts and cause a legacy of pain and suffering. Traumatised people are over-represented in mental health services, refuges, homelessness, gaol, substance abuse facilities. It is important however to remember that people can and do recover from trauma, even extreme early trauma. And that when parents have worked through their trauma, the children do better.

That there is hope and support available, even when it isn’t apparent to the survivor.


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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

For media comment, please contact:
Dr Cathy Kezelman AM
0425 812 197 or

For media enquiries, please contact: 
Jo Scard
0457 725 953 or