If you have experienced childhood trauma, you can speak with a Blue Knot Helpline trauma counsellor including for support and applications around national redress

1300 657 380
Monday - Sunday
between 9am - 5pm AEST
or via email helpline@blueknot.org.au


Do you live with disability?  Have you experienced abuse, neglect, violence or exploitation?

For support for Disability Royal Commission or general support contact our National Counselling & Referral Service

1800 421 468
9am - 6pm AEST Mon- Fri
9am - 5pm AEST Sat, Sun & public holidays


September 2018 NewsletterShare on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via eMail Share on LinkedIn

From the Editor

With less than one month to go to Blue Knot Day 2018, you can read about how you can get involved in our Real Lives Real Change campaign. 

My Story is written by Kym who shares her incredible journey of personal reconciliation with her past, through a powerful creative article. 

In our Self Care section Aimee describes the way she chooses to reduce stress in all aspects of her life.  Aimee’s poem is testament to her tenacity and strength: “My Choice. I Choose.” 

“Ghosthunter” the film was released on September 20th. We include a preview and some of the fantastic reviews this film has received. 

This month’s feature article examines community understanding around the meaning of trauma and increasing trauma stories in the media. We have also included some suggestions about how to minimise triggers and protect against being overwhelmed by excess media coverage of trauma stories. 

As always if you have comments about what you have read in this issue, contributions for the My Story section or suggestions for future issues, please contact me at newsletter@blueknot.org.au

Warm regards

Jane Macnaught


Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send in an email to a friend Share to LinkedIn

My Story by Kim B.

“A warrior's ultimate ideal is to lay down his sword.” (Movie: Hero, 2002)

Today we gather to publicly to acknowledge Kim's Loyal Soldier, and to support her in her transition into a new role.

To the Loyal Soldier, the Warrior Woman:

“We understand your goal has always been to fight the good fight and restore Kim to her best. To destroy the lies around all that has harmed her. This heroic quest has always been fought with the aim of helping her to regain her true and rightful power over the darkest of forces. It has been fought with fury for justice, freedom and victory... and with a mission to do whatever it takes to find peace.

“Today, we honour your unwavering loyalty in fighting for her: your fierceness and determination, your extraordinary persistence and endurance, your protection and bravery. You gave her security and backed her up when no one else did. You cautioned her to danger and helped her to define boundaries within which she established safety and identity. You worked tirelessly in your attempt to free her from the hell of powerlessness and deliver her back to herself.”

To Supportive Parts:

“We acknowledge all other parts in Kim that have also held unwavering allegiance to supporting her cause, and the incredible skills they have consequently gained along the way. We acknowledge your intense ferocity; your 'Raaaaa!' and the ferocity of those who have 'Raaaaed' before you and with you.”

Acknowledging the Challenges:

“Letting go may feel like a severe death and exile. We sensitively mourn with you and comfort you in any sadness and fear you may feel in this transition. Respectfully, we acknowledge the choice that you have now made to enable Kim to journey forward into a new frontier. While you may not understand the new terrain ahead, you know and accept that you can honourably and safely step back and rest now, as is necessary for her to journey more towards authentic inner authority.”
Jesus said, “ Put your sword back in its place”. (Matthew 26: 52)


The handing over of the sword. (a moment of silence)

We now officially declare this virtuous battle over and that you, noblest of warriors, be truly honoured and free.


My Story by Kim B

I have spent decades fighting the good fight against my trauma and how it impacted me, and it seemed that I used a kind of ferocious, unrelenting warrior part of me that was intensely engaged in doing whatever it takes to heal. I was in effect raised in an intense 'emotional war zone', only to ironically find myself engaging in a different war as my adult warrior woman was fighting so hard to right the wrongs and have ultimate victory. Of course this has been incredibly exhausting.

I have come to realize over the past few months that the warrior woman is ready to lay down her sword. It's like I thought that fighting was the only way to regain my power and self. But now I see this as a stage I passed through; an understandable and extremely useful part of my journey – and that now I am ready to continue the journey in a different way. I have come to realize that I no longer need her to fight for me. I feel I'm ready to transition and move away from an external fight against evil, towards some more internal reconciliation.

This ceremony was created as a ritual to acknowledge my very powerful shift.

By Kim B


Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send in an email to a friend Share to LinkedIn

Film Review: Ghosthunter

Ghosthunter - Film Review

“Ghosthunter masterfully portrays a fundamental search for the ghosts of one man’s childhood, at the same time unravelling those for the people around him.” Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM, President, Blue Knot Foundation 

We are proud to announce that the film GHOSTHUNTER, the award winning documentary that shines a light on the impact of complex childhood trauma, has been released for a short season in cinemas. 

Jason King, a western Sydney security guard and part-time Ghosthunter, has spent two decades searching for his absent father. As a survivor of childhood trauma, he seeks to reconcile his fractured memories and piece together his past. When his search converges with a police investigation, a family secret is exposed — forcing him to confront a brutal past in order to reclaim his future. 

“I went to the opening night on Tuesday and I highly recommend this film. I was a little triggered at times, so you may have to plan some self care. I thought the director did incredibly well in allowing the viewer to see the un-glorified effects of cPTSD on a person, and how it affects relationships and thought processes. cPTSD is a lifelong companion for survivors of trauma and manifests differently in each individual. This is one perspective - and a very interesting one. I’m so thankful Jason and the director and his team devoted 8 years of their lives in creating such a raw and honest piece of film.” Pejay, a member of the Blue Knot Foundation community posted this review on our Facebook page (reprinted here with permission). 

Read the film review from The Guardian and The Age

For more information 

Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send in an email to a friend Share to LinkedIn



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.

Choosing A Life With Less Stress Is My Self Care

by Aimee

Being overloaded does not help me to recover.
The overload of bad stress is what prevents my healing and recovery.

I’ve been reading Lilly’s blog – Healing From Complex Trauma and PTSD and every day I’m learning new information about "complex trauma" – which I now understand is the word used to explain what happens for many of us after prolonged, ongoing traumatic events in childhood. This overload of bad stress on a child’s brain and body can have catastrophic consequences.

It’s called "complex" for a reason.
It is difficult to live with.
Anyone living with this condition can find that every day is hard. Everyday.
All because: the primary caregiver showed them a world of hurt and not love.

I’m planning to make a difference in a world of trauma recovery one day.
But for now I’m just trying to heal and learn different ways to do so.

Tips from Aimee

SLEEP is an important topic – when we feel tired or sleep deprived small life issues can quickly become more difficult. If you have experienced trauma as a child, or you live with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complex PTSD it is quite likely that you also experience one or more of the following: sleepless nights, impaired sleep, sleep disorders, broken sleep, nightmare intrusions, insomnia, hypersomnia.

My Choice. I Choose.

I may not have many friends - but it’s my choice not to.
It reduces drama, lies and being hurt any more.
I may not have a chaotic life - I choose not to be in chaos and loud places.
I may not have a big business even when I have opportunities to be busier.
I choose not to be any busier. I’m the right amount of busy for me.
I may chose never to have children- but it is my choice to reduce stressors.
And I choose to look after my own self for the rest of my life.
It’s not anyone else’s job but mine.
I may choose to be alone – I’m happy, and I’ve created my own world now.
I don’t need to be saved any more.
It’s my world.
And I WILL NOT let my world be interrupted by people that don’t love me.
I nap a lot - because I like to rest.
I could be doing worse, like being out with needles hanging out of my arms and ruining my life.
- you choose the way you need to live.
- be your own amount of busy.
-be your own stress reliever.
-be your own happiness & self care.
-be your own type of chaos.
-you have the right to be fussy after living in hell.
-knowing yourself is power.

Written by Aimee

Aimee’s story of Hope & Recovery appeared the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Breaking Free

Self Care Resources 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.


Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send in an email to a friend Share to LinkedIn

Talking About Trauma
With Meaning and Understanding

by Jane Macnaught, Breaking Free Editor

In this article we will examine increased reporting of trauma in the media, and the frequent use of the word ‘trauma’ in society. As more experiences of childhood abuse are told and reported it is important that we don’t trivialize the meaning of the word ‘trauma’, and that survivors in particular, and society overall have a deeper understanding of how trauma is experienced by people and how it impacts us all. We’ll re-examine the definition and terminology around ‘trauma’ to clarify its complexity. Finally we offer some suggestions on how to protect ourselves from being overwhelmed by media coverage of childhood trauma reporting that delivers ‘traumatic’ news across an array of mediums.

Telling stories of trauma

Telling Stories 

As our Talking About Trauma series shows, it is important to not only understand trauma but to learn how to talk about trauma. Gradually people who have experienced different traumas are starting to speak out publically about what happened to them. Actors, politicians, and trauma survivors often go onto social media, describing personal experiences of trauma, abuse and violence.  This can be a liberating experience in breaking the silence and educating the community about their experiences. 

There are hundreds of TED talks and YouTube videos; books, blogs and news stories. When I type ’trauma‘ into an Amazon search over 20,000 items for sale come up!  Now trauma and abuse are often raised publically and it is no longer as much of a taboo issue as it was in the past. Issues like domestic and family violence, child abuse, workplace and schoolyard bullying are more openly discussed in the community, in schools and in the workplace. There is still a long way to go but the culture is changing. It is important that we do so as safely and as meaningfully as we can for all. 

Well known people world-wide are starting to reveal their personal stories.  For example, the New Yorker published an essay by Junot Diaz, a US creative writing professor. In it he revealed his childhood abuse and trauma and its ongoing devastating impact on his life.  The award winning film Spotlight documented how journalists from The Boston Globe uncovered the massive cover-up of child sexual abuse in Boston within the Catholic Church.  The Me Too movement #MeToo has raised awareness across Twitter on the prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse; #MeToo has helped disseminate conversations about this sensitive issue.  While disclosures are on the increase and becoming more public, increased reporting has its challenges, for us a society, but particularly, for those of us who are survivors. 

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse exposed the enormity of the issue of child sexual abuse in institutions over decades in our country. It was a ground-breaking inquiry, but for many, the daily reporting of, often personal stories of angst and distress, with lots of detail triggered past experiences. For many, telling what happened to them was empowering, especially when secrecy and silence was broken. It was also critical for creating change, both for those who did tell, and for society which heard.  

While speaking up and out can be, and often are, an important part of healing, doing so can also trigger reactions in others who have their own trauma histories. Recently released podcast Silent Waves is the story of Raquel O’Brien, a young Melbourne woman. She openly and frankly tells the story of her child sexual abuse in her family; as is not uncommon - she is not the only victim, and her perpetrator is not the only perpetrator in her family story. Stories like Raquel’s remind us that child sexual abuse often occurs in the institution of the family. These stories need to be told but how do we as survivors, and as a community stay healthy and well, when they are reported and recounted?

What is Trauma?

Talking about trauma 

As the usage of the word ‘trauma’ increases, its meaning can sometimes be diluted. At times the word is over-used or misused e.g. “the football players were traumatised by the game result” - “It was so traumatic when Mum took my mobile phone off me”. 

One dictionary meaning states that trauma is a “deeply distressing or disturbing experience”. While this is true – it is a generalized definition. Here at Blue Knot we use a definition that more accurately describes the experience of people with diverse traumas: 

Trauma is a state of high arousal in which severe threat or the perception of severe threat overwhelms the capacity to cope. Trauma is very common. People experience it differently. Certain experiences are traumatic for some and not for others. The impacts of trauma depend on a person’s age/s, prior experience/s, and its extent and duration.  People can experience trauma in a range of situations. These include natural disasters, accidents, betrayal in relationships, and/or being abused or victimised.” Source

Important factors in this definition are:

·         Emphasizes the person’s emotional state (high arousal)

·         Threat can be real or perceived

·         Everyone’s experience and reactions are different

·         Impacts of trauma depend on many factors 

Single incident trauma occurs with `one off’ events. It is commonly associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Single incident trauma can occur from a bushfire, flood, sexual or physical assault in adulthood, or from fighting in a war.

What is Complex Trauma?

Survivors of childhood abuse and trauma will generally present with complex trauma. Most people with trauma-related problems have experienced multiple traumas. The term, complex trauma describes exposure to multiple traumas. It also refers to the impacts of that exposure:

· Is usually interpersonal i.e. occurs in relationships between people
· Involves ‘being or feeling’ trapped
· Is often planned, extreme, ongoing and/or repeated
· Often has more severe, persistent and cumulative impacts
· Involves challenges with shame, trust, self-esteem, identity and regulating emotions.
· Has different coping strategies: alcohol, drug use, self-harm, over- or under-eating, over-work etc.
· Affects emotional and physical health, wellbeing, relationships and daily functioning.

3 Protective Strategies

To Help You Avoid Being Overwhelmed

3 protective strategies to help you avoid being overwhelmed 

It can be useful to consider how you might protect yourself from being triggered by the media reporting of trauma, in general, and of stories of childhood trauma, in particular.

The telling and reporting of stories of childhood trauma and the impacts that people have experienced as an adult, as well as exposure to media stories of abuse and violence, can both empower and distress people who have experienced it, as well as those who support them. The risk of being re-traumatised is high, and daily challenges can occur when you are triggered. This can include distress, anger, feeling like avoiding every day tasks, relationship difficulties, increased use of alcohol or drugs, nightmares etc.

Strategies which help you care for yourself can stop you being overwhelmed by strong emotions. They can help ground you and help you regain control over difficult emotions, such as anger, shame or distress. They can help stop you reacting and spiralling out of control. Find out more HERE

Inaccurate, unbalanced or sensationalist reporting can also make this worse. It can reinforce myths and promote stigma and discrimination. This can affect how survivors seek help and information they need for their recovery.

We can also consume too many stories about abuse and violence. It can feel like this an overwhelming presence in our lives and that there are too few good news stories. However we are seeing more stories of resilience and healing all the time, as holding hope and finding pathways to recovery are a critical part of any stories of trauma.

The following suggestions might help you stay well and healthy in the midst of media reporting around trauma.

1. Take control of what you listen to, hear and read.

What challenges and unsettles you? Is it stories with too much graphic detail or images? Is it reading, watching or listening to too many stories of abuse and trauma? Too much violence and sensationalized reporting?

2. How much is too much? Would you benefit by reducing your intake?

Try and be aware of how much reporting and how many stories you allow into your life. Try to get in touch with how these can affect you or note how they impact you – in your thinking, in your body and emotional reactions. Sometimes you may choose to turn off the news and not watch, read or listen to certain things, if you feel unsafe doing so. It can be useful to monitor and record your ‘intake’ of media, over a standard day or week, so you are more aware of how that media affects your wellbeing.

Consider these options to help you stay more in control of your usage and exposure:
Turn off, unsubscribe, delete, restrict usage, ration, monitor, time limit, turn off notifications, allocate time slots, turn off internet, shut down the browser, walk out, limit volume, and so on.

3. Be aware of media sources and make choices

 “news doesn’t just exist out there in the world. It’s constructed. Journalists and editors determine what will be considered the news… and often frame stories negatively to get more attention.” From positive psychology news writer Henry Edwards

Trigger Warning:

Warning: This article contains potentially distressing content and links to content that could be disturbing to some readers. If you find yourself becoming distressed or overwhelmed at any time, you may like to refer to our self-care pages including grounding techniques. If you need further support, please call the Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380 (9am-5pm AEST, 7 days) to speak with one of our trauma counsellors. If we can’t answer your call straight away we will return it as soon as possible, so please leave a message with your phone number, and state of residence. 


Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send in an email to a friend Share to LinkedIn

Blue Knot Day

Blue Knot Day 2018 - Survivors

Blue Knot Day Supporter

On Monday 29 October 2018, Blue Knot Day events and activities will be held throughout Australia as communities show their support and raise awareness for the 1 in 4 Australian (5 million) adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse.

Blue Knot Day is an opportunity for all Australians to support adult survivors of childhood trauma by holding an event, wearing a blue knot bracelet or pin, or sharing the Blue Knot Day social media campaign.

This year’s Blue Knot Day theme of ‘REAL LIVES. REAL CHANGE’ is particularly meaningful. It follows the planned October 22 Federal Government apology to victims of institutional child sexual abuse. Its theme recognises the need for a national network of trauma-informed supports for all survivors of childhood trauma.

“At a time of recognition for 60,000 survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, Blue Knot Day is an opportunity for communities to acknowledge the strengths and challenges of the 5 million adult survivors of childhood trauma”, said Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM, Blue Knot Foundation President.

“This is about real lives, real support and real change”. 

“The time for blame, for turning away, for hiding, for running and denying is over. This is about us as a nation helping to turn shattered lives around, and for us all to be visible in our strength of support for change”. 

This year you can show your support for change in 3 ways:

  • Share the ‘REAL LIVES. REAL CHANGE.’ #unitebkd social media campaign
  • Purchase a Blue Knot bracelet or pin
  • Hold an event in your community

Share the ‘REAL LIVES. REAL CHANGE.’ social media campaign

To show your support for adult survivors of childhood trauma, just download the Blue Knot Day REAL LIVES. REAL CHANGE. Social Media Pack from www.blueknot.org.au/BlueKnotDay and share with the hashtag: ‘#unitebkd’. The pack contains social media guidelines, facts and tips and 2 campaign images. One is for survivors. The other is for supporters; personal and professional. The images highlight the rights of survivors to live ‘a life free from shame and silence’ and our commitment to compassion for all adult survivors of childhood trauma. 

Purchase a Blue Knot bracelet or pin
Wearing a Blue Knot Day bracelet or pin can help start much needed conversations, and also show your support this Blue Knot Day. They can be purchased through our online shop and sold at Blue Knot Day events, or shared with family, friends and colleagues. Pins and bracelets are sold in packs of 5. Pins are $20 per pack and bracelets $25 per pack. 

Hold an event in your community
Blue Knot Day events include workplace morning teas, community barbecues, trivia nights, fun runs, faith-based events and fundraising luncheons. 

Events will be held nationally throughout Blue Knot Week (Monday 29 October – Sunday 4 November), including Rockhampton’s Blue Knot Day Community Morning Tea, featuring art, movement and yoga, which will be held at the Women's Health Centre in Rockhampton City, QLD, and a Blue Knot Day Charity Luncheon in Cranbourne, Victoria, featuring guest speaker Stacie Currie,  a “keynote speaker, successful businesswoman, mother of five and inspiration to thousands of people who have adopted her life lessons”. 

Blue Knot Day is held on the last Monday of each October. Blue Knot Day community events will be hosted across Australia from October 29-November 4. 

To find out more or to register a Blue Knot Day event in your community, go to:  https://www.blueknot.org.au/Blue-Knot-Day/Get-Involved/Hold-an-Event 


Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send in an email to a friend Share to LinkedIn

More Survivor Workshops

Survivor Workshops in Australia have been announced

Generous donations to our of end of financial year fundraising appeal in June have enabled us to schedule more Educational Survivor Workshops.

We have spaces available in the following workshops:

  • Brisbane : 16 February 2019
  • Canberra: 30 Mar 2019
  • Hobart : 6 Apr 2019
  • Perth : 25 May 2019

To register please click here

Blue Knot Foundation’s one day educational workshops are specifically designed for adults who have experienced childhood trauma and/or abuse. They provide information to help survivors feel safe, learn about caring for themselves as well as how to seek effective support.

Here’s what a couple of prior attendees said about their workshop experience:

I feel empowered to continue to seek help with my recovery. Have been given lots of ideas and resources to enable this. Thank you! – Anonymous, Launceston

I am so grateful for the generosity that was afforded to ensure I had such an engaging and uplifting experience. I learnt so much but I also felt a great deal in being less isolated in my experience- such an informative program delivered by such a skilled presenter. The Blue Knot Foundation is a gift of hope and healing to my life. I feel blessed. – Anonymous, Canberra

Survivor workshops are free but spaces fill quickly. For more information and to book your place, please click on the link or email training@blueknot.org.au or 02 8920 3611.

Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send in an email to a friend Share to LinkedIn



Who even am I? A ghost hunter investigates his own haunted childhood

The boy in the photo smiles through broken teeth. Over the years, his palate was smashed so badly that he required an emergency blood transfusion. His cheek was so scarred that kids at school called him Frankenstein. He suffered countless head injuries. Read more here.



Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send in an email to a friend Share to LinkedIn

Past demons haunt incredible and heartbreaking documentary

Ben Lawrence's debut documentary is simply remarkable – not just for the story, which tells of a man in western Sydney who hunts ghosts, most of them in his own past – but for the sensitivity with which Lawrence tells it. Read more here


Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send in an email to a friend Share to LinkedIn

South Australia one of the last states to remove time limits for child abuse compensation

South Australia has become one of the last states in the country to remove time limits on child abuse victims taking civil action against their abuser.. Read More

Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send in an email to a friend Share to LinkedIn

Share this newsletter Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via eMail Share on LinkedIn


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.

Latest Articles



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
Email: helpline@blueknot.org.au 
Hours: Mon-Sun, 9am-5pm AEST

For media comment, please contact:
Dr Cathy Kezelman
+61 425 812 197
+61 2 8920 3611
or ckezelman@blueknot.org.au

For media enquiries, please contact: 
Jo Scard
+61 457 725 953 
or jo@fiftyacres.com