This newsletter covers an update on the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme). It provides information on the National Memorial for Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, an update on institutions and recent Scheme data.
The update contains material that could be confronting or distressing. Sometimes words or images can cause sadness or distress or trigger traumatic memories, particularly for people who have experienced past abuse or childhood trauma.
National Memorial for Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse
As the Scheme goes into its third year of operation, the Australian Government has committed to investing $6.7 million from the 2020-21 Budget to establish a National Memorial for Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (the National Memorial) in Canberra, with completion expected in 2022.
The Government will commission the National Memorial and consult with Victims and Survivors on the memorial design, scope, and purpose of an educative component.
An online survey to give all Australians a chance to have input is now open, visit www.engage.dss.gov.au.
Everyone is encouraged to take part, particularly those with lived experience of institutional child sexual abuse. Your views will play an important role in acknowledging the impact of institutional child sexual abuse and contribute to healing and educating future generations. The survey is anonymous and is open until Sunday 22 November 2020.
The Scheme is continuously working with institutions that have been named in applications or identified by other means to encourage them to join and participate in the Scheme. To date the Commonwealth, all state and territory governments and 303 non-government institutions covering around 53,300 sites such as churches, schools, homes, charities and community groups across Australia are participating.
A total of 158 non-government institutions have committed to join and finalise on-boarding by no later than 31 December 2020.
Twenty years ago when I first disclosed to my family that I had been sexually abused by my brother as a child, I never would have guessed it would mark the beginning of a long, confusing struggle that would leave me feeling misunderstood, dismissed and even punished for choosing to address my abuse and its effects.
The response from my family did not start out this way. Initially, my mother said the words I needed to hear: she believed me, she was pained for both her children, and she was sorry. My brother acknowledged the truth and even apologized. But as I continued to heal and explore the abuse further, my family members began to push back in ways that hurt me deeply, and only became worse as the years went on.
Disclosure of sexual abuse can be the beginning of a whole second set of problems for survivors, when family members respond in ways that add new pain to old wounds. Healing from past abuse is made more difficult when one is emotionally injured again in the present, repeatedly, and with no guarantee that things will improve. Adding to this pain, family members’ responses often mirror aspects of the abuse itself, leading survivors to feel overpowered, silenced, blamed and shamed. And they may carry this pain alone, unaware that their situation is tragically common.
Here are seven ways that family members revictimize survivors:
1. Denying or minimizing the abuse
Many survivors never receive acknowledgement of their abuse. Family members may accuse them of lying, exaggerating or having false memories. This negation of a survivor’s reality adds insult to emotional injury as it reaffirms past experiences of feeling unheard, unprotected and overpowered.
One might assume, therefore that recognition of their abuse would go a long way toward helping survivors move forward with their families. That is one potential outcome. However, acknowledgement does not necessarily mean that families understand or are willing to recognize the impact of sexual abuse. Even when perpetrators apologize, survivors may be pressured not to talk about their abuse. In my case, I was chastised and directed to stop telling my brother that I needed him to understand and take responsibility for the lasting damage his actions caused me. While I appreciated the acknowledgement that I was telling the truth, my brother’s apology felt meaningless, and was negated by his actions afterward.
2. Blaming and shaming the victim
Placing blame on the survivor, whether overt or subtle, is a regrettably common response. Examples include questioning why victims did not speak up sooner, why they “let it happen,” or even outright accusations of seduction. This shifts the family’s focus onto the survivor’s behavior instead of where it belongs — on the perpetrator’s crimes. I experienced this when my brother lashed out at me, after I expressed anger toward him over the abuse, and told me that I was choosing to “be miserable.”
Embedded in societal attitudes, victim-blaming can be used as a tool to keep survivors quiet. Because sexual abuse victims often blame themselves and internalize shame, they are easily be devastated by these criticisms. It is vital, for survivors to understand that there is nothing anyone can do that makes them deserve to be abused.
3. Telling survivors to move on and stop focusing on the past
These messages are destructive and backwards. In order to heal, survivors need to be supported as they explore their trauma, examine its effects, and work through their feelings. Only by dealing with the abuse does the past begin to lose its power, allowing survivors to move forward. Pressuring survivors to “move on” is another way that family members avoid addressing the abuse.
4. Shutting down their voices
Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I had a recurring dream that I tried to make a phone call but couldn’t get a dial tone, connect the call, or find my voice. These dreams stopped once I began to consistently speak up for myself and I found people who wanted to hear me.
But as most of the behaviors on this list show, families often reject or ignore survivors’ stories of abuse as well as their feelings, needs, thoughts and opinions. Survivors may be accused of treating family members poorly because they call attention to the abuse, express their hurt and anger, or assert boundaries in ways they never could as children. They are often told to stop making trouble, when they are in fact pointing out trouble that has already been made.
5. Ostracizing survivors
Some families leave survivors out of family events and social gatherings, even while their abusers are included. This act has the effect (intended or not) to punish survivors for making others in the family uncomfortable, and is another example of the kind of upside-down thinking that unhealthy families engage in. As I know from several experiences in which I was not invited to my own mother’s birthday parties, the injustice of being excluded is extremely hurtful.
6. Refusing to “take sides”
Family members may claim they don’t want to take sides between survivor and perpetrator. However, staying neutral when one person has inflicted damage on another is choosing to be passive in the face of wrongdoing. Survivors, who were left unprotected in the past, need and deserve to be supported as they hold abusers accountable, and shield themselves and others from further harm. Family members may need to be reminded that the abuser committed hurtful acts against the survivor, and therefore neutrality is not appropriate.
7. Pressuring survivors to make nice with their abusers
I have no doubt that I would have been welcome at my mother’s birthday parties if I had been friendly to my brother and acted as if the abuse was merely water under the bridge. But of course, I was not willing to accept his refusal to respect my feelings or grasp the weight of what he had done to me.
Survivors should never be asked to face their perpetrators, especially for the sake of others’ feelings or in the interest of brushing abuse under the rug. Pressuring them to do so is an obvious repeat of the abuse of power that was exerted upon them at the time they were violated, and is therefore destructive and inexcusable.
There are many reasons family members respond in harmful ways, which may not be ill-intentioned or even conscious. Foremost is the need to maintain their denial about the sexual abuse. Other reasons include: concern about family appearance, awe or fear of the perpetrator, and complications posed by other problems within the family, such as domestic violence or substance abuse. Guilt for not recognizing the abuse at the time or for failing to stop it may also contribute to family members’ denial. Some may have a history of victimization in their own past which they are not able, or ready to address. And some family members may even be perpetrators themselves.
Faced with these types of behaviors, survivors may sometimes be tempted to give in simply to end the repercussions and avoid losing their families altogether. But whether or not survivors struggle against unhealthy dynamics and hurtful family reactions, they will continue to be affected by them. The pain of backlash from family is rarely as high a cost as the sacrifice of a survivor’s truth.
I know firsthand how painful this “second wound” can be. Had I been better prepared for what lay ahead after my disclosure, I might have been spared years of sadness, frustration and struggle against unchanging family dynamics. Fortunately, I have learned never to compromise what I know to be true, or what I deserve.
To viewers of this Blog, this is just letting you know that throughout our times with BBC – more, specialised help is becoming available! We’re not here, pretending to be anything official – yet this is the setting where we can be of most help. Recently, there’s been some extremely accurate articles. We apologise, if parts of these have caused distress to some – yet, now’s the time + place these (hidden) realities should be default with. Just as they should, with the remainder of our families. Not instantly (for some), yet gradually each of us should have an opportunity to discuss them with our families-companions-counsellors.
Recognizing common symptoms of childhood sexual abuse can help parents, caregivers, teachers, social workers, counselors and childcare staff alert the appropriate authorities and take proper steps to protect the welfare and safety of our children. It is far too often that I hear stories of adults, who fail to recognize that something is wrong with their child and attribute concerning changes in their kids’ behavior to temperament, age or other misguided explanations.
Because of this, I want to take a quick look at 11 common psychiatric symptoms experienced by victims of childhood sexual abuse but please keep in mind that this is not a diagnostic guide or a substitute for professional consultation. I have tried to clump together common symptoms that bring people (both children and adults) to the therapy office due to past history of childhood sexual abuse but this is by no means a comprehensive list and any of those symptoms taken separately may have other etiologies.
Depending on the age, specific nature of the sexual trauma and the temperament and coping skills of each person, the clinical presentation may look differently. If you have experienced any form of childhood trauma, abuse or neglect, you may identity with some of the behaviors and patterns discussed below. In that case, I would highly suggest seeking out some help.
1.Dissociation. Dissociation is probably the most common defense mechanism the mind employs to protect itself from the trauma of sexual assault. It is the escape of the mind from the body in times of extreme stress, sense of powerlessness, pain and suffering.
2. Self-Injurious Behavior (cutting, self-mutilation). Self-mutilation is another way survivors of trauma employ in an effort to cope with the experience of severe emotional and psychological pain. Some research shows that during cutting or self-mutilation, the brain releases natural opioids that provide a temporary experience or sense of calm and peace that many, who cut, find soothing.
3. Fear and anxiety. An overactive stress response system* is among the most common psychiatric symptoms in survivors of sexual trauma. This is manifested in extreme fear, social anxiety, panic attacks, phobias and hyper vigilance. It is as if the body is in a state of constant alert and cannot relax.
4. Nightmares. Just like the intrusive terrorizing memories of war veterans, survivors of sexual abuse often experience nightmares, intrusive thoughts and disrupted sleep.
5. Substance Abuse. Abusing substances is a common coping mechanism for people, who have experienced trauma. Even the “normal” experimentation with drugs of adolescence is not so “normal,” especially if you raised your kid to know the impact of drugs on the central nervous system, the consequences of addiction and the long-term effects of habitual drug use.
6. Hypersexualized behavior. This is a commonreaction to pre-mature sexual exposure or a traumatic sexual experience. If a child is too young to be excessively masturbating or is engaging in pre-mature sexual play or behavior, this is typically a sign that the child has witnessed, been a participant in or has been exposed to adult sexuality. In adolescence and adulthood, this can take the form of promiscuity, illegal sexual activity such as prostitution or participation in pornography, escort services, etc.
7. Psychotic-like symptoms. Paranoia, hallucinations or brief psychotic episodes are not uncommon for survivors of child sexual abuse.
8. Mood fluctuations, anger and irritability. Children are often unable to verbalize their feelings so instead, they act out on them. Sometimes, the same is true for adults. Mood fluctuations, irritability and disrupted neurotransmitter systems in the brain that present as depression, mania, anger and anxiety are common among trauma survivors.
9. Disrupted relationships and difficulties maintaining long-term friendships or romantic partners. Following the aftermath of sexual abuse, people are not experienced as safe, trustworthy and available so maintaining long-term relationships based on honestly is difficult and often tumultuous.
10. Regressive behaviors (mostly in children). Enuresis (bed wetting) and encopresis (involuntary soiling ones’ underwear with feces) in a previously potty-trained child, unexplained and sudden temper tantrums or violent outbursts, as well as clingy, uncontrollable or impulsive behaviors that were previously missing from a child’s way of being with others is another common indicator of something gone terribly wrong.
11. Physical complaints, psychosomatic symptoms or autoimmune responses of the body. Many clinicians from different schools of thought have written on the subject of the way the body stores and remembers trauma in response to the mind rejecting, forgetting or dissociating from the experience. Psychoanalysis terms these reactions “unconscious” as they express an experience out of language, out of words and often out of what is perceiveable by an individual.
When the unthinkable happens such as in several of the clinical cases described by Dr. Bruce Perry in his book “The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us about Loss, Love and Healing,” the mind copes by mobilizing the body to express something that is otherwise inexpressible with words. We see in Dr. Perry’s neuroscientific approach to the understanding and treatment of traumatized children how the physical brain responds to the experience of trauma and how the mind communicates and eventually heals from this experience in the safety of the therapeutic relationship.
*I am borrowing the term “overactive stress response system” from Dr. Bruce Perry’s book “The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us about Loss, Love and Healing.” Many of the symptoms I have listed in this post are also discussed in his book, including dissociation, self-mutilation and hyper sexualized behavior.
Bridget Sipera, a teacher at Camden Catholic High School in New Jersey, has been charged with sexually assaulting a male student less than half her age . The two repeatedly had sex over an 18 month period.
Western society tends to view sexual activity among teens as part of the natural process of development. We bombard teens with sexual images. Discouraging sex seems repressive to us.
While we may be protective toward our daughters, some of us actually cheer our sons on. Sex with a teacher is seen as the ultimate fantasy.
But there are serious dangers associated with early sexual activity. And sex between an adult and child is as damaging to boys as it is to girls.
Teens who engage in sex are likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors in adulthood .
They are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, and less likely to use condoms. This increases their chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or HIV, and having an unwanted pregnancy.
Ten million of the sexually transmitted diseases newly reported each year are acquired by young people between the ages of 15 and 24 . It bears mention that the brain is not fully developed till age 25.
Early exposure to sexual content can, also, give rise to sexual addiction [4A].
Best estimates are that 3% – 6% of American men suffer from sexual addiction . However, women can fall prey to sexual addiction, too.
Sexual addiction can destroy relationships, compromise finances, and contribute to criminality.
Typically, sexual addiction is characterized by one or more of the following [4B]:
reliance on pornography and/or prostitutes;
an endless succession of meaningless sexual encounters;
use of fetishes in place of human interaction;
sexual sadism or masochism.
Addicts persist in these behaviors despite the negative consequences.
In an attempt to better understand the underlying causes, some psychologists classify sexual addiction into categories . These categories help explain why certain individuals are more susceptible to sexual addiction than others. The categories can overlap.
Biological – Most sexual addiction has a biological component. Where the biological component is predominant, fantasy can supersede or replace relationships altogether. Triggers must be identified and carefully regulated, so that the brain can be retrained to new neural pathways. A sponsor who will hold the addict accountable for lapses can be beneficial.
Psychological – This form of sexual addiction is a reaction to childhood abuse or neglect. As many as 80% of sex addicts may fall into this category. For them, sex has become a maladaptive means of self-soothing. Their underlying psychological pain must be addressed before a healthy self-image can be re-established, more appropriate means of coping substituted, and the addiction overcome.
Trauma-Based – This form of sexual addiction is the direct result of sexual trauma in childhood or adolescence. Trauma drives the repetitive behavior. To heal, the addict must first make the connection between such trauma and his/her acting out. Suppressed feelings surrounding the trauma must be explored and resolved.
Mood Disorder – Sexual addiction can co-exist with anxiety and depression (as well as lead to those). Teens and young adults may use sex as a way of “managing” their mood disorder, and find themselves addicted to the sexual response.
Spiritual – This form of sexual addiction is an attempt to fill an emptiness inside only God can fill. As the philosopher/mathematician/scientist/theologian Blaise Pascal put it, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”
That sexual addiction is a challenging and tenacious disorder does not absolve sex addicts of the harm they inflict on others.
 National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, PubMed Central, “Understanding and Managing Compulsive Sexual Behaviors” by Timothy Fong MD, November 2006, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945841/.
• The word ‘trauma’ describes events and experiences which are so stressful that they are overwhelming. • The word ‘trauma’ also describes the impacts of the experience/s. The impacts depend on a number of factors. • People can experience trauma at any age. Many people experience trauma across different ages. • Trauma can happen once, or it can be repeated. Experiences of trauma are common and can have many sources. • Trauma can affect us at the time it occurs as well as later. If we don’t receive the right support, trauma can affect us right through our life. • We all know someone who has experienced trauma. It can be a friend, a family member, a colleague, or a client… or it can be us. • It can be hard to recognise that a person has experienced trauma and that it is still affecting them. • Trauma is often experienced as emotional and physical harm. It can cause fear, hopelessness and helplessness. • Trauma interrupts the connections (‘integration’) between different aspects of the way we function. • Trauma can stop our body systems from working together. This can affect our mental and physical health and wellbeing.
• While people who experience trauma often have similar reactions, each person and their experience is unique. • Trauma can affect whole communities. It can also occur between and across generations, e.g. the trauma of our First Nations people. • For our First Nations people, colonisation and policies such as the forced removal of children shattered important bonds between families and kin and damaged people’s connection to land and place. • Many different groups of people experience high levels of trauma. This includes refugees and asylum seekers, as well as women and children. This is not to deny that many men and boys also experienced trauma. • Certain life situations and difference can make trauma more common. People with disability of all ages experience and witness trauma more often than people without disability. LGBTQI people also experience high levels of trauma which is often due to discrimination.
“If a community values its children, it must cherish their parents” – John Bowlby, 1951
At Beacon House, we are passionate about working with networks who are supporting families at risk of breakdown, where children are identified as being ‘In Need’ or meeting criteria for child protection procedures. We also sometimes work directly with families (or their professional networks) where care proceedings have been initiated, where the parties are open in principle to supporting therapeutic intervention prior to a final hearing. Please note that this sometimes requires an extension to standard timescales, as long as this is safe for the child.
The role that we take is somewhat different from that of an independent expert; we commence every piece of work with an overarching question of “What would need to be put in place for everyone in this family to be safe, and have their needs well met?”
Our work is inspired and shaped by the pioneering writing and research of Dr Patricia Crittenden. Crittenden’s key text, ‘Raising Parents’, shines a light on attachment throughout the lifespan, and the impact of parents’ own early years and developmental experiences on their capacity to safely parent their own children.
“Supporting – cherishing – parents is central to caring for their children. Doing so makes emotional sense, functional sense, and economic sense; parents are the only resource that is never cut back. Moreover, they are the architects of society; let’s value all parents and assist those that need help”
Patricia Crittenden, 2008.
We offer three different pathways for families at risk of breakdown – all with a primary focus of meeting the emotional and psychological needs of the caregiver, and facilitating them to do the same for their children:
Case Consultation to the Allocated Social Worker
Case Consultation to the Professional Network
Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment
Consultation to the Allocated Social Worker
Why choose this?
This option is useful when:
There are parts of a family’s situation that are difficult to understand
There are multiple significant needs, and it is difficult to know which to prioritise
Things feel ‘stuck’, or expected change is not happening
It is difficult to accurately assess risk
Aspects of the case are having a powerful impact upon the allocated worker
What is involved?
Key background reading is undertaken by the consulting Psychologist (e.g. chronology, PAMS assessment, assessments by other mental health professionals).
The Allocated Social Worker meets with the consulting Psychologist (either at one of our clinics, or the Social Worker’s usual base), and is guided through the process of developing a trauma and attachment informed, psychological formulation of the case.
The Social Worker is supported to connect with the emotional and psychological impact of the case for them, and thus, understand the ‘helping’ attachment relationship more deeply. This understanding is incorporated in to the formulation.
What happens next?
Initial recommendations are shared during the consultation session. Recommendations are likely to include:
Attachment and trauma informed strategies for working with the family
Priority needs to be addressed (i.e. those most likely to result in timely change)
How to sequence interventions
How to optimise the attachment relationship between parents and professionals
A written case formulation will be provided by the consulting Psychologist within two weeks of the consultation.
Case Consultation to the Professional Network
Why choose this?
This is a useful option when:
A case is complex, with the potential for risk of harm to children or young people is significant, and a number of different agencies are involved
There are parts of a case that are difficult to understand, and there is a lack of consensus within the professional network
There are multiple significant needs that require the input of a large number of professionals, and it is difficult to know which to prioritise
The professional network is not working as effectively together as everyone would like
Professionals, and the family, feel stuck and frustrated
Aspects of the case are having a powerful impact upon the all of the professionals involved, which may be manifesting as difficulties in relationships between professionals
What is involved?
Key background reading is undertaken by the consulting Psychologist (e.g. chronology, PAMS assessment, assessments by other mental health professionals)
The entire professional network meets with the consulting Psychologist (either at one of our clinics, or a convenient location for the network), and is guided through the process of developing a trauma and attachment informed, psychological formulation of the case.
Considerable time is dedicated to supporting the entire professional network to connect with the emotional and psychological impact of the case for each individual, and the network as a whole. The patterns of survival, defence, attachment, resilience and compassion within the team will be ‘brought to life’ in the room, and the network will be supported to observe these patterns with acceptance, curiosity and respect. This understanding is incorporated into the formulation.
What happens next?
We ask professional networks to approach these consultations with openness, honesty and self-reflection. Therefore, we do not minute or record what is shared.
In the final part of the meeting, the consulting Psychologist will facilitate the network to bring their reflections together in to a clear and concise plan for future working.
Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment
Why choose this?
Empirical evidence tells us that the most powerful way to meet the emotional and psychological needs of a child is to meet the emotional and psychological needs of their caregiver. Creating a safe and secure care environment in the home has more profound and long-lasting impact than any individual therapy provision or even a number of discrete therapies.
Working alongside West Sussex County Council, we have developed a specialism in meeting the therapeutic needs of vulnerable parents. Often, parents come to us with a history of significant adversity, disruption, loss and trauma. They may have been removed from their own birth family. They may have insecure and mistrustful attachments with professional caregivers. They may find it difficult to relate openly to ‘help’, as help may feel threatening, overwhelming, or confusing.
A Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment may be appropriate when there is a recognition that a parent’s own psychological and emotional vulnerabilities are serving to inhibit their capacity to parent their own children in the way that they would want to. We are very happy to work alongside statutory services to proactively engage parents who are anxious, ambivalent or unsure.
What is involved?
We commence all of our assessments with a professional network meeting. It is really important for parents to know that all of the professionals around them are working together in a joined-up way, and that there is an overall commitment to supporting them therapeutically. This meeting happens with the knowledge of the parent, but they would not usually be in attendance. This is an opportunity for professionals to share both their concerns and their hopes.
Following this, we would typically undertake any background reading, and meet with the parent over two to three hours to complete a clinical interview and administer psychological measures. Our aim is to develop a psychological ‘formulation’ of the parent’s difficulties, both as an adult in their own right, and as a parent. This involves developing an understanding of:
The parent’s own early years environment, early experiences of care, and developmental experiences.
The story of the parent’s key transitional stages (e.g. childhood to adolescence, adolescence to adulthood).
Understanding any significant life events, including the experience of becoming a parent.
A detailed picture of how difficulty and distress impact upon daily life, including the challenges of parenting.
The factors that seem to make things worse, or stop them from getting better.
How the parent experiences ‘help’, in the context of their own attachment pattern, and how they relate to professional caregivers.
The parent’s strengths, resources, skills and qualities.
All of this information is then brought together, underpinned by psychological theory and research evidence. We draw upon this understanding to generate our therapeutic recommendations for the parent.
What happens next?
Our assessment letter will be ready within three weeks of the last assessment appointment. This letter will include our formulation, and detailed recommendations for the type of therapeutic intervention that we think would be most helpful. We will invite the parent and allocated Social Worker to come back to meet with us face-to-face, to share our formulation and therapeutic recommendations. We usually conduct this meeting in two parts, allowing the parent to be the first person that our feedback is shared with.
Where therapeutic intervention is recommended, a phased programme will be devised, allowing the commissioning service to regularly review progress before commissioning the next phase. Please see ‘How will progress be reviewed?’
The psychological interventions that we use with vulnerable parents include:
Cognitive Analytic Therapy
Comprehensive Resource Model
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing
Internal Family Systems Therapy
Mentalization Based Treatment
If, as part of a Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment, it becomes clear that the parent-child relationship could be further supported by a dyadic intervention, this will form part of our recommendations. Most often, individual intervention with parents will be sequenced to take place before their child is brought into a therapeutic space with them.
How will progress be reviewed?
Therapeutic progress is something which is continually reviewed throughout the intervention. During the feedback and treatment planning meeting with the parent and Social Worker, the intervals for review will be agreed. Review can take the form of a telephone call between therapist and Social Worker, a written report, or a professional’s review meeting.
Alongside this, we have three main ways that we evaluate therapeutic progress:
During the Therapeutic Needs Assessment, the parent will be asked to fill out a number of questionnaires, which will be re-administered at the end of each piece of work.
At the start of the therapeutic intervention, the parent will be asked to identify three therapeutic goals, and scale them to show how well they feel they are achieving those goals. We will review these goals and the scaling at the end of therapy.
At the end of therapy, both parent and referrer will be asked to tell us how satisfied you feel with your experience of coming to Beacon House, and whether you feel the difficulties you have been working on have improved.
How do I make a referral?
You can request a referral form by contacting the clinic on 01444 413939. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please specify which service you are requesting: case consultation, professional network case consultation, or therapeutic needs assessment and your preference of whether the work should take place from our Cuckfield or Chichester clinic. If you are unsure of the right option, please feel free to request a free of charge initial telephone conversation with Dr Laura France, Adult Services Lead, to help you to select the most appropriate service.
Your referral form and supporting documentation will be reviewed by our Adult Services Lead, who will then provide an estimate within three working days. We are usually able to commence work immediately on the receipt of a Purchase Order number. We do not have a waiting list and can usually organise the first appointment within two weeks.
Our commitment to working therapeutically with parents is rooted in our commitment to the safety, protection and well-being of children. Please see our Safeguarding Policy here.
(Please do not send Post or attend for Therapy) Registered Name Beacon House Psychological Services Ltd Registered in England and Wales. Registered Address AD5 Littlehampton Marina, Ferry Road, Littlehampton BN17 5DS Registered No: 09205920Chichester 01243 219 900Cuckfield 01444 413 939Enquiry: Message Us
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronvirus), Blue Knot have prepared some fact sheets to help members of the community, as well as health professionals take care of themselves and others during this challenging time.
Here at Blue Knot Foundation, we will continue to provide as many of our usual services as we can. As the health and wellbeing of our staff is our absolute priority we are rapidly transitioning our teams to working from home. We will still deliver all of our counselling services – Blue Knot Helpline and redress application support as well as the National Counselling and Referral Service supporting people affected by or engaging with the Disability Royal Commission. Our counselling services will maintain the high degree of professionalism, privacy and confidentiality currently provided. Should there be any disruptions to our services during this transitions, we anticipate that they will be minor and temporary. Our focus is for our trauma specialist counsellors to continue to provide the counselling, support and information currently provided through all the usual numbers and channels (see below for further information).
We will also continue to disseminate our monthly Breaking Free and quarterly Blue Knot Review publications as always. Blue Knot will be additionally releasing new publications and fact sheets in the coming months, including resources related to caring for ourselves during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Ongoing Counselling and Support Services
Call 1300 657 380 Mon-Sun between 9-5 AEDT to reach our Blue Knot Helpline and redress services.
Call 1800 421 468 to reach our National Counselling and Referral Service (supporting the Disability Royal Commission) or go here and to find out the other ways with which you can connect with this service.
The Australian Government has released an official app with the information you need to know about Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Psychologists at California State University, Northridge, studied 234 professional performers, looking for a reason why mental health disorders are so common in the performing arts.
“The notion that artists and performing artists suffered more pathology, including bipolar disorder, troubled us,” dance coordinator and psychologist Paula Thomson, a co-author on the new study, told Psypost.
“No one seemed willing to also include the effects of early childhood adversity and adult trauma and its influence on creativity and psychopathology.”
The study examined 83 actors, directors, and designers; 129 dancers; and 20 musicians and opera singers. These study participants filled out self-report surveys pertaining to childhood adversity, sense of shame, creative experiences, proneness to fantasies, anxiety, and level of engagement in an activity.
The participants were able to be categorised into three groups: those who reported a high level of childhood adversity; those who had experienced a lower or medium level; and those who had experienced little to none.null
It’s the high-level group that demonstrated the greater extremes. These performing artists had much higher anxiety, much more internalised shame, and reported more cumulative past traumatic events. They were also more prone to fantasies.
But they also seemed more connected with the creative process, the researchers said. They were more aware of it, and reported feeling more absorbed in it. They reported heightened awareness of a state of inspiration and a sense of discovery during the process.
They were also able to move more easily between the state of absorption and a more distant state for critical awareness, and were more receptive to art.
“Lastly,” the researchers wrote, “[this] group identified greater appreciation for the transformational quality of creativity, in particular, how the creative process enabled a deeper engagement with the self and world. They recognised that it operated as a powerful force in their life.”
Obviously the study has caveats, as self-reported studies can be prone to personal bias. Also, since it was limited to performing artists, comparisons couldn’t easily be made with other subsets of the population.
Nevertheless, the finding, the researchers said, may indicate that adult performers who have experienced childhood adversity are better able to recognise and value the creative process; and the ability of that group to enjoy the creative process could indicate resilience.
“We are saddened by the number of participants in our study who have suffered multiple forms of childhood adversity as well as adult assaults (both sexual and non-sexual),” Thomson told Psypost.
“So many participants in our sample have experienced poly-traumatization and yet they also embrace their passion for performance and creativity. They are embracing ways to express all that is human.”