Exposure to trauma is common in childhood and there is increasing interest in the link between chronic pain and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in the paediatric pain literature [1]. With children now exposed to trauma from a variety of sources, health care organisations could benefit from routinely screening children presenting with complex pain issues for prior traumatic events. This blog by Dr. Cathy Kezelman, president of The Blue Knot Foundation, highlights the importance of trauma informed health care for children. The blog concludes with informative insights from APS member, Lester Jones.

Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM is a medical practitioner, mental health consumer advocate, Blue Knot Foundation President, past director of the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC), foundation member of the national Trauma Informed Care and Practice Advisory working Group, member of the Mental Health Community Advisory Council (NSW), member of the Advisory Panel of Tzedek, member of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Task Force on Child Protection and member of the Commonwealth Redress Advisory Council.
Under her stewardship Blue Knot Foundation has grown from a peer support organisation to a leading national organisation combining a prominent consumer voice with that of researchers, academics and clinicians advocating for socio-political change and informed responsiveness to complex trauma. She is a prominent voice in the media and at conferences, as well as author of a memoir chronicling her journey of recovery from child sexual abuse: Innocence Revisited- a tale in parts. She is co-author of the Blue Knot Foundation documents – Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service DeliveryThe Cost of Unresolved Childhood Trauma and Abuse in Adults in Australia and Trauma and the Law: Applying trauma informed practice to legal and judicial contexts.

Blog preview:

Childhood abuse can have a multitude of negative health implications, and, as well as affecting an individual’s mental health and social development, has been linked to chronic pain later in life. Kelli Hooks reports on the long-term sequelae of child abuse and the importance of trauma-informed practice.

According to figures from the Blue Knot Foundation, one in every four Australians is a survivor of childhood trauma, including abuse. Recent research undertaken by the Foundation found that more than 80 per cent of those who suffered abuse as a child – including sexual, physical, emotional or neglect – experience multiple health consequences as a result.

Blue Knot Foundation President Dr Cathy Kezelman AM notes that alongside the significant mental health implications of childhood trauma, including a high prevalence of conditions such as anxiety and depression, as well as negative impacts on interpersonal relationships, childhood abuse can also have profound physical health repercussions in adulthood. Physical implications may stem from coping strategies deployed around the time of the abuse or may be indicative of unresolved trauma.

This article has been sourced from Blue Knot Foundation and has been reproduced with their permission.

The full version can be found here: http://www.blueknot.org.au/ABOUT-US/Media/Blog/ID/62/Trauma-informed-care-as-published-in-the-APA-Journal-of-Physiotherapy

  1. Holley, A.L., et al., Post-traumatic stress symptoms in children and adolescents with chronic pain: A topical review of the literature and a proposed framework for future research. Eur J Pain, 2016. 20(9): p. 1371-83.

About Australian Pain Society

The Australian Pain Society is a multidisciplinary body aiming to relieve pain and related suffering through leadership in clinical practice, education, research and public advocacy.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s