Child abuse – recovery

It is estimated that 4-5 million Australian adults have been victims of child abuse. We speak to Dr. Cathy Kezelman whose organization is advocating for the needs of these victims.
BY MINDFOOD | AUG 31, 2012


TED Global entry – The Trauma of Child Abuse

Below is the script for a video recorded for TED Global auditions, youtube link to the video as well as an article from Sydney Morning Herald related to the TED competition

“Do you know that the biggest public health issue of our times is the trauma of child abuse?

It affects one in five adults in our society and causes ‘long-term disease, disability, chronic social problems and early death’. And yet the issue is treated with a deafening silence.

Traumatic amnesia related to child abuse is not only experienced by survivors, but also collectively by communities.

I know because I’m a survivor, a medical practitioner and President of ASCA, where I help thousands of survivors.

New insights from neuropasticity research have brought hope and optimism. The brain can change and repair itself; people can recover. We need to translate this research into practice.

But first we need to shift attitudes. Just as child abuse survivors need to challenge their thinking and behaviours towards recovery so too do our policy makers and systems of care.

I want to create this change and bring health and wellbeing to people and communities affected by the trauma of child abuse.”


Presentation – complex trauma

The following presentation was given at Inaugural Conference, Westmead Psychotherapy Program for Complex Traumatic Disorders, 10th November 2011. It is available on registration at psychevisual


This presentation, “Responding to the needs of consumers with complex trauma histories a consumer perspective” focuses on the needs of adult survivors of child abuse, highlighting the frequent failures of the current system to identify them and respond appropriately. Using her personal journey of recovery from complex trauma at the core of which is childhood abuse, Cathy explores the distinguishing features of complex trauma presentations. In so doing she stresses the need to respond holistically to each person with full awareness of their lived experience. She highlights the need for the research of the last thirty years to be incorporated into practice with a trauma-informed approach to care bringing better outcomes for consumers with complex trauma histories.

Asking the question: What happened to you?


The following is an interview I and a fellow speaker, Janey Kelf were involved  on April 30th as part of a 24 hour talk-athon “breaking the silence”

Asking the Question: “What Happened to You?”


in HealthAirdate: Sat, Apr 30, 2011 follow

Understand how the standard medical model of diagnosis often fails to heal patients by focusing on the obvious symptoms rather than the underlying cause. You’ll receive an introduction to the idea of trauma-informed care and practice across service systems. Join our host, Diane Cranley, as she talks with Dr. Cathy Kezelman – medical practitioner, CEO of ASCA Australian national charity, Director of MHCC (Mental Health Coordinating Council NSW); Janey Kelf – Counselor with an interest in the creative arts and the politics of childhood abuse survival.