Coping Strategies

Sexual violence can have significant physical, psychological, and emotional effects on a survivor. These effects aren’t always easy to deal with, but with the right help, support, and coping strategies they can be managed. If you are currently struggling or waiting on a counselling appointment here are some resources to help begin the healing process or at least cope with how you might be feeling right now.

The first thing that can be helpful is understanding the effects of trauma. Here is a short video that explains how trauma can affect the brain and our responses to traumatic situations:

Grounding techniques

After we experience a trauma, it’s normal to have flashbacks, anxiety, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Grounding techniques help control these symptoms by turning attention away from thoughts, memories, or worries, and refocusing on the present moment. Here are a few different grounding techniques you might find helpful:

5-4-3-2-1 Technique

Using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, you will purposefully take in the details of your surroundings using each of your senses. Strive to notice small details that your mind would usually tune out, such as distant sounds, or the texture of an ordinary object. 


Choose at least three of the categories and name as many items as you can in each one. Spend a few minutes on each category to come up with as many items as possible.

Movies  TV Shows Animals
Cars Colours Cities
Foods Countries Singers


Body Awareness

The body awareness technique will bring you into the here-and-now by directing your focus to sensations in the body. Pay special attention to the physical sensations created by each step.

Mental Exercises

Use mental exercises to take your mind off uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. They are discreet and easy to use at nearly any time or place. Experiment to see which work best for you.


If you are in distress and need help now, you can call the Pieta House 24 hour helpline at 1800 247 247 or call Samaritans at 116 123. If you are in crisis and you find yourself in an emergency situation, visit your closest A&E and tell them you need help.