Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Peer Support Volunteers are selected based on their capacity to maintain professional standards of care. This means they must pass strict selection criteria in relation to their mental, social and emotional health according to our psychologists.
Peer Support Volunteers who meet our strict selection criteria must have completed at least one healing program, a residential training week, and 45 hours of observational learning before they can begin providing supervised peer support on healing programs. Each volunteer must also complete their Trauma-Informed Theory and Practice Certificate within the first 12 months of providing support as a volunteer. Each of the modules in the certificate is conducted onsite, under professional supervision from qualified counsellors and psychologists. Read more about our education for Peer Support Volunteers.
Our safety policy specifies that guests and staff are not permitted to share stories of their trauma or abuse while on a program. This prevents the risk of vicarious trauma and re-traumatisation, or the potential “spread of memories.”
While we agree that it is important for survivors to share their story for therapeutic purposes, we believe the story is only useful to the extent that it allows the guests to feel the feelings that must be released for the guest to move on. Once the emotions have been released, we believe it does not serve the guests to repeat the story as this increases the risk of re-traumatising the guest.
If a guest wishes to disclose their story to staff or volunteers the role of the staff member is simply to listen and validate. We do not interpret the survivor’s story rather we encourage the survivors to focus on the emotions, rather than the story itself.
At Heal For Life, validation of survivors is a critical part of our recovery model as healing can only occur in an environment that is emotionally safe. Acceptance and non-judgment are critical for guests to experience a sense of emotional safety.
Yes. All programs are supervised by Registered Psychologists.
No. Our organisation is founded on Christian principles, however we are non-religious and welcome guests from all faiths. You do not have to “be spiritual” to gain benefit from a Heal For Life program however spirituality is evidenced to have a therapeutic benefit in the healing process so guests who have some sort of spiritual belief of faith are encouraged to embrace their own beliefs as part of healing. Any specific prayer or religious needs can be catered for at Heal For Life.
Heal For Life is not responsible for administering medication or other medical care. If you are taking medication please do not bring all of it. Just bring enough for your travel to and from Heal for Life and what you need during the week (eg. Epipen, paracetamol, antibiotics, prescription medications, asthma puffers, cough/cold tablets or allergy tablets). PLEASE DO NOT come off prescription medication without medical supervision before coming here or during your stay. If you are suffering severe side-effects from medication and/or you are finding it difficult to ‘feel’ anything, it may be better to postpone your visit until your dosage is at a level where you can feel your emotions. Any questions about your medication should be discussed with your doctor.
No. Heal For Life is not a medical facility and cannot be responsible for administering medication or other medical care. In the case of an emergency, our team are trained in first aid and if necessary an ambulance can be called. If you have had recent trauma, an injury, have just been in hospital, have an unstable medical condition or have medical/dental surgery due, please postpone your Healing Week until you have fully recovered.
Yes. Guests are free to leave the premises at any stage during a program. However, if a guest chooses to leave during a program, they are not permitted to reenter the program. No refunds will be issued to guests who choose to leave, or who are asked to leave due to breaking safety agreements.
Yes. All guests are required to sign a safety agreement before being accepted on a program and will participate in a boundary setting exercise at the outset of the program where all guests will specify what they need to feel safe. It is the responsibility of each member of the group to be respectful of each person’s needs. If a conflict arises, the facilitator will support guests to resolve any differences. However, if a clear breach of the safety agreement by any individual guest occurs, they may be asked to leave. In this event, no refund will be issued.
Our model is based on the latest neuroscientific research and a number of evidence-based therapeutic approaches. Independent evaluation has found that our program is responsible for long-term, statistically significant improvements in mental health, emotional and social functioning and improved pain and vitality scores. It is aligned with recommendations from the Australian Centre for Post Traumatic Mental Health whose literature review and recommendations were also endorsed by the National Mental Health and Medical Research Council, the Royal Australian College of Psychiatrists and the Australian Psychological Society.
We continue to seek opportunities to further evaluate the effectiveness of our programs and welcome enquiries from research institutions who are interested in partnering with us.
Childhood trauma and abuse are extremely common. You can read some of the statistics in Our Impact.
Heal For Life complies with the QIC Health and Community Service Standards. The QIC Standards focus on the delivery of services with an emphasis on community contexts, in accordance with sound management principles, legal requirements, strengthening of external partnerships and positive outcomes. QIP accreditation against the QIC Standards is more than a compliance-based program; it recognises strengths and areas for improvement, helping organisations to identify quality improvement priorities.
No. A Heal For Life program is just one part of a holistic approach to mental health recovery. It does not replace therapy and should be undertaken alongside counselling or psychological support. We work with other health professionals to holistically support their clients.
Self-harm is a way some people abuse themselves. Our program is designed to help people find other healthy coping mechanisms. There is a strict no self-harm policy that all guests and staff must adhere to. Guests are encouraged to discuss all thoughts of self-harm with staff. If a guest self-harms, they may be asked to leave the program immediately. If any staff member were to self-harm, they would be immediately referred to the supervising psychologist and relieved of their duties until it has been determined by our supervising psychologists that they are fit to work and uphold the policies and procedures they are bound by.