Who we are
We’re here because we’ve experienced first-hand the transformational power of healing from childhood trauma, and we genuinely care about helping others to experience their own healing too.
Our team is diverse, from peer workers and youth workers to psychologists and counsellors, to academics and administrators. We are united by a shared experience of childhood trauma.
As an organisation, we understand the challenges that every survivor must face on this journey and offer compassion and total acceptance to every survivor who comes to Heal For Life.
We know healing is a process and our collective understanding, experience and expertise allows us to provide a warm and safe environment for people to begin to heal. A place where they can start to feel optimistic about the possibilities the future holds and begin to heal for life.
Many survivors say that attending a Heal for Life retreat is the first time they’ve felt safe in their whole lives.
We know that healing can only happen when we feel safe, so we focus on radical acceptance, validation, understanding and care in all that we do.
We support survivors to be the hero of their own story. We believe every survivor knows what they need in order to heal.
Our role is to empower survivors with the knowledge, tools, and self-belief they need to heal themselves.
We know healing is possible for everyone because we are survivors who have healed our childhood trauma.
We believe every challenge is an opportunity to grow and that all survivors can experience the true meaning of safety, love and belonging.
What we do
Everything we do is about supporting survivors to heal and have hope that they can be free of the pain of their childhood.
Over 20 years, we have collaborated and learned from thousands of survivors about what research-based methods, strategies and tools work best to help survivors of childhood trauma to heal.
Over this period of time, our programs have been tested, evaluated and improved to ensure we positively impact survivors who brave enough to embark on their own healing journey.
We’ve empowered over 8,500 survivors to heal themselves, we train professionals to be trauma-informed and therapists how to use our model, and we’ve shared our research and learnings at international conferences alongside other global trauma experts.
The greatest problem for survivors of childhood trauma is learning how to identify emotional triggers caused by childhood trauma and deactivate the survival response.
Neuroscience informs us this response is automatic and the primary cause of behavioural and emotional problems for survivors of trauma.
- To be a centre of excellence for healing from childhood trauma, depression and anxiety.
- To be a valuable resource for survivors and their families, available through all media forms.
- To assist survivors of childhood trauma without discrimination by age, gender, sexuality, physical ability, spiritual beliefs or cultural background.
- To have all healing programs run by survivors of childhood trauma.
- To have survivor-facilitators of the highest professional standards, supported by committed loving trained peer support volunteers.
- To have a nationally-accredited training course for survivors, so Heal For Life Foundation philosophies can influence the way victims of child abuse and childhood trauma are healed.
- To encourage change in the way parenting and child-rearing is approached in Australia.
- To change the way perpetrators are treated in this country, showing a more compassionate view than that currently encouraged.
- To operate an effective outreach program.
- To promote a better understanding of the effects of childhood trauma and abuse, encouraging people to see the connection between diagnoses such as Depression, Anxiety, Suicidal thoughts and their childhood.
- To facilitate the program within Indigenous communities.
When Liz Mullinar began recovering memories of childhood abuse in 1993 she found that few services existed which understood her need or those of other survivors.
In response to the lack of services Liz, and her husband Rod Phillips, helped found a nationwide charity ASCA (Advocates For Survivors of Child Abuse – now Blue Knot Foundation). ASCA was dedicated to raising awareness of child abuse and providing advocacy and support for survivors.
Over this time, Liz found the experiences of survivors and their innate knowledge of what they needed to do to heal were at odds with mainstream professional advice of the time. She had found that the one-hour a week counselling appointment, while very helpful, was a very difficult format to allow the release of deep emotions connected to childhood trauma within such a limited time frame and in a space that belonged to the counsellor and so did not feel totally safe.
As the organisation grew, the need for a Healing Centre to help survivors became apparent. Liz and her husband Rod started looking for land halfway between Sydney and Newcastle and in 1996 they found and purchased 200 acres at Quorrobolong, near Cessnock in New South Wales, Australia and founded the Heal For Life Foundation in 1999.