Everyone has the right to heal from childhood trauma
Our residential trauma programs empower you with the knowledge and tools you need to heal and find hope and joy in your everyday life.
We understand what it takes to heal
Our programs are unique because they are run by survivors of childhood trauma for survivors of childhood trauma.
Each of the extensively-trained peer support volunteers and facilitators has experienced childhood trauma and wants to help you on your healing journey.
We truly understand the devastating impact that childhood trauma has on your life, and what it takes to heal.
Adult Healing Week - 5-day residential program
You will be supported to begin to heal, and empowered with the knowledge and tools you need to overcome the pain of childhood trauma and recover joy and hope in your life
Our highly successful residential trauma programs have been developed by combining the latest scientific research on the effects of trauma on the brain with experience and knowledge gained from over two decades of providing support to survivors. We share with you what we know and support you to begin the process of healing.
It is not important to have any prior knowledge about healing from childhood trauma in order to benefit from our program. It’s designed to be one of self-discovery and you’ll be encouraged to trust in your own wisdom and do what is right for you.
The adult healing program is run in groups with a maximum number of 12 people, however, all of our work is done independently and we do not share stories of what happened to us with the wider group.
Who can we help?
The Heal for Life residential trauma healing program is for anyone who is experiencing pain or challenges from something that happened in their childhood, and who is ready to heal.
Heal For Life welcomes you whatever your gender, sexual orientation, race, culture, spiritual beliefs or ability. We will not impose our beliefs on any guest, nor will we judge anyone who attends our programs.
All we ask is that you come with a willingness to heal and an openness of heart towards the other guests.
How our residential trauma programs work
We provide a safe environment to help you get in touch with, and heal, your inner self – the part of you that is carrying the impact of the trauma you survived.
Our main focus is teaching you valuable tools that will help you to heal from traumatic events in childhood. Once you’ve learnt and practiced using the tools during your healing week you can take them home with you to continue helping and empowering yourself.
Our approach to healing goes beyond simply ‘managing’ the symptoms of your trauma, and empowers you to heal the root cause of emotional and behavioural patterns at a neurobiological level.
The Heal For Life Adult Healing Program works because we help you understand why you feel and act the way you do, and we teach you the skills and tools to de-trigger and heal trauma memories yourself, so that you can navigate day-to-day life from an empowered place.
We support you to empower yourself to heal
Many survivors of childhood trauma or abuse experience a sense of freedom and empowerment when they discover that they intuitively know what they need to do in order to heal.
Our approach to healing recognises that you have everything you need in order to heal, and empowers you to lead your own healing process. That may be difficult to accept because our trauma has led to so much disempowerment, but we have found it to be absolutely true. We are the experts for our own healing.
You may also come to a deeper understanding, appreciation and love of yourself through the validation, understanding and acknowledgment of the group. This may be a very new experience for you. Participating in a loving community also helps build your self-esteem, self-respect and often provides a renewed feeling of self-worth.
Healing takes everything you've got, but you've got everything it takes to heal
Upcoming residential trauma program dates
The Adult Healing Program is run monthly in the Hunter Valley, NSW.
Each healing week will begin on a Sunday afternoon at 4pm and end on Friday at 3pm.
2nd-7th Feb 2020 (FULL)
23rd-28th Feb 2020 (FULL)
22nd-27th Mar, 2020
19th-24th Apr, 2020
Where is the program located?
Healing can only take place in an environment that is both physically and emotionally safe.
Our residential healing programs are located on a private property in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia.
Being residential means you will have the time and space to allow yourself to be vulnerable to process your emotions and trauma.
Blessed by aboriginal elders and gifted in perpetuity, our property Mayumarri was chosen to ensure a safe space for survivors.
Adult Healing Centre
Info and logistics
All participants are responsible for the costs of travel to and from Heal for Life and need to bring food for meals during the week. This is an important aspect of the program as it is about communing, contributing and compromising with the group.
When you register for one of our residential trauma programs we will provide you with a confirmation email providing more information on what to bring, and a map with directions to the venue.
The food will be prepared and cooked by those in the group who volunteer to do that. If you do not want to cook you may volunteer for other activities like washing up after meals.
The following fee covers the program and 5 nights of shared accommodation in the Hunter Valley, NSW.
We wish to keep our program as affordable as possible for all guests, we trust you will opt to pay the fee that best meets your financial situation.
The cost of the program is $1200 including accommodation. When we receive your application, we will confirm your registration by calling you to process your payment via credit card over the phone.
We are committed to making this program accessible for all those who need healing, when they need it.
A range of options can be discussed to help those we cannot afford the program or who are undergoing financial hardship. Payment plans and concession rates are available. Paid subsidies may apply to you.
Please continue to apply for the program and we will discuss your circumstances privately over the phone.
FAQs about the Adult Healing Program
Our facilitators have tertiary level qualifications in counselling or psychology and are also survivors of childhood trauma. All of our programs are supervised by our Registered Psychologists.
We are a non-profit organisation, and registered charity. Our mission is to ensure our programs are accessible so everyone who needs healing can afford the program.
Our entire organisation is independently audited and accredited by the Quality Improvement Council.
Heal For Life Foundation offers you the opportunity to find community, and to build friendships with other survivors. Living in community means you will be sharing a room with a maximum of 2 others and bathroom facilities with up to 5 other people in your cabin; preparing, eating and clearing away main meals together. You will work together around the property each day for 1.5 hours , and support each other to create a safe place for all members of the group. How much you choose to share with other guests is up to you, however, please know the focus of the week is not to ‘swap stories’ but to spend time focusing within, feeling your feelings and healing in your own way. Your private journey will be totally unique. There is free time in the afternoons and evenings.
Please know it is very normal to feel frightened, excited, unsure, or indecisive before your visit. We suggest you be loving and gentle with yourself in the days leading up to your visit. Acknowledge that you are immensely brave and courageous in deciding to come and it is natural to feel anxious. The fact that you have made the decision to come means you are ready to undertake this part of your healing journey.
We advise checking the weather for the time you are here to help plan the clothing you will need to bring. It can get cold during autumn so bringing warmer clothes are recommended (jumper, jacket or cardigan and long pants). Unfortunately we do not having washing facilities so please bring enough clothes for your time away. If driving you may also like to bring a favourite blanket or doona for the cooler months. There are blankets supplied but guests who feel the cold often prefer to bring their own.
On the registration form we suggest you note down what your intentions are for the week and set some simple goals for yourself. Also, please think ahead about support for yourself AFTER the Healing Week. It is very helpful to plan some time-off for a few days following your healing week. It is nurturing if you can spend some quiet time absorbing the events of the week. Arranging a baby-sitter for an extra day or two, or making sure you don’t have to go back to work straight away can be very therapeutic!
Everyone is different but you may find you feel happier and lighter than usual. You may also feel tired and emotional after a healing week. That’s because emotional healing can be exhausting work. It is very important to be gentle with yourself. We strongly recommend you take a minimum of a 2 day break from work and social commitments following your Healing Week, so that you can receive the maximum benefit from the program. We also encourage you to wait some time after your Healing Week before making any important life-changing decisions unless absolutely necessary. It may feel a little strange to go back to family and friends. You may have changed and it’s important to appreciate that they may need time to get used to the “new you”.
Our residential trauma programs each begin on a Sunday afternoon at 4pm and end on Friday at 3pm.
Everyone who facilitates or volunteers on a Heal For Life program has lived through and healed from trauma themselves, so we understand what it takes to heal – and we’re living proof that it’s possible. Survivors empowering survivors is called “peer support” and it’s universally recognised as an essential part of trauma recovery.
Yes. Our Peer support Volunteers are extensively trained and professionally supervised. Our Peer Support Volunteers undergo an adult healing program, a week long residential training program, and 45 hours of observational learning in order to provide support to our guests. They also complete an internal 12 month certification during their first year as a Peer Support Volunteer. All of our programs are supervised by our Registered Psychologists. Our programs and processes are audited regularly to ensure we meet governing standards in our sector.
We are NOT a medical or mental health 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.
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.
It’s helpful to let family and friends know they will not be able to phone you during the week unless there is an emergency. If someone calls to ask if you are here we will not confirm your attendance to anyone other than your nominated emergency contact person. In the case of an emergency people can call our office on 02 4998 6003 and leave a message which we will pass on to you.
If you would like it, the facilitator will phone you two weeks after your healing week. Follow up support is offered by your own counsellor or we can suggest counsellors who have been to Heal For Life or have been recommended by other guests. We can also recommend a psychologist who uses Skype to call her clients. We strongly recommend you organise support for the week after your healing week. Make an advance booking to see a counsellor/psychologist/mental health worker, attend a support group or catch up with a supportive friend If you already have a counsellor or psychologist we recommend you let them know you are attending a healing week. We are happy to provide your counsellor and/or GP with information about our Heal For Life model.
If you don’t have a counsellor, and would like one, the facilitator will help you to identify professional support in your area before you leave us.
As a Heal For Life Community member you will receive a monthly email update, we also have a very active Facebook page for peer support and encouragement. Part of joining the community is giving back to help others in whatever way you are able to.
You may return to repeat the program as many times as you need to. However, we ask that you give yourself about 3 months between visits to allow yourself time to adjust to the changes
Heal for Life has empowered over 8,500 people to heal
Over 96% of Heal for Life program attendees have rated the experience as either “life-changing” or “very positive” and independent evaluation has found that the program is responsible for long-term improvements in mental health, emotional functioning and improved pain and vitality scores.