Mental Health Retreat NSW - Childhood Trauma Recovery | Heal For Life

Private Retreats

Heal For Life offers the opportunity to arrange a private mental health retreat, for those who prefer privacy and a more personalised experience.  

We understand what it takes to heal

Childhood trauma and abuse takes so much from us, our sense of safety, our ability to laugh, our ability to easily have successful relationships. 

The vast majority of people suffering from addictions, depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses share a common background of childhood trauma or abuse. Generally, health professionals do not mention this connection and so many people end up with a profound sense of failure, as if they “should” be more together.

We truly understand the devastating impact that childhood trauma has on your life, and what it takes to heal. A mental health retreat can help open the door to healing. At Heal For Life we offer the option of private retreats as well as our small group adult healing program.

If you or someone you love is suffering from the events of something that occurred in childhood, or if you have the signs and symptoms of childhood trauma in adulthood and feel confused about your experiences – you are not alone. If you would like to understand more about trauma, click here.

Heal For Life has empowered survivors with all kinds of adverse childhood experiences to begin to heal. We can help you too.

Private Healing Retreat - Tailored residential program

You or your family will be empowered with the knowledge and tools you need to overcome the pain of childhood trauma and recover joy and hope in your life, during a mental health retreat.

Our highly successful program has been developed by combining the latest scientific research on the effects of trauma on the brain with intuitive knowledge gathered from many survivors of child abuse over time. We share with you what we know and support you and/or your family 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 mental health retreat 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.


mental health retreat for trauma survivors
trauma healing retreat
trauma recovery retreat
mental health retreat house

Who can we help with a private mental health retreat?

The Heal for Life private healing program is for anyone who is experiencing pain or challenges from something that happened in their childhood, and who is ready to heal.

We welcome individuals or private groups for mental health retreats. This includes:

  • Individuals who would prefer an exclusive, tailored experience
  • Small groups of friends or family
  • Parents and children would would like private, tailored support for their family situation

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.

How our healing program works

We provide a safe environment during a mental health retreat 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.

Our mental health retreat programs work 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.

What will happen during your private mental health retreat?

We will help you to recognise the ways you may often overcompensate by over-achieving, over-working, over-committing and generally looking after everyone but yourself.

The brain can change, it is ‘plastic’ and we provide the tools so you can continue to take control of your life after you leave the program. 

The Heal For Life program at a private retreat is a similar program to our Adult Healing Program (Heal For Life).  If your group involves children, the program will be adapted from our Kids Kamp or Teen Programs, depending on the age of your children.   

The mental health retreat will help you to heal from childhood trauma which may have been caused by any number of factors such as:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Bullying
  • Rape
  • Loss of a Family Member
  • Domestic violence
  • Serious Illness
  • Spiritual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Satanic ritual abuse
  • Inter-generational cycle of abuse

Trauma causes behavioural issues and you may be experiencing one or several of these symptoms of childhood trauma:

  • Anxiety, depression
  • Addictions – alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, obsessive spending, people pleasing, being a workaholic etc.
  • Need to over-achieve
  • Poor sleep patterns, nightmares
  • Feelings of guilt, self-blame, shame
  • Flashbacks
  • Disconnection or co-dependency in relationships
  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-harm, eating disorders

Program Outline

We provide a safe, caring environment where you can take time away from busyness and constant distractions to heal to the root cause of suffering and difficulty.

Our mental health retreat program provides as much one-on-one time as you would like with our fully trained team, led by a qualified Facilitator.  Members of the team can be requested, for example, female and/or male carers.  You can choose which workshops you think will be most beneficial for you and/or your family – Boundaries, Effects of Trauma on the Brain, Attachment Theory, Inner Child work and Transactional Analysis.  Each one  helps you to understand why you feel and behave the way you do so you can start implementing that knowledge to make changes.

Additional Services

Additional services are available upon request (subject to availability).  It is best to indicate your interest in the type and number of services you would like prior to the start of your private mental health retreat so bookings can be secured.  Services include

  • Massage
  • Bowen therapy
  • Yoga

If you are interested in any other services not listed please let us know and we will make enquiries.

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.

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 secluded property in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia.

If you choose to share a mental health retreat with other participants you will have your own room on an exclusive 50 acres of peaceful countryside.  Those who choose the fully private retreat will have the spacious house to themselves.  

Our Location

mental health retreat

Phillip House


Info and logistics

All participants are responsible for the costs of travel to and from Heal for Life.

This retreat is different from the Adult Healing Program as:

  • You have your own room
  • It is one to one, each team member focuses exclusively on your healing needs
  • The week is fully-catered providing nurturing and healthy food; we cook what you want to eat
  • The program is tailored to meet your specific needs

When you apply for the private retreat we will provide you with a confirmation email providing more information on what to bring, and a map with directions to the venue.

Private programs are fully catered and we encourage you to let us know what your favourite foods are so we can include them in your menu.  Please think about particular meals you would like, your breakfast preferences, type of bread (for example multigrain, wholemeal, white etc), full cream or skim milk, favourite fruit and vegetables, snacks, if you have sugar, natural or artificial sweeteners in your tea or coffee etc. 

Please advise us in advance of any food allergies or special dietary needs that we need to cater for e.g. diabetic, gluten intolerant etc.

If you would like to find out the cost for booking a retreat for 3, 4 or more days  contact the office

Number of days you wish to attend x $1000 (eg 3 days x $1000 = $3000)

This payment includes the non refundable registration fee of $250.  4 days is the most popular duration for fully private retreats.

Registration will be completed over the phone, once we have reviewed your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

A fully private retreat is designed by you to meet your specific needs.  You can choose all elements of the program including the type of facilitator (eg female/male, age group, spirituality etc), size of the support team, number of days and types of food which will best nurture you.  A fully private retreat will suit those who want to be alone with the support staff rather than in a small group.  They are fully flexible and you can even make changes to the program during the week, for example, you may prefer to spend more time on one or two topics and less on others and you may prefer to do more of a certain activity.  It is entirely up to you.

A shared retreat with a private room (as opposed to a fully private retreat) is run as a small group with up to 4 people.  Each guest has their own private bedroom.  All work is done independently and stories of trauma or abuse are not shared with the group.  Additional shared retreats can be scheduled throughout the year if there are enough people wanting to attend at that time.  Please contact the office to find out when the next one is scheduled for or if you are interested in nominating another time and being put on a waiting list.

Additional services are also available upon request and may incur an additional fee dependent upon the chosen option. Services you may wish to add include massage, body therapy and a cognitive behavioural therapist.  Please ask if you would like something else and we will advise if it’s available.

Heal For Life Foundation maintains that we all have many unresolved issues from our childhoods which affect the way we behave, interact and enjoy life. Heal For Life invites you to spend a week in a safe place concentrating on your childhood and releasing feelings which are stuck and not recognised as being from the past.

This depends on whether you are attending a fully private retreat or a private retreat with a group.  You specify the duration of a fully private retreat. A private retreat with a group runs from 4pm Sunday until 5pm Friday.

If you have elected to attend a private retreat with a group then you will spend the week with up to 3 other guests from across the country. You will be supported by a trained facilitator and trained volunteer carers. Usually men and women attend the Healing Week together.

This depends on whether you are attending a fully private retreat or a private retreat with a group.  You specify the duration of a fully private retreat. A private retreat with a group runs from 4pm Sunday until 5pm Friday. 

If you elect to attend a private group retreat you will arrive on Sunday afternoon and meet the other guests and carers and be shown around so you become familiar with the retreat. The group will share dinner together, get to know each other, discuss what to expect from the Healing Week and review the safety agreements.

From Monday to Friday we follow the daily schedule below.

9:00amReflections (A time for spiritual exploration and reflection ).
10:30amInner Child Workshop (A chance to connect with your inner-self and your emotions).
2:00pmFree Time
5:00pmSharing (A time to practice acknowledging your feelings, with the group, in a safe environment).
7:30pmFree Time
8:30pmEvening Reflections.

If you decide to come to a Healing Week please complete the following:

  1. If you wish to attend a private group retreat please contact the office to find out if any are scheduled.  If you wish to attend a fully private retreat please contact the office to discuss dates
  2. Complete the online registration
  3. Wait for a confirmation phone call from our office BEFORE arranging leave/time off work or making any travel arrangements.

Once your registration and payment is processed a confirmation letter will be sent to you. It will advise the items you need to bring for your healing week and will include a map and directions to the Heal For Life Foundation.

If you need a volunteer to pick you up from the airport or other public transport, please confirm your travel arrangements with the office at least one week prior to the start of your healing week. If your arrangements need to change, please let us know ASAP.

Please plan your trip so you arrive between 4.00 and 5.00pm on the Sunday.  Keep the information pack with you and refer back to it when packing and getting ready to travel here.

Everyone can benefit from a Healing Week.  We have seen survivors from all walks of life learn how to heal and find themselves happier and enriched. Our guests have suffered from abuse, abandonment, neglect or tragic circumstances and have succeeded in taking back their power! The Healing Week program is designed to be an important step on your healing journey, and we encourage you to use the tools you learn to continue healing when you return home.

Importantly, the program works best if you are able to focus on yourself and are in good health. For your safety, we recommend you postpone attending a Healing Week, and access medical or psychological care, if you are experiencing any of the following:

  1. Debilitating side-effects of medication.
  2. Extreme life crises or stressful events, such as a very recent separation from a partner.
  3. A very recent trauma (i.e. within the last 3 months) which has not been yet been addressed.
  4. Alcohol or drug dependency / or severe withdrawals.
  5. Active symptoms of mental illness or intellectual impairment that mean you are unable to feel safe within a group or take care of yourself.

The purpose of the Healing Week program is to provide a safe environment to help you get in touch with and heal your inner self, the part of you that suffered from trauma as a child. Our main focus is learning tools that help you heal from specific traumatic events in childhood, events that you may, or may not currently remember.

Our highly successful program has developed from combining the latest scientific research on the effects of trauma on the brain with intuitive knowledge gathered from many survivors over time. We will share with you what we know and support you to ‘heal’. Please know you do not need to have prior knowledge about healing from trauma in order to benefit from our program. Our program is designed to be one of self-discovery. You will be encouraged to trust in your own wisdom and do what is RIGHT FOR YOU.

Many survivors experience a sense of freedom and empowerment when they discover they CAN heal. They also come to a deeper understanding, appreciation and love of themselves, and feel validated and acknowledged by others, often for the first time in their lives. Participating in a loving community also helps survivors build self-esteem, self-respect and a renewed feeling of self-worth.

We’ve discovered the program works best when you are doing it FOR YOU, and no one else. How much you achieve from the Healing Week will usually depend on how much you are willing to go for it!

The facilitator of the week is a survivor who has qualifications and experience with our healing program, an in-depth understanding of the Heal For Life Model, and a strong commitment to their own healing journey. The facilitator’s key role is to provide overall leadership and responsibility for the group. The facilitator works alongside the carers to listen to you, encourage you and support you in your healing process.

Our volunteer carers are survivors who have lovingly chosen to help you in your journey. They travel here from around the country and give their time very generously. After doing their own Healing Weeks and spending time reflecting and integrating, they complete a special training program and many are currently studying at a tertiary level to enable them to help other survivors more effectively.

Please understand that at Heal For Life we DO NOT provide professional counselling. We do not diagnose, give advice, or instructions! The Healing Week is a self-help program and our role is simply to love you, listen to you and cheer you on!! Over 90% of our guests report our program as being life-changing or very positive.

If you have elected to attend a fully private retreat you will only be spending time with your selected support staff.

If you are attending a private group retreat then you can spend as much or as little time as you wish.  Each day there’s workshops to help you connect with whatever issues you have come to heal from. How much you choose to share or socialise is up to you. 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.

You will be able to enjoy ‘Free Time’ each afternoon and evening. During this time you can borrow books from our library, enjoy walks around the hills or take a swim in our beautiful dam.

It is vital to understand that the retreat needs to be kept safe for all members of the group. Scientists now know that healing of the brain is only possible through being with other people. Each person is here because they want and need some quiet space to reflect and work on their issues so it’s essential that the environment is conducive to this reflective time. If anyone breaches the agreed safety principles or makes other guests uncomfortable intentionally they will be asked to leave.

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