First Nations | Heal For Life

Healing by First Australians,
for First Australians

We want to walk beside you and support you as you understand that abuse is not your fault, learn how to heal, and to better know yourself.

Do you feel hurt, sad, angry and in deep pain?

Do you feel your spirit is broken inside from violence, abuse, loss, bullying, discrimination and racism?

Are you ready for change?

You CAN heal

First Australian men and women are invited to attend First Australians-only programs, Gender-specific programs and Mixed group programs.

The Indigenous program takes place at the Heal for Life healing  centre: Mayumarri, a 320 acre bushland retreat in Darkinjung country.

This setting creates a healing environment in which the Indigenous spiritual connection to the land is acknowledged and utilised to promote healing. The natural bushland, which is also a wildlife refuge, provides a peaceful, safe haven in which survivors can connect with their emotional and spiritual selves in order to heal. 

Our mixed programs at Heal For Life are gender and culture mixed, and the team will be from mixed cultural backgrounds. Guests may choose to be supported by a member of our First Australian team during your healing retreat.

It’s given me a voice. I’ve resources... It has made me feel prouder because I don’t have to hide anymore. I don’t have to hide who I am or what I am. It helps me to help others... It allows freedom.

Heal For Life also runs programs designed for kids and teens, and these programs can be delivered as First Australian-only.

Unfortunately, currently we are unable to run these, we are looking for new staff

1300 760 580

Indigenous Person's Experience
My experiences with the programs provided at Eva House and Mayumarri is that they are culturally appropriate and a safe environment that allows Indigenous people time to heal without the stereotypes that society and policies puts upon them. The Mayumarri programs are versatile and flexible programs that meets the needs and can be adapted to Indigenous people, because it is culturally appropriate and sensitive to their needs.

Included in the Indigenous Healing Program

  • Aboriginal Indigenous carers who are themselves survivors of childhood trauma.

  • Recognition of importance of elders. Elders are invited to meet the Heal for Life community and visit the Healing centre so that they can ensure that it is safe and culturally appropriate for the members of their community to take part in the program.

  • Indigenous guests come to Heal for Life to be “out of country” to heal in a safe environment. However, some Aboriginal guests may prefer to remain within their community if healing needs to occur on a social and community level as well as a personal level. In this case, the program is offered in the participants’ own country if there is an appropriate space. 

  • Each community can modify the program to their specific needs e.g. separate weeks for men and women.

  • Welcoming by an elder (if appropriate) and paying respect for being out of country.

  • Each community can specify how they wish their acknowledgement to be read.

  • A key feature of the HFL healing program is morning “Reflections” which allows guests to connect with their spirituality. Indigenous guests are encouraged to connect with the land, with nature, their totems, culture and their ancestors.
  • Awareness of shame within Aboriginal cultures. A higher ratio of carers to guests, situations and environments that create privacy as well as modification of workshops and education components, ensure that Indigenous guests are not shamed.


  • Use of story and narrative. ‘Yarning’ and carers trained to initiate ‘yarning’ in an informal setting as a tool for accessing emotions around a trauma.


  • Campfires and campfire cooking, outdoor workshops, sand for art work, dowel for dot paintings, appropriate music and musical instruments used to encourage cultural self expression.


  • Emphasis on empowerment, choices, freedom, equality and flexibility. Heal for Life is non-hierarchical and non- authoritarian.


  • Learning through a variety of teaching and learning modes such as demonstrations, role play, discussion, self-reflection, oral recordings, creative expression, blocks and plasticine. Workshops are not classroom presentations.


  • Use of appropriate ritual, as this is the traditional way Indigenous peoples address calamities and natural disasters. 

Heal for Life Indigenous Healing Program

Information For Organisations

This content has been prepared by Denise Kelly, an Aboriginal woman from the Wiradjuri Nation, who has been involved with Heal For Life for about 10 years and is passionate about helping her people to heal. As a survivor herself, she sees her role as a mentor and communicator who can help Aboriginal people by encouraging them to heal. 

Many in our society define and blame Aboriginal people for their coping strategies such as alcoholism, violence and drug addictions; however the Heal for Life model recognises the underlying cause these behaviours and addictions: Childhood Trauma, which affects the developing brain.

Trauma unhealed can become cumulative, impacting on individuals, then communities and ultimately the whole of Indigenous society.

The program works because it is based on current research in neuroscience and trauma and has been developed and run by Aboriginal people who are themselves survivors of child abuse and can therefore empathise and truly understand the debilitating effects of childhood trauma. It recognises the importance of being away from family in a residential program. Healing from trauma needs safety & time.

The model is appropriate and successful for Indigenous participants because re-empowerment is a key step in our program. The Indigenous Program recognises the added impact of ongoing societal abuse and cultural shaming.
The program promotes building strengths and developing strategies to deal with ongoing trauma, as well as unlocking childhood trauma.
The healing is by connecting with, and releasing the stored emotional memory of trauma located in the right side of the brain, the survivor is freed from its effects and so is re empowered. Aboriginal guests are encouraged to access and heal their trauma through cultural self-expression. Guests control their own healing journey, using cultural, spiritual, traditional, kinship and community.

How can we help?

1300 760 580

Free Chapter Download

Heal For Life – Chapter 2:
Defining Trauma & Self Healing

Free Download of Chapter 2