A happy life is possible for your child
If your child seems like they’ve changed, or if they’re struggling to live a happy, healthy life, trauma may be the reason why your family is experiencing child behaviour problems.
Trauma impacts emotions and behaviour
For many children who experience emotional or behavioural difficulties, behaviours are an outward display of difficult emotions such as fear, anger and shame that are caused by the neurobiological damage of trauma on the brain.
It can be challenging for a parent to consider that their child has experienced some form of trauma or abuse. Trauma symptoms and causes are varied. Trauma can occur without you as the parent knowing about it, and without your child knowing that they’ve experienced trauma.
What’s most important to know is that with the right support, trauma can be healed and your child can live a happy, fulfilled life. Our programs offer a way to overcome child behaviour problems that is respectful, evidence-based and effective.
Trauma changes the way a child's brain is wired
Trauma causes involuntary emotional responses that often underpins challenging behaviour in children and teens. To protect the child from danger, the brain stores traumatic memories and alerts the child whenever it perceives a potential threat. Their brain will then initiate an action to protect them from the perceived threat – usually to fight, run, or shut down (a natural survival response).
When this happens, your child isn’t in control of their emotions and behaviours. These strong emotional reactions may appear to others to be irrational or extreme but they are entirely unconscious. It’s a neurobiological result of an experience that was too much for the child to handle, and it impacts the way their brain is wired.
Because of these brain changes, trauma needs to be healed. It doesn’t just go away.
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 and social functioning and improved pain and vitality scores.
Heal For Life is a place where young people who have experienced trauma or abuse can find support and understanding, empowering them with the skills and knowledge they need to heal.
Our 5-day residential programs and Kids camp are provided for primary school aged children (8-11)
and separate Teen Girls and Teen Boys programs for high school ages (12-17). See Program Calendar for dates.
Parent support and involvement is vital
Parents and caregivers are active participants in all Heal For Life children and youth programs.
We encourage parents to clearly explain the purpose of the healing program with their child prior to arrival, to attend a Parent Information Session on the first day of camp, and also to join their child for a workshop on the last day of the program.
We welcome all young people who wish to heal and ask both parents and children to understand the importance of safety at our healing program. Children need to be aware this is not a holiday camp, they are coming to change their lives by changing their behaviour.
Education and support delivered in nature
‘Hennessy House’ and ‘Phillip House’ are purpose-built for young people and supervision is provided 24 hours a day.
Children are encouraged to feel their feelings and express the emotions they haven’t felt safe to share that are impacting on their happiness and behaviour now.
They will also attend workshops about self-esteem, coping mechanisms, overcoming depression and anxiety, healthy relationships and boundaries.
Training for parents and carers
In a situation where a child is likely to have experienced trauma or abuse, it’s important parents and carers are equipped with strategies to improve communication, provide support, and resolve any conflict. Our training can help family members to support each other through trauma, , making it possible to heal and resolve child behaviour problems.
If you're a parent who has experienced trauma, we can help
When our children experience difficulties, many of us blame ourselves for our children’s struggles. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. We all do the best we can. However if you feel your past might be impacting on your relationship with your kids, we can help.
If you have experienced trauma, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your children is to heal and improve your mental and emotional health. Heal For Life can support you to understand the impact that trauma has had on your life and give you the skills and knowledge you need to make positive changes that will naturally flow through to your children. Attending one of our residential trauma healing programs can be life-changing, and so can reading the Heal For Life book.
If you would like your entire family to experience healing, we can arrange a private retreat to support you.
Whether just one member of your family has experienced trauma, or a number of you, our healing programs can be tailored to your family’s needs, and delivered in an age appropriate way that upholds confidentiality for each family member.