ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Heal For Life Foundation exists to assist survivors of childhood trauma. We do this through our thoroughly researched and innovative program. The program is held as a Healing Week, and is open to all members of the public regardless of sex, race, religion, sexual preference or ability. At Heal For Life Foundation we believe every survivor has the innate ability to find healing. We support our guests on this journey by offering a holistic approach which encompasses mind, body and spirit.
Our Healing Weeks run under the leadership of a Facilitator – a highly trained professional who has completed our student modules and participated in Healing Weeks both as a participant and as a Carer. Carers assist the Facilitator and are also thoroughly trained. The Heal For Life Foundation Team works within the non-hierarchical, peer support basis of our program.
Our guiding principle is that Heal For Life Foundation is run by survivors, for survivors. All our volunteers are survivors of childhood trauma. This is highly effective for two reasons. Firstly, it adds a peer support element which not only enables guests to see healing is possible, but also allows our volunteers to make some good out of their abuse – assisting other people to heal. Secondly, having survivors as volunteers also re-empowers them and enables them to learn, to further heal and to help other people. This puts people back in control of their lives and the path they are taking.
Our Healing Weeks are steeped in the history of trauma therapy as it has been researched internationally. We emphasise the many ways in which trauma can impact development, behaviour and life patterns. Guests are taught the basic principles of attachment theory, as well as a simplified presentation of transactional analysis.
It is recognised that healing can only take place in an environment which is both physically and emotionally safe. We find offering a residential program in a secluded environment is also an important element which provides a feeling of safety for our guests. Being residential means guests have the time and space to allow themselves to be vulnerable as they process complex trauma memories.
Education explaining why the guest behaves the way they do and learning the tools to help themselves after they leave Heal For Life Foundation is an imperative part of our philosophy. We also teach skills to cope with de-triggering grounding, and flash backs as they are vital to recovery.
The spirit is catered for as we welcome people from all religions. Heal For Life Foundation itself is founded upon the loving teachings of Jesus Christ. However we have no interest in imposing our beliefs on our guests. We begin and end each day with reflections, to focus on our spiritual needs and in recognition that spiritual growth is an essential part of our healing
Each day guests participate in Labor of Love. This entails working on the property for a set period each day, performing tasks such as gardening, cleaning, cooking, and office work and so on. This is vital because it teaches guests that regardless of how they feel they can still contribute to the community and perform an important role in a team environment.
On our Healing Weeks, we also introduce guests to the concept of the Inner Child. We believe the Inner Child – the guest’s ‘gut instinct’ or the part inside them that was damaged at the point of trauma – holds the key to recovery from childhood trauma. The rationale behind this is: when a child is abused or experiences trauma, part of them holds the memory and pain of that trauma. This is the part that requires assistance. We help guests to heal their Inner Child by expressing the emotions they suppressed at the time of the abuse through art, be it painting, drawing, and modeling with clay, etc. Carers then help guests to articulate what has been depicted in the artwork. Following this, the guest is encouraged to re-empower themselves and in turn, their Inner Child. This re-empowering is most important as it helps the guest to move on from their trauma and begin to see life with all its possibilities.
The Heal For Life Foundation Healing Program works because it simply gives guests what they need. By helping them get to the root of their trauma, we assist them in recognising what they feel, and why. In providing them with knowledge, we help them to understand why they feel and act the way they do. In teaching them skills, we enable them to de-trigger themselves and continue on with day-to-day life. And by doing all this in a peer support environment, we are giving them honour and respect for being capable, and in control of healing themselves from the devastating effects of childhood trauma.