ABOUT THE PROGRAM
You Can Heal…
You will take part in a full daily program whilst living in a supportive community who deeply honour and respect who you are and where you’re at. What we ask of you is to be committed to and to take responsibility for your own healing journey. You will be supported by carers, who are survivors themselves, living in a quiet, safe and loving environment.
You’ll learn things about:
- Effects of trauma on the brain
- Inner Child
- Self nurturing
- Wounded and rebel self
- Re-parenting ourselves
- Self concept and self acceptance/love
- Attachment theory
- Conflict resolution
- Life Skills
- Triggering and de-triggering
- Creative activities
- Understanding our needs
- + more …
Hennessy House/Phillip House:
Here, you will be living in a community with other young people (of the same gender) who you will find have survived similar experiences to you and who have also decided that it is time to begin their healing journey. Hennessy House / Phillip House are places where you will find support and understanding, and the opportunity to care for yourself and learn to live again – and maybe learn the life skills you have missed out on so far. It’s helpful to remind yourself that it’s not your fault that you’ve missed out on these things. You had no choice.
Our aim is to help you better understand yourself and the way your past has affected you today, so you can be the person you were born to be, not the person you were forced to be. Many people feel like they are walking around with a mask on to protect themselves or others. They feel they need to be brave, show no emotions, keep it inside. They try to use coping mechanisms to deal with their pain…drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, sex, self-harm, whatever seems to work. But that doesn’t fix it. It just causes you more problems. Your trauma has caused you to turn to these coping mechanisms to help you survive the pain you are trying to hide from. But you don’t need to go on abusing yourself. You have been through enough! We can help, and we want to help. Everyone here knows what a battle it is trying to survive the life you are living. We have been down that road but with Heal for Life Foundation’s help we have survived it and are living the life we want now. It is possible to heal. But the hard fact is that you have to work towards it. You can’t just try to push it away and forget. It doesn’t work like that. Until you face the past it will continue to control you.
At Hennessy House / Phillip house we don’t just listen to your story; and if you feel you don’t want to share that part either we won’t make you. But we allow you to emotionally go back to the point of trauma and feel the feelings that were unsafe for you to feel at the time. You will get to know that hurt child that’s still a part of you, waiting for you to listen and acknowledge the truth about what has happened. This may sound scary but it is necessary.
During your stay the first week will be aimed at grasping a basic understanding of the Heal for Life Model as well as beginning to look at your issues and developing skills by participating in workshops about things such as understanding trauma and its effects, self-esteem, coping mechanisms, overcoming fear and anxiety, healthy relationships and boundaries. Don’t worry, there will be some fun stuff like creativity workshops and other activities. By the second week you will have gotten to know how everything works, settled in and be feeling safe with everyone involved in the program. This week will be more intense as you will be spending more time working through the trauma you have experienced. In the last week we help you to prepare for your return home. Overall, the program is pretty flexible, depending on the needs you and the other guests have.
What are Hennessy House and Phillip House like?
Both places are designed to be the safe, welcoming home everyone. They have large spacious buildings with open verandas. In the guests’ living space, there is a common sitting room, shared kitchen, dining area, lounge room and laundry; 4 double bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. There is also a small Carers’ side where the Carers will be living for the duration of the program. The cooking and cleaning is shared, and other tasks are performed as a part of Labour of Love (helping out in and around the home for an hour or so each day). We want you to feel comfortable and safe enough here to care for Hennessy / Phillip House as you would your own home.
Hennessy House/ Phillip house is a place where you can feel confident that you are safe to work on your healing and look at other issues that have made it hard for you to live right at this minute. Young people who come here often have problems with drugs, alcohol, self-harm, relationships, school, the law, family and peers. The list is never ending as trauma causes so much dysfunction in people’s lives; and we all have our own way of trying to deal with it.
There will be Carers on site for the entire time you are here. The Carers are of all different ages who are survivors themselves. They’ve been through either the Adult Healing Program or the Hennessy House / Phillip House Program, benefited, been trained as well as having external qualifications giving them a wealth of experience and knowledge that helps them give you the very best they have to offer. They each volunteer their time because they want to help others through the pain of their past the way they were helped; with love, respect, understanding, validation and encouragement.
What’s expected of me?
It’s really important that you are committed to your healing and are here for yourself. Your time here will be more beneficial if you come with the ability to focus on yourself, and are in good physical health. If you are experiencing any of the following, we recommend you postpone your time with us and access medical help:
1. Major problematic side effects from medication.
2. Major alcohol or drug dependency, or severe withdrawals.
3. A very recent trauma (ie. in the last 3 months) which has not yet been addressed.
4. Severe symptoms of mental illness or intellectual impairment that mean you are unable to function within a group or take care of yourself.
We are not a medical or mental health facility, and can’t be responsible for administering medication or other medical care. If there’s an emergency, the facilitator and some of our carers are trained in first aid and if necessary ambulance services can be called. If you have an injury, have just been in hospital or need medical/dental surgery, we ask that you postpone your time here with us until you are well enough. At Hennessy House you will be valued for who you are, in a place where you can honour yourself and find the strength to heal. There is no judgment here. We don’t expect you to pretend to be someone you’re not. We want you to feel like you can be exactly who you are. All your feelings are valid and you should never be told not to feel them. Here we will encourage you to express those feelings safely, and we will be there to validate you in doing so. You won’t be alone in this. You will be surrounded by heaps of support. We know what it’s like to let down that wall that’s been protecting you for so long. It’s hard, but worth it!
What happens each day?
On Sunday you will meet the other guests and Carers and be shown around so you can become familiar with your surroundings. The group will share dinner together, get to know each other, discuss what to expect from your time here and go through some safety agreements. You may also be invited to participate in a voluntary survey that helps us to research the success of our Healing programs. The following is a general format for the day, though we are not rigid or authoritarian. As survivors, we know that we do not like being told what to do! We start our program fairly late in the morning in recognition of research which shows it’s hard for the adolescent brain to function well first thing in the morning.
|10:00am||Reflections: A time for spiritual reflection and exploring our needs for the day.|
|10:45am||Labour of Love: This is time to give back to the community through helping out around the house.
You will be encouraged to do what fits your feelings, not what you think you should do!
|12:00am||Workshop: A chance to connect with your inner-self and your emotions.|
|1:30pm||Lunch: Prepared by Guests & Carers.|
|3:00pm||Creative or Information Workshops: Time for you to learn and or connect with/develop your creative side or learn more about the ways in which trauma has effected you.|
|6:00pm||Sharing: A time to practice acknowledging your feelings within the group in a safe environment.|
|7:00pm||Dinner: Prepared by one or two guests.|
|8:00pm||Group discussion/guest speaker/Craft/Free Time|
|9:30pm||Reflections: Inspirational readings and music to help you relax before bed.|
The weekend is usually free time to chill, read, walk, chat, play some games, be creative, or watch some DVD’s. The week can be pretty full on so this is time to relax and prepare for the new week ahead.
How do I book in to come to Hennessy House / Phillip House?
Contact the office to discuss your interest in attending this program.
It’s really normal to feel frightened or anxious about coming to Hennessy House. You’re taking a big step, and it’s a brave step. Treat yourself with kindness, and acknowledge that yes it is scary – but the fact that you have decided to come indicates that you are ready.