The Adult Healing Program at Heal for Life is a 5-day Residential Program to help people heal from their childhood trauma and abuse. It is run by trained survivors for survivors in peaceful, rural surroundings. Carers and facilitators walk alongside guests while they unlock the trauma from their past through practical exercises and workshops.
There are many forms of childhood trauma and abuse all equally impacting on the development of the brain. These include such traumas as abandonment, neglect, death of a parent or sibling at a very young age, serious childhood illness or accidents, as well as sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse, including satanic ritual abuse. Our carers and facilitators have all been through some form of childhood trauma themselves and now want to help others find healing. They have received extensive training to provide effective support.
You may be experiencing one or several of these symptoms as a result from childhood trauma and/or abuse:
• Feeling unsafe at night
• Poor sleep patterns, nightmares
• Feelings of guilt, self-blame, shame
• Anxiety, depression
• Disconnection or co-dependency in relationships
• Low self-esteem
• Addictions – alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, workaholism, obsessive spending, people pleasing
• Self harm, Eating disorders
• Trouble with the law
The program is run in groups with a maximum number of twelve, however all our work is done independently and we do not share the stories of what happened to us in the group. 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 – that part of you that suffered from trauma as a child. Our main focus is learning valuable tools that will help you to heal from any specific traumatic events in childhood; events that you may or may not currently remember.
This 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 share with you what we know and support you to heal. It is not important to have any 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 put into it.
The Program Outline:
On Sunday you will 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 (with a few changes towards the middle and end of the week):
|8:30am||Reflections (a time for spiritual exploration and reflection)|
|11:00am||Inner Child Workshop (a chance to connect with your inner-self and your emotions).|
|3:00pm||Workshops such as “The effects of Trauma on the Brain”, Transactional Analysis, etc|
|5:00pm||Sharing (a time to practice acknowledging your feelings, with the group, in a safe environment)|
The Heal For Life Foundation believes that every person has the innate ability to heal from childhood abuse and/or trauma. We see healing as holistic i.e. involving body, mind and spirit. We consider it essential for each person to be in control of their own healing journey. Feeling loved and accepted is essential for a person to heal from within; thus love is our therapeutic ally. We believe that those of us who have suffered abuse and are healing, are the most able to understand and help others. All people, regardless of race, religion, gender, culture or sexual preference have the right to access self-healing with the loving acceptance and support of our carers.
Heal For Life’s Model of Healing:
Our Model of Healing at Heal For Life is based on the following principles.
1. Our programs are run by survivors for survivors
We believe that survivors understand other survivors best. Our guests – females and males – often find great relief and comfort being with people who truly understand the pain, confusion and suffering that comes with childhood trauma. We carefully select and train survivors, who are dedicated to their own healing, to walk alongside our guests.
We recognize it is vitally important for survivors to feel safe. In order to heal we need to connect with and express our emotions which arise through personal trauma and we do this only when we feel we are in a safe place. We establish our healing centers in remote areas deliberately to provide an environment free from distraction to enable healing. Confidentiality is strictly upheld and we strive to ensure each guest feels safe at all times.
3. Living in community
We aspire to live as a loving, healthy, functioning community. Guests, carers and facilitators join together in all aspects of the healing week, including spiritual reflection, preparing and sharing meals and community work.
4. Understanding of power/authority
We recognise our abuse has made us very sensitive to power. All people are treated equally and with respect. All members of the community are treated equally and we do not tell, advise, or try to ‘fix’ or control anyone.
5. Survivors take responsibility for their healing in order to regain their own power.
Our guests refer themselves to our programs when they have made the commitment to heal. Each person is encouraged and expected to be responsible for their actions, emotions and behaviour. Guests are supported to develop their own insights, make their own decisions and choices and realise they have the answers within themselves.
6. Survivors connect with their trauma for effective healing.
Scientific research supports what we, as survivors, have intuitively known: to facilitate healing we must unlock and express the emotions that we shut down when we were traumatised as children to enable us to survive. Our guests are lovingly supported to re-connect with, and re-empower the child part of themselves- that part of them that felt the pain and carries the memories of their trauma. While it can be a relief for survivors to tell their story, be heard and believed, our primary focus is the acknowledgement and expression of emotion associated with trauma.
7. No time limits
Our guests determine when and how their healing will happen. We encourage our guests to stay with the process of healing throughout the week and guests decide what is right for them from our program. Our guests are lovingly encouraged to continue their journey of healing when they leave and are invited to return to us as many times as they need to. We do ask they leave a three month period between healing weeks in order to achieve maximum benefit.
8. Mutual learning
We use all opportunities to learn from each other. It is understood that guests, carers and facilitators are all survivors and everyone has the responsibility to grow and learn throughout the healing week.
9. Unconditional love, acceptance and understanding
At Heal For Life survivors are heard, believed and validated. We express our love and compassion for each other and share our feelings each day.
10. Connection with a Higher Power
Heal For Life is run on the teachings of Jesus, (equality, non-judgmental, caring) and our guests are encouraged to explore their own spirituality. People of all faiths are welcome and we believe that connection with a source of Higher Power is an important factor in healing.