"I dealt with the pain of the past and about what happened to me so I guess I have also started the healing process. I believe that this has been one of the most important decisions I have had to make as many of my family are so angry. They have carried their anger for years and it kind of eats them up and makes them so negative. We have to start healing, accepting what has happened in the past, and move on." Participant in Marion's research
On Healing From Trauma
"Healing can be described as a journey of self-discovery as people engage together in educating themselves about themselves."
"... healing involves the process of awakening to the pain of unmet needs and working to have those needs met in reciprocal relationships with others."
... the most essential step in healing is to establish a culturally safe environment to do the deeper work, which enables people to change their lives.'
'... within an Aboriginal cultural context, people do not heal alone. Because all people have the need to be part of supportive and caring families and communities... individual healing helps to rebuild families and communities, which in cyclic action, helps again in individual healing processes.
Healing also strengthens the cultural and spiritual group identity which allows people to be contributing members of the society in which they live. Healing transforms pain and provides meaning and purpose to life.' Judy Atkinson
"For healing to happen within Australian Aboriginal societies, Aboriginal peoples must restructure their own dialogues - must begin to talk among themselves about the acts of violence and the experiences of trauma, and hence undertake the hard work to change, to name with courage and hope, the possibility of healing.
Similarly, non-Aboriginal people must begin to consider, to own their own pathologies and take the courage to talk together about who they are and what their contribution to the well-being or otherwise of the Indigenous peoples of the country has been over history...
Finally, a collective dialogue must occur between us, from informed and courageous decisions to share pain and work for healing.
The greater truth that emerges from this story is that, although the work ahead will be hard, it can be done." Judy Atkinson
Content Related to Healing
Recovery from Trauma: Judith Herman
Describes the key features of recovery from trauma as outlined by Judith Herman in her seminal book Trauma and Recovery. Film of an interview with Judith Herman.
The Healing of Trauma
Bessel van der Kolk describes four fundamental truths that the brain-disease model overlooks, and emphasises the key importance of knowing your self and of relationships in healing from trauma. In a film clip, he describes the signs and symptoms of PTSD.
The Nature of Healing
The 2008 Social Justice Report of Australia describes essential elements of healing in Aboriginal people and emphasises the imperative for community-wide healing. It points out that society must deal with questions around history, identity and justice to heal.
Two Australian doctors, Professor Helen Milroy and Dr Tamara Mckean, describe healing and what it involves.
What is healing to me?
Quotes from people particpating in a national consultation process in Australia. Summary of interviews in research conducted by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation in Canada. Film clip of an initiative focused on Aboriginal men's healing in Australia.
What is healing and how does it occur?
Judith Atkinson explores the nature and key features underlying healing in Aboriginal people. Two filmed interviews of practitioners involved in dealing with suicides and mental heath problems amongst Australian Aboriginals.
Necessary Elements of Successful Healing Programmes
The Aboriginal Healing Foundation in Canada research focusing on the necessary elements of healing and the implications for programme design. Film of an American initiative that uses Native American traditional approaches alongside standard Western approaches, and a talk on healing of intergenerational trauma.