AS 2018 draws to a close, four Bundaberg people are celebrating the gift of hope and positivity which is taking them into 2019 with a new outlook on life.
In September, they entered a Healing Circle Work program delivered by IWC. After an intensive three months of regular sessions, the four participants graduated last week. The group gathered with IWC CEO Ara Harathunian, Aunty Cheri and four IWC HCW facilitators (pictured from left) Michelle Hodson, Jeffrey Paul, Stirling Eggmolesse and Jenny Springham.
"Healing Circle Work is based on ancient Aboriginal Healing practices and while it is not a therapeutic program, participants experience their own transformational outcomes," said Aboriginal Elder Aunty Cheri Yingaa Yavu-Kama-Harathunian. Aunty Cheri designed the IWC program in consultation with other Aboriginal Healers across Australia.
The value of Healing Circle Work is to help people deal with trauma and life issues, and came to the fore in Bundaberg region after the 2013 floods.
"Following the disaster, IWC was asked - and funded – by Bundaberg Regional Council in 2015 to deliver Healing Circle Work to community members suffering ongoing trauma," said Aunty Cheri. "Through the HCW program, Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members were able to let go their pasts and embrace their future."
Since then, regular Healing Circle Work sessions have been delivered by IWC in Bundaberg, to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous adults.
IWC is non-government and a registered charity, providing 27 services and programs to more than 13,000 clients, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
"IWC focus is on a holistic, whole-of-person model of care. This incorporates health and medical, community and family services. Healing Circle Work addresses underpinning issues that can be barriers to receiving support from services that empower them and their families," said Aunty Cheri.
"Families need to know and understand their own wellbeing before they can help others. The sessions are delivered in small groups, and participants deal with trauma and life issues with honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, respectfulness, decency and fairness to themselves and to others. Group confidentiality is paramount."
IWC has both male and female trained facilitators who deliver the regular sessions.
"The outcomes are life-changing," said Aunty Cheri. "It is about learning to live life in the NOW moment. Participants learn to understand their own spirituality. They learn skills and abilities whereby they reaffirm their sense of being. They learn to appreciate they accountability for their highest good of themselves and others."
At last week's Closing Ceremony, one of the participants, Susan (not her real name), said: 'For the first time, I feel able to trust people again. To be able to have the freedom to speak and to be understood … it is hard to explain because it's spiritual not just emotional and mental."
The next Healing Circle Work sessions will start early next year. Expressions of interest can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org