Healing is a process of recovery for the mind, body and spirit after a person has experienced trauma [40355]. The experience of trauma may be from a single, life threatening or distressing event or it can be from ongoing violence, abuse or other events that threaten a person’s safety. Past policies and practices, cultural dislocation and the impacts of intergenerational trauma on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have had a profound effect on the health and wellbeing of individuals as well as communities [27487].



Recovery from trauma is assisted by [29064]:

  • creating a sense of control and choice in life
  • having safe and calm places where we feel we can trust others
  • reconnecting with family, community and other supportive relationships
  • empowerment in decision making at both an individual and community level.

Healing is a different journey for each person [36986]. Healthy and strong communities can provide a pathway to healing by providing a safe space for individuals to tell their story and reconnect with culture. Having connection to family, community and supportive relationships are important to recovery and restoring a sense of self. Knowing where you come from, where you belong and where you fit, in passing on cultural knowledge helps to protect and nurture social and emotional wellbeing [29064]. Community activities that support healing include yarning circles, gatherings, healing camps, art, dance, song, weaving, and cultural ceremonies.

Sometimes distressing memories and emotions can feel overwhelming. There are some useful strategies for individuals to help calm the mind. These include [36369]:

  • Talking to someone – call a support person or a friend
  • Taking a moment – physically leave the situation, reminding yourself you are not running away, just taking a break
  • Breathing and meditation – staying in the present moment and slowing down your breathing calms stress and nerves. Try this guided meditation that is in Pitjantjara and English.
  • Speaking your truth – you decide if you would like to participate in a conversation. If speaking about your experience makes you feel empowered you are entitled to speak your truth. The decision is completely yours.
  • Acknowledging your feelings
  • Connecting to Country
  • Making art
  • Drinking water
  • Exercising and eat well.

See Key resources on this page for more information on resources, programs and organisations to support healing.


Key resources



Families coming together by Melanie Robinson

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