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The Healing Program was an Aboriginal initiative in Victoria that aimed to help break the cycle of addiction and despair by combining Aboriginal spirituality with conventional treatment. The program was run by the Western Suburbs Indigenous Gathering Place Association, and was a partnership between Western medicine and Aboriginal culture.
Men and women family circles were central to the program. Participants were able to connect with their Aboriginality, their spirituality, and speak openly about the issues that have seen them jailed, alienated from friends and family, and turned to substance use or addiction. Participants learned about their history, cultural practices, including painting, dance and craft, and benefit from the shared wisdom in the group. At the same time the program connected people with conventional medical services, counsellors, literacy courses, and other services to help participants become employable.
The Western Suburbs Indigenous Gathering Place Association will be implementing another Healing Program in 2017 for Indigenous men at Ravenhall Prison.
Abstract adapted from The Age
Western Suburbs Indigenous Gathering Place Association
200 Rosamond Road
Maribyrnong Vic 3032
PO Box 296
Braybrook North Vic 3019
Ph: (03) 9318 7855
Fax: (03) 9318 7866