REFRESHED: Valerie Toms, Renee Noller-Fraser and IWC's Cynthia George at the closing ceremony of IWC's
REFRESHED: Valerie Toms, Renee Noller-Fraser and IWC's Cynthia George at the closing ceremony of IWC's "Healing Circle” in Gayndah. Solana Photography

How this circle can help you 'reject the negativity'

"I started from a position of putting myself down, telling myself I don't deserve love or happiness.”

Before participating in the inaugural IWC 'healing circle in the North Burnett, which concluded in early October, Gayndah's Renee Noller-Fraser was not feeling positive about herself.

"(But) I'm now looking at life differently. I'm now a lot happier within myself,” she said.

She said she's "never done anything like” the healing circle.

"I would recommend it to anyone; it's been a big positive for me. I've learnt to reject the negativity.”

The five-week healing circle program was held in a traditional 'yarning' environment on the banks of the Burnett River.

"Healing circle work is intensive,” Aunty Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian, who has developed the methodology over years of consultation with traditional owners and elders, said.

"It is not a therapy, but therapeutic outcomes manifest.

"It demonstrates Aboriginal cultural ways of doing business 'our' way.

"Participants are motivated to deal with trauma and life challenges with honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, respectfulness, decency and fairness to themselves and others.”

Aunty Cheri said healing circle work is equally suitable for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

"It is about learning to experience a restorative and health-giving sense of wellbeing for themselves, and sharing that with those around them,” she said.

The first healing circle sessions were held in Bundaberg in partnership with Bundaberg Regional Council in the wake of the devastating 2013 floods, and have been held regularly in the city since 2015.

Healing circles are part of a suite of cultural healing services delivered by IWC, including cultural responsiveness training for workplaces.

Up to five people can participate in a healing circle at a time.

Enquiries about joining a healing circle can be made by calling 1300492492 or emailing info@iwc.org.au.

IWC is Aboriginal community-controlled and a registered charity, offering health and wellbeing services to all-Indigenous and non-Indigenous-across the regions.


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