Posted Jan 1998. Updated April 2014.


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Short Version of this Project

Evolving a SE Asia Pacific Self Help Trauma Support Intercultural Network - A Small Micro-Proposal
Micro local safe haven action evolving in Cairns and Darwin, Northern Australia.

Self-Help Action Rebuilding Well-Being
A Project fostering self help action restoring all aspects of wellbeing among disadvantaged Indigenous and Small Minorities in the SE Asia Oceania Australasia Region.


Brief Summary


The Aftermath of Torture and Trauma

Participatory Self Help

Stretching Expert Resources Beyond Effectiveness

Themes for Adapting Micro-experiences - Healing Support for Children, adolescents, Women, Men, Families and Combatants

Getting a good nights sleep - children, adolescents and adults

Eliminating torture and trauma associated phobias, obsessions, compulsions and panic attacks and problematic behaviours

Reducing, interrupting, resolving and stopping anger and violence

Reconciling, rehabilitating and healing of torture and trauma survivors

Specific issues and needs for healing local people

Issues for enablers, healers, supporters, and carers

Healing Processes

Issues for skill-sharers

A Framework for Intercultural Healing

Healing micro-experiences

Conceptual backgrounds for wellbeing action

A Model of Sharing of That May Be Used in Small Sharings and Larger Gatherings

Contextual Material

A Micro-Example Of Everyday Healing



Brief Summary

This document is part of a wider project building support for Indigenous and disadvantaged small minority trauma and torture survivors throughout the East Asia, Oceania and Australasia Region.

The following material provides scenarios of action extending a small Micro-proposal relating to the Focal people, namely East Timorese, Bougainvillian and other Indigenous/disadvantaged small minority and intercultural people in the Region. This Micro-project is outlined in the document 'Evolving an East Asia, Oceania, Australasia Self-help Trauma Support Intercultural Network - A Small Micro-project'.

This plan for action uses a participatory self help model. The model has been successfully actioned by Indigenous, disadvantaged small minority and intercultural Regional Focal people for over thirty years. The page Communal Ways For Healing the World contains a historical timeline of this action.

This Plan is based on the following Treaty and Code:

Unique Healing Treaty
The Young Persons Healing Learning Code

This action has demonstrated that traumatised people can provide a healing support to each other as part of a healing community. It is self help. This is not discussing a 'service'. People may heal themselves and pass on what works to others within voluntary informal networks. The self-help healing network is already evolving in the Region among for example, East Timorese and Bougainville people. Uncompromising funding support can see it blossom. The possibility is that the further evolving of these healing networks will not only help bring healing to oppressed and war ravaged people, it may well be a major process for consolidating peace processes. Refer Regaining Balance through Mutual-Help - A Story from Life



This document is about possibilities for small local mutual-help self-heal self-help action supporting survivors of torture and trauma among Focal people in the Region. These healing ways have been successfully used for over thirty years by Focal people in the Region.

This document is expressed in very tentative terms because nothing contained in this document could happen unless local Focal people want it.

Support for torture and trauma sufferers; Rebuilding Well-being in all its forms:

  • Communal
  • Cultural
  • Economic
  • Emotional
  • Environmental
  • Family
  • Habitat
  • Intercultural
  • International
  • Mental
  • Mindbody
  • Psycho-social
  • Physical
  • Relational
  • Spiritual
  • And other

The above list is in alphabetical order - no priority is implied

The Laceweb is an informal network of intercultural people engaged in mutual-help and self-help well-being action. This network/movement commenced in Australia in the 1940's. It has been evolving through small local self-heal self-help well-being action among Torres Strait Islanders, Australian South Sea Islanders, Australian Aboriginals as well as among Indigenous, disadvantaged small minority and intercultural people in remote and rural areas - Focal People. It is spreading throughout the SE Asia, Oceania, Australasia Region.

People from the Laceweb who have supported themselves and other locals in self-heal/self-help on many occasions, may be available in an enabling role to support survivors of torture and trauma among East Timorese, Bougainvillian and other Focal people in the Region. Actions may address relief from trauma, oppression, poverty, sickness, misfortune, destitution, and illness. As well, it may help sufferers of the following forms of pressures and trauma:

  • domestic
  • economic
  • emotional
  • mental
  • physical
  • social

The Laceweb is not connected with any political group, faction or religion. They respect spiritual and cultural diversity.

The Laceweb enables actions and support for torture and trauma survivors using healing ways that may form a basis for evolving culturally appropriate healing among diverse Focal people.

The Laceweb has, for over thirty years, demonstrated that traumatised people can provide a healing support to each other as part of a healing community. It is participatory self help. This is not discussing a 'service'. People may heal themselves and pass on what works to others. This help and support may be passed on within an expanding integrating network, and thus support may grow exponentially. Extensive historical and research material on the Laceweb is available via the Internet. This has been prepared in part by a Laceweb member towards Ph.D. psychosocial research into the Laceweb and participatory self-help models. Laceweb people may take an enabling role in extending self help support networks in the Region.


Virtually no-one on the islands of East Timor and Bougainville have been unscathed. For example, there are over 150,000 seriously affected people on Bougainville - a massive challenge. As reported by the UN Inter-Agency Report on Bougainville - 17 May 1995, the following are top priority issues in that context:

  • trauma
  • a culture of payback
  • pervasive fear, and
  • warzone mentality

The above Report suggested that these four issues be resolved as a central part of any move to normalisation and reconciliation.


It is noted that the PNG Government representative, in opening the talks as part of the final drafting of the UN Inter-Agency Report on Bougainville, stated that both 'the participation of local people' and 'self help' processes are crucial to any meaningful normalisation on the Island and that both should be incorporated into the Report's recommendations. The final Report also held out those two aspects as critical.

'Participation of local people' and 'self help 'were again reiterated by a recent statement by Bougainville Member of the PNG Parliament, John Momis. He noted that all sorts of Australian organisations were wanting to come into Bougainville and provide various 'services' - in effect, to capitalise on opportunity. He cautioned against this. The Bougainville people want to help 'themselves' to return to normalcy.

The following view has been expressed by many Bougainvillians:

'We Bougainville people are very cautious of outsiders who want to come in to fix things for us. Massive needs exist in health, education, and infrastructure to name a few. We virtually need to start from scratch. Outside help 'is' needed. However we do not believe that having a massive range of 'services' devised and provided across the board by outside experts is the way.'



It is noted from a careful reading of the UN Inter-Agency Report that its own recommendations contain virtually nothing that falls within the PNG Government's and the Report's own guidelines requiring 'participatory self help action by locals'. There is a dearth of 'participatory self help models' among both Government bodies and NGO's.

In the UN Inter-Agency Report, while there was 'lip service' to 'self help' and 'participation by locals', there was little evidence of the use of participatory self-help action models.

Virtually every one of the Report's recommendation was for 'centralised' 'uniform' programs that are 'devised', 'controlled' and 'implemented' by outsiders, and via 'top down', 'bureaucratically organised', 'service delivery' processes. This is prescribing forms of governance when 'governance' is a prime point of contention!


It is not surprising. This is the 'way' of the mainstream first nations. Virtually all mainstream funding uses 'top down service delivery' models as a starting point. This is never questioned. Both funding 'policy' and 'programs' are based on this 'service delivery' model. It is the model used at every level of Government. All Program funding 'criteria' and 'evaluation' are also based on the 'service delivery' model. Any 'sense' of participation and 'self help' is skewed into the service delivery model.

There is a real dilemma in all of this. Bougainville people have been cut off from the World for almost a decade.

'We are traumatised. We are very sceptical of outsiders. The last thing we want is someone coming in and running our lives for us. And yet the only model that Governments and NGO's have is 'service delivery'. Service delivery typically means 'You decide and do things for us'.'

'Participatory self help action' as the Laceweb know it, does not meet either the funding criteria or the evaluation criteria of 'service delivery' models. These two models belong in different worlds.

To attempt to place a top down service delivery organisation in a watchdog role over us using 'service delivery' criteria to 'ensure we are doing things 'properly' is unacceptable and unworkable in respect of this Participatory Self Help Action Plan and the accompanying Micro-proposal.

For example, a Laceweb proposal to the Australian Federal Government Health Department's Rural Health Support and Education Section (RHSET) in 1993 was prepared based on 'participatory self help'. The proposal was extremely appealing to the Department though deemed to be 'poorly written' - translate this as 'not using service delivery' frameworks. The Laceweb received a further 52 questions to be answered so that they could evaluate us. All of these questions assumed 'service delivery' and 'service delivery frameworks, contexts and criteria'. While all the questions 'made sense' within the service delivery' model, around 45 of the 52 questions made no sense within the 'participatory self help' model.

Examples of 'service delivery' questions the Laceweb was asked by the Australian Government's RHSET section:


Specify the services that you will be delivering?


None. The focus of action is 'self help' as specified in our Proposal. We may enable self-heal/self-help if asked.


Who will be delivering the services?



No services will be delivered. The Proposal is for self-help healing action through informal networks.

The current 1998 interpretation of an appropriate response to the above question would be expressed as there may be the very circumscribed ‘service’ of sharing helpful micro-experiences by Laceweb members - if locals want this enabling.


How will services be delivered?


There's no service delivery. Action evolves self help healing networks - enabling sharing of micro experiences may take place at healing gatherings - see Proposal.


What is the roll-out timetable?


This isn't one. Action is a function of local inclination and action.


What fixed training agenda do you have?


We are enablers, not trainers. We have no fixed agenda and there is no fixed agenda among Focal people. There is however an 'open agenda' with the themes specified in the proposal. What happens during our time together may be a function of local operative concerns and needs.


What are the qualifications of outside experts being used to research the current need?


No experts are being used. Actions are based on local knowings and wisdoms about what is missing in the Focal people's wellbeing. Self help is based on action research by locals. Outside enablers, differ from 'experts', as detailed in the proposal.

The Australian Government's RHSET Program had an extensive set of criteria that had to be met for proposals to be 'acceptable'. The criteria presupposed that certain pre-specified things must and will happen.

Participatory self help is 'not' prearranged- rather it 'organically unfolds'. With our model, nothing has to happen. Action is inherently tentative. Note the pervasive use of the tentative expressions 'may' and 'it's possible' throughout this plan. At the same time, with this tentativeness, local self help energy may do what service delivery can never do!

Within RHSET frameworks, certain aspects of wellbeing were clumped together - others were excluded. The Laceweb proposal to RHSET was all about integrated holistic wellbeing action that was fundamentally different to the 'what, why, when, where, and how of 'Sectorised service delivery'. Laceweb action has both integrity and Extegrity - the expansion of wholeness (a Laceweb concept).

An offer was made by RHSET to waive their normal criteria, though they would use their normal criteria to evaluate progressive action. The Laceweb declined funding to ensure that existing Laceweb momentum was not compromised.


For implementing proposals under this Plan we would accept co-vision relationships with international Indigenous/minority academic/research groups known to be experienced in participatory mutual-help and self-help models.

'Co-vision' is a concept borrowed from transnational management consulting. The term encapsulates contexts where trainers find that feedback from trainees train and change trainers so much that they have to change their training to fit the wisdom of the trainees. The concept equally applies to 'enabling' contexts.

The Laceweb realizes that it may participate in activities funded by others. It recognises the value of cross-cultural, cross-national and international guidance, and support in such circumstances.

The principles it favours are that in this wider context of humanitarian activities:

  • Funding entities monitor finance
  • Humanitarian (caring) people skilled in self help action assist with ethics and nurturant process
  • Disadvantaged Small Minority and Indigenous people assist in developing good results

The principles of balanced wide representation of stake-holder entities can be continuously explored. The recent Irish peace initiatives provide valuable lessons in this regard.

We will be fully accountable for funds. However to tie funds to doing 'participatory self help' according to 'service delivery' criteria is unacceptable - it is a contradiction in terms and action.

Evaluation is built into every participatory self help action. However, it will be evaluation using 'participatory self-help criteria of local people', not 'service delivery' criteria.

If funding bodies are so tied to 'service delivery' that they insist that it be used, then funds will not be accepted for this Plan and the Micro-proposal, and our progress will be so much slower.

And it was for good reason that the Australian Government's Austrade and AusAid jointly ran the conferences in Melbourne and Sydney a couple of years ago called 'Aid Business is Good Business'. Laceweb members' recollection from attending the Melbourne Conference is that more than 90% of Australian Aid money returns to Australian organisations who do the work, that every dollar of aid generates a further six dollars of follow-on business and that about 75% of aid projects fall down either completely or partly. The reasons given for this failing was because there is only central government involvement by the recipient country, and because of lack of substantive participation by grassroots people at the local level.

Put this record in front of say war traumatised, sceptical Bougainville people who are very wary of outsiders, with the Panguna Copper mine (implicated in the outbreak of hostilities) hovering in the background, and no wonder people are wary of those bringing gifts!


It is possible that in large scale disasters, healing self-help is the only process that may work with the large number of traumatised people involved. It is understood that the model of delivery of care and support by 'experts' almost invariably falls down in contexts where large scale disasters occur. This is because the sheer size of the task to be done stretches expert resources beyond effectiveness. Typically, you cannot get the numbers of experts that would be needed to help tens of thousands of people. The cost would be enormous.

Sure, there are different contexts and issues, however we understand that AusAid has put substantial money into 'service based' trauma support for Palestinians, and yet after a couple of years only a few hundred have been supported. We are talking about substantive support to 150,000 people in Bougainville alone!

What we are suggesting is that in large scale disasters, with the large number of traumatised people involved, healing through voluntary informal networks by experienced locals, enabled to engage in mutual-help and self-help healing action, is the only process that may work. This applies to both manmade and natural disasters. It applies Globally. Healing ways may spread far and wide like underground mycelium.

An evolving experienced voluntary mutual-help and self-help network holds forth the possibility of placing healing and nurturing experiences and behaviours out in the local communities. Here they may be spread and incorporated into every aspect of communal life, as people go about their daily lives. Some people may desire to take on the enabling, healing micro-experience sharing, nurturing and/or caring roles. People in these roles may develop further nurturing carers within the communities in evolving the self-help support network.

Following many years of gatherings and discussions between Laceweb enablers Australian Indigenous/disadvantaged small minorities, East Timorese, Bougainvillian and other like minority people, self -help healing networks are already evolving in a number of areas of the Region. For example, small healing networks of East Timorese and Bougainvillians are evolving around respective safe havens in Top End Northern Territory, and Far North Queensland regions in Australia (refer the accompanying Micro-proposal). Conceptions of transfer sociograms as to how the sharing of healing ways may work may be found on the Internet.

Some local nurturers among Focal people are sharing healing ways. They are very keen to extend their healing micro-experiences. Following these gatherings and discussions between Laceweb enablers and East Timorese/Bougainvillian and other Focal people, the following possible themes, processes and healing micro-experiences may be shared and explored.


The following material has now been prepared as a manual for 14 Workshops found at Trauma Healing Program.

The following is based upon Experiential Learning.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said:

       For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.

Experiences use and adapt the older Ways of the Region.

Where children were learning things by watching what older people do.

And particularly, watching how they do the things they are doing.

By copying older people and experiencing doing lots of things.

And this learning is also happening among adolescents.

It is a cooperative activity – involving lots of sharing.

The focus is on learners in the process of learning.

Facilitators creating contexts ideal for learning.

In our own cultural Way.


Through the Oceania SE Asia Australasia Region our experience has been that grassroots folk with little past experience in wellness action can take on new learning through experiencing transforming ways.


Wellness, Relational Mediation and other LEARNING EXPERIENCES have been shown to be very effective in rapid release of problems of low self-esteem, jealousy, alcoholism and drug addiction, misunderstanding, anxiety, grief and depression, argumentativeness, abusive behaviour, public disturbance and other problems. They are very useful for those coping with disputes in family and community relationships.


Basic healing ways may be experienced very quickly and they are easy to pass on to others so they may also experience.


It is considered that a monitor or intake counsellor will need 45 hours instruction and field experience, a mediator 90 hours and a senior mediator 180 hours. A master mediator will need about 360 hours.

Facilitators are available to set up contexts for groups to share in experiencing transforming ways

Healing Support for:

  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Women
  • Men
  • Families
  • Communities

Themes and contexts for healing within and between the above groups

  • Establishing rapport
  • Gaining acceptance of the healing support role
  • Identifying specific issues to be resolved, including 'being safe' and 'exploitation of sexual identity'
  • Resolving anger and violent behaviour
  • Resolving the effects of psycho-social, physical and sexual abuse - feeling safe again
  • Identifying and using existing psycho-social resources
  • Healing grief, shame and loss
  • Letting go 'war zone' mentality - feeling safe again
  • Using individual, family and community healing processes
  • Healing play, games, fantasy and fun
  • Enabling well-being resources
  • Empowering well-being
  • Enabling the building of community; developing resources; forming support coalitions and fostering
  • support networks and friendship
  • Strengthening caring law
  • Evolving humane democratic community

Getting a good night’s sleep

Resolving the following:

  • Difficulty in getting to sleep
  • Nightmares
  • Night panic attacks
  • Fear of the dark
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Bedwetting
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Massive body tension
  • Waking early in the morning
  • Continual sleeping
  • Tired, exhausted but wide awake
  • Breathing difficulties interrupting sleeping
  • A set of micro-experiences/processes for resolving the above issues

Eliminating torture and trauma associated phobias, obsessions, compulsions and panic attacks, and problematic behaviours

  • Phobias
  • Obsessions
  • Compulsions
  • Panic attacks
  • Agoraphobia
  • Stopping payback
  • Resolving psycho-social issues associated with disfigurement

Reducing, Interrupting, Resolving and Stopping Anger and Violence

  • The roots of violence
  • The psycho-physiology of anger, fear and violence
  • Interrupting reactive behaviour
  • Using healing 'mediation therapy/counselling' to resolve anger, fear, payback and other violence
  • Body approaches in resolving anger
  • Resolving anger and violent behaviour in and within each of the above groups
  • Healing the suffering from torture and trauma
  • Working through grief for adults, adolescents and children
  • Artistic expression for diagnosis and healing
  • Cultural healing artistry
  • Resolving the effects of psycho-social, physical and sexual abuse in children, adolescents and adults, - feeling safe again
  • Sensory submodalities - change patterns
  • Re/empowering identity; Re/creating hope

Actions may evolve according to local operative needs, concerns and issues.

The following may be possible broader healing themes:

Reconciling, Rehabilitating and Healing of Torture and Trauma Survivors.

  • Negotiating priorities and needs.
  • Displaced, dispossessed and refugee issues.
  • Longer term effects of torture on the person and society.
  • Trauma and torture related disorders in the context of civil strife, warfare and the trauma of those caught in the cross-fire.
  • The painful experience of exile, migration and re/settlement.
  • Introducing healing issues.
  • Issues for supporters and carers in the field of torture and trauma.

Specific issues and needs for healing local people

  • Issues in setting up healing networks among torture and trauma survivors.
  • Models of healing among torture and trauma survivors.
  • Supporting refugee and displaced communities.
  • Strategies for developing healing networks among torture and trauma survivors

Issues for Enablers, Healers, Supporters, and Carers

  • Enabling the Gifts of Intercultural Healing
  • The loving nurturer
  • Understanding the effects of exposure to torture and trauma in the context of civil strife and the refugee experience.
  • Effects on the children and adolescents.
  • Effects on the women
  • Effects on the family.
  • Effects on men
  • Effects on children, family and friends of torture and trauma sufferers
  • Effects on combatants
  • Rehabilitating, healing and reconciling of torture and trauma survivors in the local, national and global context.

Healing Processes

  • Principals of Healing
  • Healing Models
  • Mediation Therapy and Mediation Counselling
  • Individual Care
  • Family Community Therapy
  • Group Approaches
  • Community therapy
  • Crisis intervening and debriefing
  • Evolving local healing networks
  • Transferring and Projecting: Clearing misunderstanding transferred from the past, and projected on to the other side.
  • Anti-burnout strategies, debriefing and self-healing
  • Enabling and Guiding Enablers, Healers, Supporters and Carers enabling ethics law - the law of sisterly/brotherly love, expressing the caring Integrity of communities.

Issues for healing micro-experience sharers

  • Evolving torture and trauma issues in differing contexts.
  • Developing healing micro-experience sharing possibilities.
  • Enabling contexts with possibilities for micro-experience sharing.
  • Exercises for different purposes.
  • Enabling and Guiding enablers, healers, supporters, carers.
  • Clearing transferred bias, prejudice, misunderstanding in healing micro-experience sharers (counter-transference).
  • Building self help therapeutic community models of 'torture and trauma healing' in rural and remote settings.
  • Building the self-help network.
  • Debriefing enablers, carers, supporters and healers

A Framework for Intercultural Healing:

  • Well-being for self, family, community and surrounding communities
  • Caring for land, air and seas.
  • Good relations between people and with the environment.
  • Openness, fairness and love are healthier than force.
  • Caring law and humane democratic community



    • Healing
    • Being a Nurturing Resource
    • Mediation Therapy/Counselling
    • Resolving Issues


  • Rapport Building - being at one, moving together. Ganma. A wide range of verbal and non-verbal rapport building processes may be explored.
  • Gathering information, monitoring and precision questioning. Using simple language models and other forms of expression that may enable helpers to gently and caringly assist others to express themselves.
  • Accurate clues reading: survivors/disputants and their body language. May enable helpers to notice discrepancies between verbal and non-verbal behaviours as well as other unspoken indicators as an aid to resolving issues.
  • Language micro-experiences. Big and small chunks, Yothu-Yindi. May enable helpers to use simple, graceful, caring and healing language to foster healing.
  • Assessing the client's internal states, strategic and sorting patterns, and external relationships. May enable helpers to identify and use the unique aspects of how a client behaves and experiences life and makes internal representations of this experience - for enabling possibilities for healing.
  • Well-formed outcomes in healing, Mediating and problem solving. Galtha. May enable helpers to maintain a nurturing outcomes focus.
  • Anchoring - Few or one-trial re/learning. This is an easy to learn process that may have wide applicability in healing. It may enable clients to expand flexibility and choice in their emotions, internal experience and personal resourcefulness towards well-being.
  • Creative vagueness. This healing micro-experience process may enable the other person to bypass aspects of self that may hold back healing.
  • Reframing/deframing - finding constructive meanings, resolving internal and external conflicts, seeing trouble in a better light. We all make our own representations of our experience, sometimes in ways that may prolong pain and suffering. 'Deframing' may free up fixed ways of experiencing the world. 'Reframing' may allow survivors to place past and present experience within more helpful and healing frameworks.
  • Sensory submodalities - change patterns. We all use our various senses in special ways to make sense of our lives. An extensive set of very simple processes may be explored that may allow people to make profound and lasting changes in their lives and how they respond to past events.
  • Dissociation - separating memories from bad or violent feelings. Simple processes may be introduced that may allow people to break the previous inevitable link between recall of trauma and the re-experiencing of the associated pain. These healing micro-experiences may reintroduce flexibility and choice into lives; they may prepare participants for a possible subsequent micro-experience set relating to emotional choice.
  • Accessing and re-accessing psycho-social resource states. We all have a differing set of psycho-social resources states such as joy, calmness, tranquillity, engrossment and energy. Often people may have a range of resource states that they may have not linked into for many years. A set of micro-experiences may be explored that may enable others to tap into their resource states, enhance them, and to build new ones.
  • Creating healing futures. People vary in the way they use their senses to make representations of possible futures. Some people may have no processes for making representations of the future. It may be that they literally can't see a future for themselves. Others may only see bleak futures. Micro-experiences may be explored that may allow people to build internal representations of healing futures that may sustain and enrich.
  • Changing personal history, re-imprinting, creating hopeful futures; evolving well-being perspectives on previous painful or angry attitudes. People make representations or 'maps' of their experience and use their senses in specific ways to 'file' experience. For example, some may recall 'good' times as very small hazy gray two dimensional images that may be seen at a great distance in the mind's eye, whereas awful experiences may be recalled larger than life - in full color right - right before one's eyes.

For these people, to 'recall' may be to relive and re-experience the pain and anguish. At the same time both the present and past good times may be devalued and no source of pleasure. Such processes may continually traumatize. Experience has demonstrated that helping people explore and change how they use their brain and senses may have profound healing value.

  • Altering emotional states. A set of processes may be explored that may allow people to readily enter and leave any emotional state at will, towards having emotional flexibility and choice.
  • Accessing states and chaining - resourceful habits and good moods; dramatic pattern-interrupt. Life scenes. This is a set of micro-experiences that may allow some of the prior micro-experiences to be used together to obtain healing outcomes.
  • Mediating Metaphor - storytelling, performance and image writing as parables for healthy tolerance and cooperative living. Throughout time, stories and other forms of metaphor have been used for promoting healing change. A set of specific micro-experiences may be explored for creating simple, though powerful, healing metaphors.
  • Caring and sharing the Aboriginal way - home, street and rural Mediation Therapy/Counselling. An extensive set of micro-experiences and processes may be explored that foster relationship building and healing happening between people in conflict, within a Healing Mediating frame.
  • Conversational change. This set of micro-experiences may allow healing Action to take place 'on the run' as it were, as one goes about relating with other people in day to day contexts.
  • Context healing, street mediation and group story performance. Draws on indigenous healing process, corroboree, therapeutic communities, dance movement and Keyline organic farming concepts and processes. Uses natural and evolving contexts as healing possibilities. Embraces Mediation Therapy/Counselling for strengthening healing, relationship and community.
  • Mapping Across - freeing limiting beliefs and attitudes. A set of processes and micro-experiences may be explored that may allow clients to free up limiting beliefs and attitudes towards more flexibility and choice.
  • Increasing flexibility and choice relating to use of bad or rigid habits. Releasing over-dependence and blocked emotion. These are a set of micro-experiences and processes that may be simple to use and profound in effect. They involve using language and sensory experience in specific ways that may loosen up recurrent unpleasant body sensations such as chest and throat constriction, churning stomachs as well as possibly stop compulsive, obsessive and phobic behaviors.
  • Self-Mediating micro-experiences for criticism and argument. The friendly voice. This set of micro-experiences and processes again uses shifts in the particular way people use words and their senses to make sense of the world.
  • Healing Movement and Somatic Processes. Many body approaches to change are available that involve becoming aware of how we move and tense our bodies. People who are depressed typically look depressed. They literally are low. Often they have shoulders slumped forward. The spine is shortened. They may pull their heads in. Anyone adopting this set of body holding patterns may soon start to feel awful! This hints that we may possibly change states by moving away from problematic postures. Healing Movement process involves very simple movement with awareness of the movement. It's now being taught to rehabilitative and sporting physio-therapists around the world. These simple processes may allow possibilities for graceful and elegant movement towards sustainable well-being.
  • Outdoor Action play. Individual and group experiences, processes, initiatives and rituals for possibilities that may build trust in self and others, and possibly build co-operation, community enrichment, self resourcefulness, self reliance, group support and which may improve dispute solving.
  • Intercultural and inter-ethnic consensus; respect for cultural diversity, negotiation of meaning, joint authority, the principles of humanitarian (caring) law. Processes and micro-experiences for establishing possibilities for healing relating between differing cultures and ethnic groupings.
  • Developing ethnic and cultural self esteem - resolving shame and guilt. Many of the above micro-experiences may be used in possibly resolving these issues.
  • The Australian Bliss-symbols system; the blissful picture writing view - re-viewing and imaging. Uses processes adapted from Aboriginal bark and sand painting and drawing, iconic images, healing artistry and the Australian Bliss-symbols system.
  • Cultural healing Action. Processes drawing on influences from traditional and other cultures around the world. Cultural Healing Action can run from less than an hour to several days (or weeks). People may be involved in energetic and not so energetic games and activities - in drama, music, creative writing, dance, visual arts, theatre, and group dynamics.

Enablers may have a broad concept of activities and possibilities for the time together. Typically, the process may start out with some structure. After a time, activities and games may begin to emerge out of the spontaneous responding of the participants, with action possibly evolving from the energy and inclination of the moment. In a very real sense, the participants may evolve their own experience together.

Participants of all ages may explore creative and artistic ways of examining their local cultural well-being issues of concern to the participants and their communities; examples may be: violence, torture, trauma, grief, sexual, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide and correctional healing experiences. They may create short plays, songs and rhythms, poems, stories, dances, murals and postcards, and other materials about these issues.

The healing cultural activities as well as the dynamic group relating may provide corrective remedial and generative emotional micro-experiences that may lead to personal and group issues actually being healed/resolved during the process of exploring them. At the same time participants may be gaining competencies that they may use in the future.

Cultural Healing Action in general terms may involve actively fostering and sustaining cultural well-being. It may foster possibilities of people extending their own culture as a balance to other cultures which may be dominant, elitist and oppressive. As well, it is a movement for intercultural reconciliation and well-being.

It may foster the development of local Quick Response Healing Teams to possibly help resolve local community and international conflict. It may provide scope for local people to actively engender and promote values, language, practices, modes of action, arts and other aspects of a way of life (culture). These in turn may facilitate social emancipation, intercultural healing, cultural justice, as well as social and environmental well-being.


The healing mediation balance level is extended from family therapy, the 'family community therapy' of Fraser House, Australia (refer 'Fraser House' in Laceweb - Communal ways for healing the World) and the Family Mediation Services of Ontario, Canada.

Context healing, street mediation and group story performance includes origins from corroboree, therapeutic communities, Nelpful analysis (neurolinguistic programming), dance movement and Keyline organic farming.

Intercultural consensus includes Arnhemland Yolngu negotiation of meaning, joint-authority, and concepts such as Ganma, Galtha and Yothu-yindi. It is informed by principles of humanitarian (caring) law. Linking Indigenous wellness ways and the latest in the Brain Sciences -  refer:

o   Healing the Mindbody

o   Flexibility and Habit

o   Transforming the Whole of It – Applying Brain Research

The blissful picture writing view is adapted from aboriginal bark and sand painting, iconic images, and the Australian Bliss-symbols system.

Cultural Healing Action. Processes drawing on healing artistry and related influences from traditional and other cultures around the world, especially from SE Asia Pacific region, including the Tikopia people of the Solomon Islands and applications among Aboriginal and small minority people in SE Asia, Oceania, Australasia, and South America.

The Action approach is modified from mountaineering ropes courses, wilderness leadership, and the work of Scout Lee. She is a native American doctor of education who has used ropes and ritual in improving dispute solving and community enrichment.


Note that again, like the rest of this Plan, everything is expressed in tentative terms ('this or that may happen'). Nothing will happen unless we locals want it to happen as gatherings and actions unfold.

The following process may be used and imbedded firstly within the wider exploring of issues, themes, and priorities outlined above, and secondly, in sharing healing ways, and thirdly in evolving processes for creating trauma support networks.

Readers are again referred to the diagrams relating to sharing and spread of healing ways on the Internet page Laceweb Sociograms

This section has been evolved with local Focal people and takes the local perspective.

    • We may experience the above healing ways as a collection of 'micro-experiences'.
    • Each micro-experience may:
      • have no 'cultural baggage', or what little there is, may be discarded
      • be simple to use
      • get results
      • be easily passed on to others
      • be spontaneously merged with other micro-experiences and local healing ways
      • be spontaneously merged for holistic healing
    • Action research may be used - 'We try something and review the outcome'.
    • We locals may evaluate outcomes and modify process if deemed appropriate
    • In this way evaluation by us locals may be built into every aspect of any sharing/healing gathering
    • The total group of locals may separate into a number of small groups
    • Locals may select the healing micro-experiences we want to explore from the large range available through the enablers
    • Different groups may explore different micro-experience(s)
    • Locals may begin using/experiencing the micro-experience(s) after a 90 second briefing (a 'standard' we understand that is used by the enablers)
    • Locals may experience using the micro-experience(s) on themselves or others
    • Enablers may be a resource, if confirmation of the process is needed
    • Feedback may be given while a person is having a micro-experience or immediately afterwards
    • Feedback may be given at anytime by anyone present at the sharing/ healing gathering
    • We may explore our micro-experience and the outcomes of 'setting up' a micro-experience for another person or ourselves. Additionally we may make any changes we deem necessary
    • The 'receiving' local(s) may swap roles with the 'healing' local(s)
    • Each small group of locals may then become 'enablers' in passing on the set of micro-experiences they have been exploring to each of the other groups
    • After a time there may be a random shifting of locals between the small groups and shifting of the enabler working with a small group. By the end of the sharing/gathering, everyone may have worked with every local and enabler with whom they may want to work and who may want to work with them.
    • Sharings and Gatherings being attended by Focal people from different cultures have the added potential richness of sharing healing micro-experiences passing through culturally differing healing ways so that the others' practical useful enrichment may be adapted and adopted as felt appropriate
    • After a time in this process, and if and when we are ready for it (which may vary within individuals and groups), locals may begin combining micro-experiences to evolve spontaneously appropriate healing ways. For example, if 'hands-on' processes are being used, other verbal and non-verbal rapport-building micro-experiences may be used simultaneously, in order to enrich the process.
    • Given the above processes are under way, any local person or small group may be involved in some one or more aspects of the above process. It is not a 'lock-synch' linear process. It tends to become eclectic. Our local needs and interests may guide content and timing.
    • We locals may explore healing micro-experiences and pass them on while nurturing, supporting and healing ourselves and each other. Issues may be resolved during the sharing of micro-experiences.
    • Laceweb experience has shown that all of the above processes may apply to our young children as well. They too may easily have these micro-experiences and pass them on to adults and other children. They may use them effectively within minutes. Whole families may work together as a unit to heal themselves.
    • The process may provide scope for those locals who may want to, to take on an enabler role within the local and wider communities.
    • Implications of the above experiential model
    • Assuming the sharing/gathering divides up into say five small groups, locals may receive ways of setting up the various micro-experiences from other locals on say a 4:1 ratio.

Readers are again referred to Laceweb Sociograms for a richer feel for the following process.

    • That is, we may have received one set of micro-experiences from an enabler within our small group. We may then receive another four sets of micro-experiences from local members of the other four groups. Four fifths of anything being received may be coming from other locals. Given that in our own groups we may be experiencing giving to and receiving from other locals, most of what we may 'absorb' may be coming from our peers.
    • In so doing we are filtering the healing processes through our own - and in intercultural gatherings, other - cultural ways. So while the enablers may be the original source of the micro-experience, more than 80% of the sharing may be being received from other locals.
    • The enablers may be a resource. But they are not the resource. By the end of the sharing/ gathering we locals may:
      • have experienced a number of healing micro-experiences
      • be able to use these micro-experiences effectively
      • and may pass them on to others who, in turn, may use them effectively
    • We understand that the above process and the enablers 'way of being' tends to stop the enablers taking on a 'font of all wisdom' role. All things being equal, and if there is a desire for it, typically, we local participants may both experience and know that:
      • 'Healing micro-experiences are easy to use.'
      • Members of our family and our local community, through our enabling action, may now be richer resources to each other
      • We may get more of what we want from the enablers when we want it and pass it on to each other.
    • The prospect is that we locals may be using the healing micro-experiences effectively within about 90 seconds of first hearing, feeling and seeing them. We understand that there is no 'grand theory' to learn, or be daunted by.
    • We may, we understand, be passing on our new micro-experiences literally within minutes of receiving them.
    • We may get instant feedback of results and may make any small changes that may further refine our healing micro-experience.
    • These aspects of the process may be self-reinforcing.
    • Enabling and sharing rather than training
    • It may be noted that all of the above process differs from mainstream notions of 'training'.
      • The sharing/gathering is not a 'training course'.
      • Enablers are not 'trainers'.
      • We locals are not 'trainees'.
      • There is no set 'curriculum', though there are massive resources available
      • There is no 'syllabus' and there is no 'fixed' agenda. Rather, it may be an experiential sharing/gathering where:
      • We locals control content
      • We may be learners, micro-experiencers and 'healing micro-experience' sharers
      • We may actually heal and nurturer ourselves in the process of having and passing on micro-experiences
      • there may be an open agenda with the theme 'Healing Support for Torture and Trauma Survivors'
      • the specifics of content and process of the open agenda may evolve from the our local operative needs during the sharing/gathering and from what may be appropriate within the varying contexts and energies that emerge during our time together.
    • The enablers may be resource people for the above process. Enablers have a very large number of micro-experiences and healing ways that they may make available for us to select from and experience. It may well be that micro-experiences may be transferred into our wider community using experiential processes similar to the above.


One Laceweb person is engaged in research for his PhD tracing the history of the evolving within Australia of mutual-help and self-help participatory 'healing wellbeing' models through the 'Laceweb'. This healing social movement can be traced to community wellbeing action in Australia in the 1940's. It has since spread throughout region. The research is also collecting and documenting the nature, use, and outcomes of healing micro-experiences. Another PhD has the theme: Community Development Following the Restoration of Normalcy - Possibilities for Supporting the Evolving of Self -help Healing Networks in Bougainville. Another Laceweb person is also engaged in Ph.D. research. His topic is 'Participatory Self Help Action Models and Their Development and Use Among Aboriginal and Islander People in Australia'.


Local Laceweb people living in the safe haven of Cairns, Australia played host to indigenous and small minority delegates to the Small Island, Coastal and Estuarine people Gathering Celebration This gather was funded by the United Nations Human Rights Commission in June 1994. A Report to the UN on this gathering can be found at UN Report

The Laceweb has been exploring and using forms of mediation therapy and mediation counselling. They are simple, yet profound. At times it may be possible for whole communities to enter into cultural healing action. A sociogram depicting this possible move into therapeutic community is shown in the last two diagrams on the Laceweb Sociogram page. Also refer Relational Mediation and the Daughter on Bail.


With many people of differing political persuasions advocating 'smaller government' it may well be that the model involved in this Plan and the Micro-proposal may have relevance in fostering contexts where communities and groups anywhere in the World may take a greater role in caring for themselves rather than asking Governments to do things for them.

Perhaps governments at all levels who are seeking to shift from a focus on 'service delivery' to 'participatory self-help' could use the unfolding Laceweb experience in building policy and programs based on the participatory self-help model as a complement to service delivery. Refer the Laceweb paper 'Governments and the Facilitation of Community Grassroots Wellbeing Action', a paper forwarded to the RHSET section of the Australian Federal Health Department in 1993.


Laceweb enablers have worked closely with Focal people from all parts of the Region in evolving this Plan and the associated Micro-proposal. They are pervasively keeping to the processes local people are asking for. Uncompromising funding support can see the self-help healing networks that are an evolving colourful and magnificent field of activity, further blossom.

The above organic process is resonant with the Focal people's healing ways and with the Laceweb enablers' desire firstly, to use mutual-help and self-help' processes, and secondly, to stay clear of a kind of pseudo-help that disempowers and leaves control of process and content to outside 'experts'.

This Plan and the Micro-proposal may well form a model for wider support by Government and NGO's.

The possibility is that the further evolving of these healing networks will not only help bring healing to oppressed and war ravaged people, it may well be a major process for confidence building towards consolidating a caring peace.


Providing support

Perhaps you may want to support this project and the related Micro-Action and be part of an extra-ordinary healing Odyssey.

Feedback & Email

 Other links:

Laceweb Home Page

Short Version of this Project

Laceweb - Evolving a SE Asia Pacific Self Help Trauma Support Intercultural Network - A Small Micro-Proposal


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