Living Well Communities


Associated Action Research




Inter-Community &

Regional Cooperative Partnerships in Living Well Communities

Program Working Group



While the 12 - 18 youth are a primary focus group of the Proposal, youth aged 18-25 and over age 25 groups would be incorporated at later stages.


As stated, the pre 12 at risk youth are worked with within the community context.


Later stages involve transforming the whole community to an inter-generational Living Well Community


The Proposal is a Twenty Year Program - involving no quick fixes, as typically there are inter-generational problematics.




Focal Issues - Enabling Cooperative Action:


·         Stopping Petrol Sniffing

·         Softening Abuse of Alcohol & Other Drugs

·         Stopping Civil Disobedience & Criminal Behaviour:

·         Supporting Transforming At-Risk Children & Adolescents

·         Stopping Family Violence & Community Violence

·         Stopping Property Violence and Theft


·         Learning Difficulties & Dysfunctional Psycho-Socio-Emotional-Spiritual Behaviour:


·         Attachment Disorder

·         Attention Deficit Disorder

·         Autism

·         Bellicosity, Verbal Abuse & Excessive Noise

·         Compulsive Behaviours

·         Depression

·         Hyperactivity Disorder

·         Hypo-activity Disorder

·         Malaise

·         Obsessive Behaviours

·         Rage Disorder

·         Respecting Law/Lore, Older People, Elders & Culture

·         Reward Deficiency Syndrome

·         Suicidal Predisposition

·         Truancy/Rejection of Schooling

·         Harmful Eating & Drinking (especially white sugar and flour)



Total Care Foundation Inc.




The Action Research Study & Program


The Living Well Communities Action Research Study (the Study) is an explorative study relating to evolving a proposal called


Living Well Communities (the Proposal).


The Working Group


The interdisciplinary working group comprises people exploring inter and intra community holistic experiential ways for resolving focal issues under the auspices of the Total Care Foundation Inc. - a non profit educational and benevolent organisation. The working group is not connected with any religion or political group and respect cultural and spiritual diversity.


The Proposals holds forth potential for evolving Living Well Communities among all communities as a global model of what human passion and wise endeavour together can evolve..


Amount Initially Applied for:


$5 Million




Nothing happens in the Study and Proposal unless local community members want it to.




Remote area communities typically and concurrently have:


a)     a strong desire by individual communities to solve their own problems

b)    a lack of local community people experienced in resolving many of the issues

c)     a strong desire to receive and control their own funding towards their resolving local problems

d)    many common issues between different communities which are degrading quality of life


It follows that while each community may have funding and control of matters within the community:


a)     it may be possible for sharing ‘ideas that work’ between communities and regions

b)    sharing may occur in ways that may have the recipients of sharings using or adapting what they want to local ways in resolving local issues

c)     there may be inter-community sharing in processes for evolving the capacities of local community people and programs during using and adapting ‘processes that work’


Aims of the Study


Mindful of each of the above, the proposed Study is to:


A.            Explore specific needs of focal people at risk in communities along the following holistically broad based themes:


a)             Stopping Petrol Sniffing & Softening Abuse Of Alcohol & Other Drugs

b)            Civil Disobedience & Criminal Behaviour:


i)              Stopping Family Violence & Community Violence

ii)             Stopping Property Violence and Theft

iii)            Supporting Transforming At-Risks Children & Adolescents


c)             Learning Difficulties & Dysfunctional Psycho-Socio-Emotional-Spiritual Behaviour, including:


i)              Attachment Disorder

ii)             Attention Deficit Disorder

iii)            Autism

iv)            Bellicosity, Verbal Abuse & Excessive Noise

v)             Compulsive Behaviours

vi)            Depression

vii)           Hyperactivity Disorder

viii)          Hypo-activity Disorder

ix)            Malaise

x)             Obsessive Behaviours

xi)            Rage Disorder

xii)           Respecting Law/Lore, Older People, Elders & Culture

xiii)          Reward Deficiency Syndrome

xiv)         Suicidal Predisposition,

xv)          Truancy/Rejection Of Schooling



B.            Introduce, Gather And Explore Community Acceptance Of Possible Change Processes

C.            Fine-Tune the Design of the Proposal,

D.            Cost The Proposal

E.            Test The Proposal’s:


i)              Community, Inter-Community And Regional Acceptance

ii)             Feasibility and

iii)            Likely Outcomes


F.            Ensuring That The Proposal has the Required Integrity, Transparency, Accountability and Rigour



Issue Resolving Processes Being Considered in Evolving the Proposal


In evolving the Proposal, the Working Group are embodying the use of a number of interrelated issue-resolving processes of demonstrated efficacy. As well, these processes seem to be culturally and inter-culturally acceptable in cultural-multicultural contexts.


The Study metaprocess:


1.     The local people to be supported in carrying out the Study – Research as transforming process

2.     NOTHING happens unless locals want it to happen


The Proposal metaprocess:


1.     Evolving the Proposal to be facilitated by local people, with the enabling support of other people on the Working Group

2.     NOTHING happens unless locals want it to happen

3.     Local communities may evolve their own segment of the proposal in the process of selecting, experiencing and acquiring issue resolving competences

4.     Each community may evolve their own program as part of the Proposal and have their own funding

5.     Participating communities may maintain cooperative partnerships with the other participating communities and regions in exchanging feedback of program processes and actions that work


Evolving Proposal Issue-Resolving Processes


Firstly, through discussions and profiling, identifying at-risk youth/older people and their specific issues and needs.


Secondly, having at-risk people involved in the Proposal and pre-study


Thirdly, having at-risk people involved in safe campouts away from the community.


For remote area communities with a pervasive problematic social atmosphere:


The initial focal group to be at risk 12 - 18 year old youths

Around 14-16 youths in the 12-18 age group to be taken to a designated ‘special place’ - more than 12 hours walking distance away from the community (so the disappearance of youth attempting to return to the community is discovered in time to retrieve them back to the camp)

To ensure all aspects of personal and group safety and wellbeing:


At-risk youth to be sub-grouped in sleeping and activities

A ratio of one adult resource person for every four youth to be maintained


Youths on the program to stay at the special place for three months


The place to be ‘off limits’ to people not connected with the Program


Youths to have periodic contact with family, elders, and other contact at another designated place 12 hours walking distance from the community


During the three month stay at the special place and the other designated meeting place, participating youth to have no access to petrol, tobacco, alcohol or any other drugs.



On top of periodic interesting trips and activities, the youth to be engaged daily in life-change experiences based on:


a)             Socio-emotional change processes evolved from indigenous socio-healing (Cawte, J., 1974, 1996)


b)            Local community law, stories, dance, and lore


c)             Processes experienced and gathered at the following celebration gatherings:


                                                                                          I.    1970 to 1974 Learning To Live Well Together ATSI gatherings in Armidale & Grafton NSW, (Iceton, N., 1970-76; Franklin. M., 1995; Kamien M., 1978)

                                                                                         II.    1992 Developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Drug and Substance Abuse Therapeutic Communities Gathering

                                                                                        III.    1993 Relational Mediating Gathering Tinaroo

                                                                                       IV.    1994 Small Island Coastal and Estuarine Peoples Gathering Tinaroo

                                                                                        V.    1971-2000 Indigenous Therapeutic Community Houses in Townsville Mackay and Cairns, Atherton & Darwin


Rapport Building – Ebb & Flow and Weaving processes - being at one, moving together  A wide range of verbal and non-verbal rapport building processes

Outback Craft-Artificer and Bush-Mechanic Work as Therapy Processes - gaining cattle station and other vocational competences

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

Therapeutic Storytelling Processes, context healing, street mediation and group story performance - draws on East Asia Oceania Australasia indigenous cultural and intercultural healing artistry processes, 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

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.

Caring and Sharing - home, street and rural mediation therapy/counselling - an extensive set of micro-experiences that foster relationship building and healing happening between people in conflict, within a healing mediating frame.

Cultural Healing Action - processes drawing on influences from East Asia Oceania Australasia indigenous 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, singing, carving, sculpture, dance, visual arts, theatre, and group dynamics.

Mediation Therapy & 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

Intercultural and Inter-Ethnic Consensus; respect for cultural diversity, negotiating meaning, joint authority, the principles of humanitarian (caring) law & Lore

Therapeutic Community Processes - reconstituting lives as we learn to live well together with others in community

Being Well – Experiential processes for re-connecting with our essence in all of its myriad forms – savouring and appreciating our sensing, moving, and feeling in being more well in our world with others


2.             Local community people to gain competencies in facilitating the program as:


a)             Therapeutic Activity Facilitators

b)            Eeg Biofeedback Practitioners

c)             Camp Cooks

d)            Camp Support


Fourthly - Profiling & Neurotherapy Biofeedback


EEG Biofeedback has emerged as an effective modality for resolving the above mentioned issues (Alhambra, M., Fowler, T. & Alhambra; Othmer, S., Othmer, S. & Marks C. Sept.,1991; Journal of Neurotherapy 1990 - 2001).


Once the camp out program routine is established, including regular biofeedback sessions, the Neurofeedback practitioner allocates one day a week to return to the community to provide:


a)             Biofeedback sessions to at-risk youth under age 12, and

b)            Interaction competences sharing with people who will be interacting with the youth when they return from the camp in 3 months - see list below


Fifthly: All the above processes are carried out within an Action Research frame. Change ways are adapted to context and if they work they may be used again in similar contexts. Both the Study and the evolving Proposal are being researched as part of Post doctoral research projects through James Cook University Alumni. A PhD researcher is a member of a UN Group of Experts on Supporting Survivors of Trauma.



The Steps in the Study Processes


·         Gaining acceptance of the six communities and the elders to be part of the Study

·         Aarranging for a community person in each of the six communities to be the law, cultural and linguistic liaison person for the Study in that person’s community

·         Holding a series of community, family and individual discussion/feedback sessions about the Study and the related Proposal over a five day period in each community

·         Identifying target youth, via interviews with the youth and relevant community members

·         Specifying target youths’ needs

·         Having target youth agree to participate in the Study

·         Carrying out EEG Biofeedback profiling on target youth as aid in identify the presence of symptomatic indicators of  dysfunctional behaviours such as Autism, Conduct Disorder, Tourette, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity disorder, and compulsivess/obsessiveness/adictive type behaviours

·         Gaining acceptance that at-risk people participate in the proposal

·         Identifying local people (five to eight) with aptitude prepared to receive training as various types of resource people for the Proposal:


Prior Research


A member of the Proposal resource training team was invited to a Remote Area Community. After researching the community, approximately 20 of a population of 250 were identified as full blown petrol sniffers. Over 10 were in the 12 - 18 age group. There were around 6-8 at risk pre-12 youth. On biofeedback testing, all 20 of the petrol sniffers fitted the Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) profile. 28 youth and elders participated in an eight day campout. All of the 20 at-risk people agreed to participate in a future program within the Proposal.


Remote Area Community Participation in the Study


Approaches are currently being made to other remote area communities relating to them participating in the Study.



The Proposal Being Holistically Broad Based


This Proposal’s action has three concurrent themes: 


·         the major theme is generating and nurturing good living 

·         this is closely followed by preventing impediments to good living, and thirdly

·         curing those affected by impediments 


Action is concurrently focused on:


·         increasing good living,

·         sustaining prevention, and

·         decreasing the need to cure.



One of the Proposal’s aims is to extend competences among the following people in interacting with the at risk people:


·         parents

·         the older women

·         the natural nurturers within the community

·         elders

·         extended family

·         community

·         teachers

·         police

·         magistrates

·         judges

·         Government service people

·         NGO’s

·         doctors

·         administrators


Study Budget Summary


Available upon request




Alhambra, M., Fowler, T. & Alhambra, A. EEG Biofeedback: A New Treatment Option For ADD/ADHD.

Internet Publication <>


Cawte, J., 1996. Healers of Arnhem Land. Sydney: UNSW Press.


Cawte, J., 1974. Medicine is the law: Studies in Psychiatric Anthropology of Australian Tribal Societies.  Adelaide: Rigby.


Franklin. M., 1995. Assimilation in Action - The Armidale Story. Armidale: University of New England Press.


Iceton, N, 1970-76. The Aboriginal Human Relations Magazine. Sydney: Connexion, Volumes 1-60.


Internet Nov 1999 An Example of Enabling Indigenous Wellbeing

Interrnet Publication:  <>


Internet, June,1997 Cultural Healing Action

Interrnet Publication:  <>


Sundry Articles on EEG Biofeedback, ADD & ADHD. Journal of Neurotherapy. Internet Publication:



Kamien, M., 1978. The Dark People of Bourke - A study of Planned Social Change. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.


Othmer, S., Othmer, S. & Marks, C., Sept.,1991. EEG Biofeedback Training for Attention Deficit Disorder, Specific Learning Disabilities, and Associated Conduct Problems. Internet Publication: <>


RSIG Report, 1994. The Report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission on the Small Island Coastal and Estuarine People Gathering Celebration

Interrnet Publication:  <>


Wilson, P., 1990. A Life of Crime. Newham, Victoria: Scribe, Ch. 6, p. 71-85.


Yeomans, N. T., 1980 From the Outback  International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, Vol. 1 (1), 1980, p.64. Internet Publication: <>


Yeomans, N. T., 1962. The Mental Health of Aborigines. The Medical Journal of Australia, 31 Mar, Page 497.


Yeomans, N. T., 1961a. Notes on a Therapeutic Community Part 1 Preliminary Report. Medical Journal of Australia, 2 Sept, Vol. 48, (2), pages 382-384.


Yeomans, N. T.,  1961b. Notes on a Therapeutic Community Part 2. Medical Journal of Australia, Vol. 48 (2), 18 Nov, pages 829-830.