The Australian Childhood Foundation “Prosody” Trauma Conference

The week of 6-10 June has been devoted to attending an important conference in Melbourne: the Australian Childhood Foundation “Prosody” Trauma Conference. Speakers have included the flowing illuminates of the trauma field:

  • Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson is a Jiman – Aboriginal Australian (from Central west Queensland) / Bundjalung (Northern New South Wales) woman, who also has Anglo-Celtic, and German heritage and works in trauma and Indigenous methods of healing.
  • Dr Dan Siegel is currently clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine where he is on the faculty of the Centre for Culture, Brain, and Development and the Co-Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Centre (Los Angeles, USA).
  • Vittorio Gallese is Professor of Human Physiology at the University of Parma, Italy with appointments in the departments of neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology. He is an expert in neurophysiology, neuroscience, social neuroscience, and philosophy of mind. He is one of the discoverers of mirror neurons.
  • Jonathan Baylin – Dr. Baylin received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1981. He has been working in the mental health field for 35 years.
  • Dr Dan Hughes has been a psychologist specializing in the treatment of children and youth with severe emotional and behavioural problems. His work has focused on children and youth who experienced developmental trauma and attachment disorganization along with their foster and adoptive families.
  • Pat Ogden Ph.D., is a pioneer in somatic psychology and the founder/director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® Institute in Colorado (USA), an internationally recognized school specializing in somatic–cognitive approaches for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and attachment disturbances.

And more! Amazing Conference, next on in 2018. The main message from all of the mega-brains sharing research and wisdom? We are all connected, and working through relationship is the way to recover from trauma.

Yes! The HEAL therapists are right on track!

A Big Thank You!

A big thank you to our supporters who have already snapped up all of the tickets to our annual lunch! This year we feast at “Caravanserai” at West End on May 15th, to celebrate another year of providing creative arts therapy to refugee young people in Brisbane.

120 friends of the Friends of HEAL will relax together over Turkish food, with the opportunity to win great great raffle prizes, such as a funky yellow adult’s bike provided by Ray White, a bubbly bottle of Verve Clique,or a beauty package for some lucky lady. See you there!

Big News!

Our work in the community was recognised at the United Nations Queensland Community Awards, where Friends of HEAL received a Meritorious Award for such work as assisting cultural integration of young refugee people.

Our Chairperson, Adele Rice, also received a Community Award for her years of dedication to young refugees as well as for developing Friends of HEAL Foundation and for the “Songs of Hope and Healing” event put on by QPAC.

‘FHEAL’ Good Event Makes Difference to Young Lives

Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) is proud to announce the results of a special fundraising event held in its Concert Hall on Friday 28 August 2015.
The Songs of Hope and Healing concert was presented by QPAC to raise funds for Brisbane’s Friends of the Home of Expressive Arts and Learning (FHEAL).
Formed in 2012, the Friends of Heal Foundation exists to provide creative arts therapy to young people of refugee backgrounds through the provision of mental health services and settlement assistance. FHEAL offers direct relief of suffering for many newly arrived young refugees through opportunities for cultural expression, connection and understanding.
QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said the concert, which brought Brisbane’s artistic community and popular guest soloists together, raised a total of $15,000.
“This heart warming concert not only showcased the extraordinary talent we have in our city, along with a wonderful youth choir from Christchurch New Zealand, it raised awareness and funds for the vital work that FHEAL does for newly arrived young refugee’s, many who have suffered unimaginable personal circumstances before coming to Australia.
“We are proud to have been able to support FHEAL in their endeavours and thank Songs of Hope and Healing audiences for their contribution to this great community outcome,” said Mr Kotzas.
FHEAL Chairperson Adele Rice said the Foundation was grateful for QPAC’s support.
“I would like to sincerely thank everybody at QPAC for taking to heart the work of our Foundation. We are passionate about our work with refugee young people and thrilled that the money raised at the concert will enable us to extend our services,” said Ms Rice.
FHEAL works to support young refugees in Brisbane including such services as HEAL (Home of Expressive Arts and Learning) at Milpera State High School, which has been providing creative therapy since 2004.Thanks to the work of the Foundation the service now also exists in other schools where there is a need. HEAL therapists work with young people who have endured traumatic experiences in their refugee journeys. The use of creative arts therapies including Arts Psychotherapy and Music Therapy has been shown to improve well being and settlement outcomes for these future young Australian citizens.
Songs of Hope and Healing featured an introduction by the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO and Botswana born community leader Sharon Orapeleng as MC.
The concert showcased special guest singer and songwriter, LIOR and classical pianist Shan Deng and featured performances from QPAC Choir, Aurora Guitar Ensemble, Christchurch Youth Choir, Queensland Conservatorium Brass Band, The Boxties, and Gallipoli Choir; the combined choirs from St Joseph’s College Gregory, Terrace and All Hallows’ School. It also featured Dr Wei Dang pipa (a Chinese four stringed lute) soloist and musicians from Queensland Youth Orchestra.
For further information, images or interviews please contact: Cindy Ullrich, Publicity Manager QPAC ph (07) 3840 7589,
mobile 0434 366 038 or

Songs of Hope and Healing: More Than a Band-Aid

Walking into the Graceland concert at Brisbane Entertainment Centre years ago, I said how excited I was to be seeing Paul Simon live! An African friend questioned me in his sonic-boom voice, ‘Who is Paul Simon? I’m coming to see Miriam Makeba’.
There could have been similar confusion about the billing on Friday 28 August 2015 walking to the Songs of Hope and Healing benefit concert at QPAC. There were rusted-on Lior fans filing in side-by -side local support teams for The Galiipoli Choir and The Boxties to fill the Concert Hall. Musical tastes were certainly diverse. Yet the over-whelming sense I had was of an audience dedicated to the broader issue of the night—relief from distress for refugee adolescents.

There were moments when this commitment was palpable: like the audible hush when The Honourable Quentin Bryce talked about her experience of meeting children and their mothers in the dust of the African desert; the spontaneous applause when Adele Rice announced that Germany would not turn away refugees from Syria; and the appreciation of a personal testament shared by MC Botswana -born community leader, Sharon Orapleng. The audience could not help but be spell-bound by both the music and the stories of the night.

All praise should be heaped on QPAC, in particular CEO John Kotzas, for presenting this night of musical excellence. Songs of hope and healing were heard from the QPAC Choir, Christchurch Youth Choir, MDA Diversity Choir, Stuartholme Choir, The Gallipoli Choir under the experienced baton of Tim Sherlock with Brisbane schools St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace and All Hallows, Aurora Guitar Ensemble, The Boxties, Queensland Conservatorium Brass, and musicians from the Queensland Youth Orchestra. The performances by acclaimed classical pianist Shan Deng and her father Dr Wei Dang on his pipa (a Chinese four-stringed lute) were thrilling. Knowing that Ms Deng is a past student of Milpera made her appearance even more potent.
All proceeds raised by the generosity of presenting artists and ticket buyers will support Friends of HEAL to continue their work providing relief from distress and education and cultural integration for refugee adolescents. It began at Milpera State High School and has been nurtured by the CEO of FHEAL Jane Griffin and Board Chair, Adele Rice AM. Both express their overwhelming gratitude for what they hope will be the first of such benefit concerts.
For more information about FHEAL and how you can contribute, please
Contact OR visit
REVIEW by Belinda Macartney
• writing & editing • communications & marketing services
• M 0411 037377 • E

Many Thanks – Songs of Hope and Healing

Thanks to all who attended the QPAC Concert Hall “Songs of Hope and Healing” on Friday night.
It was a magical evening, and we so enjoyed your support while enjoying the talented Lior, Shan Deng, Wei Deng, the Gallipoli Choir, the QPAC Choir, the Stuartholme Choir, Aurora Guitar Ensemble, the BoxTies, the Christchrurch Youth Choir, and the QLD Conservatorium Brass Band.
Thank you to Dame Quentin Bryce for her speech and support of our organisation.
A huge thank you to Sharon Orapeleng who was our marvelous host for the evening and finally great thanks to John Kotzas QPAC CEO and the QPAC team for making it all happen.
See the FHEAL Facebook page for some great images of the night.
Jane Griffin – CEO