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Healing images, healing stories, a new dreaming

Professor Helen Milroy

Although there have been major breakthroughs in health and medical technology, there remains a significant gap in life outcomes for Indigenous peoples in Australia. An increased focus on treating 'disease' is not going to close the gap. Healing from an Indigenous context is much broader than treating illness and in the context of transgenerational trauma and loss, requires a different approach. Healing images and healing stories is based on cultural understandings of connection, relationships and the healing process. Whilst it may be important to move forward, the past is ever present and healing the past allows a new dreaming to emerge to put right the future. This paper will explore the duality of healing through understanding what stories and images need to be healed and how stories and images are a process in healing. Using cultural understandings of story, image and metaphor, an interconnected sense of self can be developed which promotes resilience and connection for eternity. As well, developing a sense of self, based on image, story and ecological connections gives a unique sense of purpose and place not usually contained within a psychodynamic formulation.

24-28 August 2011 Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Darling Harbour, Australia.
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Helen Milroy
Helen Milroy
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Professor Helen Milroy

Helen Milroy is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia but was born and educated in Perth. She studied Medicine at the University of Western Australia, worked as a General Practitioner and Consultant in Childhood Sexual Abuse at Princess Margaret Hospital for children for several years before completing specialist training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. At present Helen works as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Bentley Family Clinic and Families At Work residential program, and as a Professor and Director for the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health at the University of Western Australia.

Helen is currently a member of many State and National committees and has been on a number of College policy committees, reference and advisory groups. Helen is a Past President of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA), current member of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health, and is a board member of Headspace, the National Youth Mental Health initiative, as well as a member of the Western Australian Indigenous Implementation Board.

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