As a trained trauma therapist and accredited mental health social worker, CaraCare’s founder, Mary Jo McVeigh saw the need for a very special programme for helping children who have been abused, traumatised and severely disadvantaged.
CaraCare runs unique and innovative group work programmes which combine senses, music, dance and creative arts to tap into a traumatised child’s natural healing potential and develop connections with others. Mary Jo sees child abuse not only as a family issue, but a societal one. She believes in the strength of action by all for all – healing the community by the community.
THE CARA PHILOSOPHY:
When we are in service of others we at Cara seek to bring hope where despair burdens, bring light where darkness creeps in, bring beauty where ugliness festers, bring joy where heaviness lies, bring love where pain sears.
Having a bank of experts contributing to the programmes, Mary Jo also saw the need for a sensory experience to help the children through smell. As we all know, certain smells can tie us strongly to a memory, whether it be good or bad. This process in the brain is called somatosensory flashback and is recalled long before a narrative memory is formed. Young children in particular often associate certain smells with their traumatic experiences. Equally, to create new positive memories, it is important to incorporate smell as part of the healing process.
It is with this in mind that Mary Jo approached Sharen Turner from Secret Scent Aromatherapy. She knew that Sharen’s aromatherapy knowledge and passion would be a great match for the CaraCare programme. Sharen set about creating a range of signature scents that supports the framework of CaraCare’s approach; to provide a holistic healing process.
Frankincense for Protection
The healing journey starts with a sense of protection and safety.
Lavender for Nurturance
When a child is protected from harm they can then nurture themselves and allow themselves to be nurtured by others. Lavender is a habit breaker, crisis smoother and fear alleviator.
Chamomile for Letting Go
This removes the self-limiting and negative practices that the abuse has imposed upon the child. It releases emotions, lifts depression and relieves anxiety and feelings of emptiness.
Bergamot for Release
Enabling the child to regain their belief in themselves and people around them. With this regained confidence they can fully participate in the world so they can be free to “be”.
Mandarin for Joy
With the freedom to “be” comes great joy and a sense of calmness. The burden of the effects of abuse is lifted and the child’s life becomes filled with the wondrous awe, beauty and joy that the gift of childhood bestows. Joy brings fun, happiness and improved mental and physical health.
Neroli for Moving Forward
With joy filling a child’s world where once there was struggle, they can embrace all that life has to give. They can make choices from a place of hope and leave despair behind.
To read more about the work that CaraCare does and find out how you can contribute and be involved, visit their website www.caracare.org.au.