The psychiatrist Bruce Perry notes that our ancestors developed systems of practices to heal trauma and loss. Amongst aboriginal cultures some common healing principles are present. The core elements in these rituals include creating a meaningful narrative within a broader belief system that can make sense of the trauma; The trauma gets re-enacted creatively through the arts in words, dance and song; different somatosensory experiences are employed including touch, patterned repetitive movements used in dance and music; and all of this occurs in an intensely relational environment with the whole clan participating. This provides a total neurobiological experience that accesses all the different parts of the brain by retelling the story, holding each other, massaging and moving, singing.

Images of the trauma are created, literature, sculpture and drama are used. The victim is reconnected with loved ones, the community celebrates, eats and shares, processing these experiences together. These healing practices are ‘repetitive, rhythmic, relevant, relational, respectful and rewarding’. This alters the dysregulated stress response bring the community and the person back into balance. Cultures from around the world converge on these general principles as they were passed from generation to generation because they worked. These rituals can be thought of as the essence of ‘evidence-based practice’ that have been teste over time and proved to be successful.