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Collective Wellness: The Antidote to Burnout, Trauma & Loneliness

Before studying Public Health, I thought it was "all up to me".

Since studying Public Health, I see it is "all down to we".

A dear friend of mine from Naturopathic school, now a GP practicing in Northern NSW, used to whinge to me about the "entitled" and "well-healed" healers. I had no idea he was referrring to the small-minded-ness of our training and the absence of the perspective of Collective Wellness....until I studied Public Health.

Public Health teaches the value of structures...namely policy and practices...for creating the collective wellness or sense of belonging inherent to our mammalian biology.

Wellness of the individual is incomplete without wellness of the collective.

The former General Surgeon of the US, Vivek Murthy, explains this in his book "Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World" when he describes three kinds of loneliness.

  1. Intimate loneliness in relation to a lover, close family members, best friends or even pets.

2. Relational loneliness in relation to extended family, other friends, people we work with and people we know in our neighbourhood.

3. Collective loneliness in relation to community, groups and organisations to which we feel we belong, have a place and identify with.

You might feel really strong in one, but lack another. Which is your strongest? Which is your weakest? What is the smallest change you could make today to build strength in your weakest form of loneliness?

Vivek goes on to describe three kinds of social networks. The wide bowl which embraces differences but lacks the tight weave of a social fabric eg the city, which embraces diversity across culture, sexuality etc but is more anonymous than a village. The deep bowl which is less accepting of differences but holds a group together through policy or practices eg institutions. The wide and deep bowl which is accepting of differences and rich with policy and practices through which people feel a strong sense of identity, cohesion and connection. It's this third type which Vivek messages in his book for correcting all forms of loneliness.

Hearing Vivek's recommendation for this third kind of bowl reinforces my interest in social structures and my commitment to the Volunteers in our Community.

The six structures you might like to engage with here at the Practice, or translate in-house to your organisation:

  1. Our Vision to be an exemplar of individual and collective wellness through Spaces which uphold policy and practices of Non-Violence.

  2. Our Values of Relationship -> Respect -> Responsibility

  3. Our Mission to be a catalyst for changing the Medical Paradigm from external to internal authority, the Birth Paradigm from disempowering to super-empowering, and the Business Paradigm from competitive to co-operative (much of which we are seeing made manifest since inception in 2003).

  4. Trauma-Informed Policy, as proposed by with respect to their huge body of research and upheld by all members of the Clinic and Community.

  5. The Burnout & Trauma-Care Clinic, a Mysore-Style approach designed in response to my Masters Research, 3 years clinical practice with childhood trauma in adults, and in response to the frontline effects of COVID, and practiced here as a group each Saturday 8-9:30am.

  6. Non-Violent Communication Dyads, as created by Dr Marshall Rosenberg, and practiced here as a group on the last Sunday of every month 9:30-11:30am (by $5-10 donation).

Whatever your life's purpose, sustainable practice is essential.

Sustainable practices are those which:

  • Are embedded culturally

  • Are not dependent on you to drive them

  • Continue with strategic input only

  • Have the potential to be scaled up and/or out through others

Given we all know how critical sustainable practice is to the wellness of the planet, it is suprising to find the majoirty of us, including our relationships and organisations, lack a Vision, Values, Mission Statement, let alone policies which enable sustainability.

This Winter-Spring quarter, we're focused on sharing the structures that connect you with your calling. As an individual, within your relationships and as a collective.

Join me in carving out the clarity of your future. New Term Starts July 13th. Pick your Membership Option from our home page

I'm a Private & Public Health Practitioner with a special interest in the nervous system and social wellness. You can book in with me directly using our BOOK NOW button at the top of the page or email enquiries to 


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