Suzanne van Deventer

“For the last 26 years I have lived out my passion to work with people, and especially children. I have often wondered why therapy just doesn’t work for some people. You spend hours planning and preparing only to return to the drawing board weekly to try something new. During 2021 my path crossed with HealingLeaves and Neurofeedback therapy. It was as if a light went on, that ‘AHA’ moment when you realize that no therapy will help until the person has learned to regulate his emotions and create new ‘brain pathways’.

This was a very expensive lesson that we learned, we literally spent thousands of rands on therapy with little results only to find out that we had underestimated the influence of trauma on the brain all along. Since this ‘AHA’ moment, we have been amazed at the difference in the new approach and our children’s readiness to address the trauma in their brains. I myself also benefited from this, as years of exposure to secondary trauma and removals left their scars on me and with the new ‘tool’ I could also embark on my healing journey, find new ways to teach my brain to respond differently to situations and, just like the children I work with, find hope for tomorrow again.”

Program Manager:  DPS Foster homes

“Brief feedback on how amazing the toolkits work in practice. Our foster parents went through the HELP course with you at the end of August 2021.

What an ‘eye opening’ experience it was for all of us – social workers included! We were privileged to get a sponsor who gave one gift to each of our 36 children after the training.

The children were super excited about their boxes and immediately came up with original ideas that they could add to their boxes and immediately started saving for them as well. One of the boys asked for a jump rope, another for a cube and another for a puzzle. It was so interesting to see what they took out of their boxes first. One of our 11 year old boys immediately started taking out the cloths and caressing them. I then heard for the first time that when he felt tired, overwhelmed or frustrated he would start rubbing the foster brother closest to him’s shirt sleeve. What is so amazing is that the children accommodate each other but when the cloth came out they drew the line and said from now on he must use his own cloth and no longer their sleeves.

One of our foster mothers uses the boxes not only to regulate emotions, but also as a ‘me time’ activity in the evening before the children go to sleep to calm them down. The girls are so cute that after dinner and everything is cleaned up, they go get their boxes and sit at the table and start busying themselves with drawing, journaling, dot painting, etc.

One of our 11-year-old boys in the North-West has terrible meltdowns at school, which upsets the peers as well as the teachers. The social worker identified a ‘foster’ teacher who she trained to use the toolbox. When the boy then has a meltdown, the teacher takes him directly to the ‘foster’ teacher who then helps him to regulate his emotions using the tool box. Once he is calmer he goes back to class and continues his day.

The toolkits are a most valuable and practical resource for young and old.”