Johan Hansen – Our Founder
The New Life Foundation was founded in June 2010 by Johan Hansen, a Belgian entrepreneur. Johan’s lengthy struggle with cocaine addiction led him to join many rehabilitation programs around the world with little success. He first discovered the healing powers of mindfulness practice and community in Thailand at Wat Thamkrabok. After his stay at Thamkrabok, Johan continued to study mindfulness at workshops around the globe, becoming more and more convinced these practices could help those who are struggling on their path towards freedom, and happiness.
Johan decided to share his experience by founding a non-profit centre offering an affordable mindfulness-based recovery program. He bought 67 acres of land in Chiang Rai province, near the Golden Triangle, in order to establish a community where people from all over the world could take the time to start a new life. Johan is no longer with us, but we continue the work at the foundation in his memory.
Julien Gryp – Our Director
Julien suffered from substance abuse issues for more than seven years. His road to recovery began in 2002 when his father brought him to Thamkrabok monastery to participate in the 30-day detox program. Afterwards, Julien decided to ordain as a Buddhist monk for eight years. During this time, he intensively studied meditation and mindfulness practices, and was astonished by their transformative powers.
Julien met Johan at the monastery and agreed to lead Johan’s project to create a community where recovering addicts could go to recuperate after the monastery’s famously grueling detox program. This concept was broadened to include others in need of a space for shelter and the tools for acceptance and moving forward – victims of abuse, sufferers of depression, and anyone else who was undergoing difficulties in their lives. Hence, the New Life Foundation was born.
Thanks to his experience as a monk at Thamkrabok and his work at New Life, Julien has found calmness and serenity, as well as his purpose in life: to share his experience with others who are suffering and help them find a path towards recovery.
New Life is a healing community made up of the residents, volunteers, guests, and staff that join us from around the world. Some stay with us for a few weeks and others for a few months or even years. Yet, despite the changing nature of our community something remains constant throughout – a sense of openness, kindness and acceptance to all who pass through.
It is our mission to create an organisation where the atmosphere, environment, and all the activities help to cultivate mindfulness, and all community members share a love for learning and spiritual growth.
Our core team of therapists offer a wide range of therapeutic skills, including: Addiction Therapy, Hakomi, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, EMDR, Art Therapy, Biodanza, Body-Centered Therapy, and Enneagram. We also benefit from the skills and talents of our incredibly rich, and diverse community members, who offer regular sessions of Yoga, 5 Rhythms dance, Reiki, drum circles, and much more.