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Intervoice - The International Community for Hearing Voices
Book Now: 2011 World Hearing Voices Congress

Welcome to the August Intervoice newsletter

This newsletter contains lots of news about events and developments in the international voice hearing community, but uppermost in our minds is the International Conference in Italy next month. It promises to be a very exciting weekend and it is not too late to book. The programme details are below.

If you have any network news to share with us, we would be delighted to hear it. You can contact us on Otherwise, let me wish you a very happy summer.

Dirk Corstens
Chair of Intervoice
Living With Voices: Paths To Recovery

Congress Programme Announced 

The exciting programme for our upcoming World Hearing Voices Congress and Intervoice Meeting in Italy (1st - 3rd September) has been announced. The Congress features: Stories of Recovery; Recovery factors, including emancipatory pride and user led research; paths to recovery, including exploring the relationship between voices and life history, coping strategies and hearing voices groups).  The Intervoice meeting includes presentations from national networks and innovative developments around the world.

View the full programme: 

For more information about hotels, hostel and travel options:, +39 019 807494 (Mon, Wed, Thur from 10 to 12 - Marisa Ghersi) 
For more information about the Congress programme:, +39 335 1362180 (Marcello Macario) 

Register online:

Out Now: 2009 & 2010 World Congress DVD 

DVD CoverIn partnership with Working To Recovery, Intervoice is excited to announce that the DVD containing highlights from the 2009 and 2010 World Hearing Voices Congress is now available:

In 2009 and 2010 voice hearers, mental health workers and family members from across the world met to share messages of hope and positive action. Presentations focussed on important aspects of the recovery process and discussed difficult issues such as the disease concept and the use of medication. Whether or not you can come to the Congress itself, this is a great opportunity to keep up to date with the latest developments in the Hearing Voices Movement.
Intervoice Research Committee

Intervoice Research Committee

Part of the mission of Intervoice is developing positive, hopeful messages that promote acceptance, tolerance and understanding of voice hearing experiences. One strategy to achieve this involves the generation of new knowledge and evidence. Unfortunately, however, much research presently being conducted maintains the idea that voices are in some way connected to illness or disease. We believe that this is because the questions posed are partly designed to come to this conclusion (for example, that voices “are a symptom of schizophrenia”).

In response to this, Intervoice has set up its own Research Committee. The Committee is comprised of a mixture of voice hearers, academic professionals and mental health workers. All its members are actively involved in international research into hearing voices and/or promoting more diverse understandings of the voice hearing experience. You can meet the members of the Committee here:

Our main aim is to generate knowledge that both supports the aims of Intervoice and influences society, the academic community and mental health practice. Crucially, however, our work will be informed by the needs of voice hearers themselves; issues which are relevant and valuable for them in their daily lives. We want voice hearers, as well as their friends, allies, and supporters, to respond to the query: what research questions are relevant to you?

For example, issues might include:
  • What is the effect of medication on voices?
  • How useful are self-help groups?
  • What are helpful ways for nurses and psychiatrists to respond to voice hearers?
  • What information is helpful for friends and family members?
  • What coping strategies are effective?
Once ideas and suggestions have been sent to us, the committee members will either put these questions onto their own research agendas, or encourage collaborators to address them (e.g., PhD students). In the long-term, we will also set up a database of questions that are available to other researchers from organisations and universities outside of Intervoice.

If you would like to submit a research suggestion, or just want further information, then please contact or see

Research Request: Attachment and Interpersonal Processes in Hearing Voices
George Robson, a clinical psycology student from the UK, is looking for voice-hearers to take part in an online research project to understand more hearing voices and whether they way people interact in relationships with others impacts on the way they interact with their voice(s). He's also interested about the way beliefs about voices impacts on people's relationship with their voices too. If you'd like to check out the survey, you can find more information here:  

National Networks

Is there some great work happening in your home country? Whether you have a thriving network, or are setting up something new, we want to hear from you. Email and tell us about it.

First Hearing Voices Group in Greece (Thessaloniki)

In March 2010 five voice hearers met Peter Bullimore in Thessaloniki and formed the first hearing voices group in Greece. The group encountered difficulties in facilitating itself, so Peter encouraged the members of the Observatory for Rights in the Field of Mental Health to get involved. Indeed, two psychologists, members of the Observatory, committed to help facilitating the group. A place and a time for weekly meetings were arranged. In October 2010 the members discussed and agreed upon the goals and the rules of the group. Gradually the group is growing and in July 2011 it counts ten members. Some of them come regularly, some every now and then. All of the members keep contact with the group and need to know that they can come back, whenever they need to.

The goals of the group are:
  • Understanding each other and having a collective attitude.
  • Trusting each other and being friends with one another.
  • Talking about coping strategies.
As becomes obvious the main mission of the group is to provide support, rather than therapy. However this sometimes is unavoidable, since the members have difficulties in finding a therapist with the same attitude towards their experiences as the Hearing Voices Movement.

Virginia Ioannidou 

USA Developments

There have been many exciting developments over the past year in the development of the hearing voices network in the USA. The success of the HV support group that Oryx Cohen and I started in Holyoke, Massachusetts three years ago led to strong demand for the training of facilitators to enable groups to be initiated in other places. The Recovery Learning Community of Western Massachusetts, a wonderful peer-led organization founded by Oryx and Sera Davidow, sponsored two facilitator training courses, one in autumn 2010 and one in spring 2011, which met for half-day sessions each week for four weeks. Both were heavily over-subscribed, with many interested people having to be turned away for lack of space, but by April 2011, a diverse group of 30 mental health staff and voice hearers had successfully completed the training and begun to launch new groups in a number of locations across Massachusetts. Then in June 2011, Jacqui Dillon came over from London to run training with me at Spring Lake Ranch, a therapeutic community in Vermont; again, demand was so strong that we had to turn people away, but an enthusiastic and committed group of 25 mental health staff and voice hearers from six states (Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont (some of whom traveled 500-1,000 miles to participate!) completed an intensive weekend training and have already started to launch new support groups in their geographic regions. Jacqui and I will do another of these intensive weekend trainings in New York state in August, so that by the end of summer, more than 75 people will be in a position to facilitate HVN groups, a massive increase compared with just a year ago, when there were only 3-4 groups in the entire USA (a country of 300 million people!).

We have formed a small working group that is now actively engaged in raising funds to expand the network and develop the infrastructure for HVN-USA (with a website, listing of groups, provision of informationand referral sources, etc.). Public talks over the past year by Ron Coleman, Jacqui Dillon, and Paul Baker attracted large and enthusiasticaudiences, and my book AGNES'S JACKET: A PSYCHOLOGIST'S SEARCH FOR THE MEANINGS OF MADNESS and recent profile in The Sun magazine in the USA (both of which feature HVN) are continuing to spark great interest anddraw media attention to alternative approaches to understanding voices and other forms of distress. Will Hall's work with the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care is another crucial source of supportat this important formative stage. This is just the beginning! HVN's future in the USA is brighter now than ever before, and we all look forward to reporting further on thegrowth of the network in this key part of the world.

Gail Hornstein
Latest News

Hywel Davies Award

The purpose of these annual awards is to reward excellence and initiative in the hearing voices movement globally. They are welcoming nominations for individuals and organisations who have displayed courage and vision in 2011 as exemplary leaders in a humanitarian movement that is both emancipatory and visionary. The deadline is 10th September 2011. For more information on nominating someone, email: 

Amazon Affiliates Store 

To ensure we connect you with the best range of books and DVDs on Hearing Voices, we have updated our recommended publications section of the website and launched an Amazon Affiliates Store. Book sales will be handled by Amazon, meaning you get quick and efficient service, but Intervoice will receive a percentage of the sales to support our work. Specialist publications, unavailable via Amazon, will be linked to other sellers. See:

Free Books! 

Hearing Voices Network Cymru has generously set up an international fund to support Hearing Voices Groups to access some key resources. They are giving groups the chance to apply for a FREE pack that includes: Living With Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery; Working With Voices - Victim to Victor; Setting Up & Facilitating Hearing Voices Groups DVD and more.

Madness Radio: Therapy for Psychosis - Daniel Mackler 
Can therapy reach people in extreme states of "psychosis" without using medications? Do we need to give a diagnosis to help someone? Why are counselors afraid to listen to their "mad" clients? New York psychotherapist and filmmaker Daniel Mackler discusses how be defied social work training in his work with people labeled with schizophrenia and bipolar, and what he learned from recent visits to successful treatment alternatives in Northern Europe.

Living With Voices - Ron Coleman
Are voices real - or are they just auditory hallucinations and sign of mental illness? Is it best to try to control and get rid of voices -- or listen and discover their meaning? After being sexually abused by a priest and in grief at the death of his first wife, Scottish advocate Ron Coleman started hearing voices, was labeled a chronic schizophrenic and spent six years in psychiatric hospitals. Ron describes his remarkable recovery, and how he became a renowned teacher and leading trainer with the Hearing Voices movement in the UK. 
Latest Events


Australia (Darlinghurst NSW) - 20th August, FREE
Facilitating Hearing Voices Groups & The Hearing Voices Approach 


Italy (Savona) - 1st - 3rd September
World Hearing Voices Congress -

England (London) - 3rd September
Free drama workshop for young voice-hearers and support workshop for parents/supporters 

UK - 6th September (Glasgow), 7th September (Manchester)
Recovery Learning Communities: An Alternative American Experience
Oryx Cohen of the National Empowerment Center, USA & Will Hall from the Icarus Project, Portland, Oregon, USA 

England (London) - 10th, 17th September & 1st October
Free Voice Collective group facilitation training people, open to young people (16+) and adults 

Wales (Newport) - 14th September
World Hearing Voices Day Event - A vibrant day promoting awareness and unity in Wales
Guest speakers: Hywel Davies (HVN Supporter), David Crepaz-Keay (Mental Health Foundation) and others

England (Manchester) 14th & 15th September
Asylum 'Normalcy 2011' Conference
A meeting to discuss alternatives to pathological labels of "mental Illness" 

England (Newcastle) - 15th September
ISPS UK: Supportive Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Psychosis: A contemporary approach relevant to everyday NHS practice 

The Netherlands (Rotterdam) - September 17th
Foundation Resonance Open Day (Free admission and free lunch) 


England (London) - Wednesday 19th October
A HVN Fundraiser: An Evening With Robert Whitaker, author of 'Anatomy of an Epidemic' 

Germany - 21st & 22nd October
Hearing Voices Conference - 
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