Spring 2012 Newsletter
Welcome to the Spring Newsletter..
I am pleased to bring you the latest round of news from the network. We are delighted to announce details of this year's World Congress and Intervoice Meeting which will be held in Wales. There is also encouraging news about the first group in Hungary and an introduction from a like-minded organisation ENUSP.
I would like to encourage you to participate in our survey so that we can find out more about how you would like Intervoice to develop. There is a link lower down the page and you can also access it from our website: www.intervoiceonline.org.
Thank you for keeping in touch.
with best wishes,
Chair of Intervoice
25th Anniversary Intervoice & World Hearing Voices Congress
The Hearing Voices Network 25 Years On
Learning from the PAST, Practising in the PRESENT, Visioning the FUTURE
19-21 September 2012 - Cardiff, Wales, UK
Presented by: Working to Recovery, Asylum Associates & Hearing Voices Network Cymru in conjunction with Intervoice
This year's themed parallel sessions are: Medication; Spirituality & different belief systems; workers changing practice; young people and voices; peer support & self-help; using creativity; research; recovery stories, voice hearers, families & workers.
This year celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the formation of the Hearing Voices Movement. Over the last 25 years the network has helped countless voice hearers gain ascendency over the negative impact of the voice hearing experience. Alongside this, the network has acted as the vehicle for change in professional practice. On the 19th, 20th and 21st of september 2012, the Heaving Voices World Congress and the Annual Intervoice Meeting will be held in the All Nations Conference Centre, Cardiff, Wales.
Contributors include: Hywel Davis (Wales), Marius Romme, Sandra Escher (Belgium), Joe Calleja (Australia), Lucy Johnstone (Wales), Dirk Corstens (Netherlands), Robin Murray (UK invited), Rufus May (England) Kellie Comans (Australia), Michaela Amering (Austria), Alan Keaser (England), Paul Baker (Spain/UK), Peter Bullimore (England), Jaqui Dillon, (England), Ron Coleman (Scotland), Rachel Waddingham (England), Eleanor Longden (England), Oryx Cohen (USA), Will Hall (USA).
BOOK ONLINE AT: www.workingtorecovery.co.uk
CALL FOR PAPERS AND WORKSHOP PRESENTATIONS
There will also be 90 minute workshops based on these themes or on the title of the Congress: past present and future
Deadline for applications: 20th May 2012 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please see the website for more details: www.workingtorecovery.co.uk
Useful Hearing Voices Movement Links:
Awakenings in Hungary
There have been new hearing voices developments in Hungary recently arising from the work of the Foundation Ébredések (Awakenings) in Budapest and led by psychiatrist Dr Judit Harangozó . Dr Harangozó is a follower of the Austrialian psychiatrist Ian Falloon. She advocates receovery oriented psychiatry, thus her concept contains a lot of aspects of the Hearng Voices movement.
Every year, Dr Harangozó organises a national conference on community psychiatry. This year the conference took place on 7th March and one of the workshops was dedicated to the hearingvoices experience based on contributions by voice hearers. Dr Dirk Corstens, Chair of Intervoce was invited to send a message of encouragement which concluded: "..It takes a lot of courage to commit oneself to changing the system: individuals may find themselves isolated, ,ostracized and discouraged. This is the reason why we need to find allies, meet regularly with them and stick together through disturbing times. This is the main purpose of annual Intervoice meetings and World Hearing Voices Congresses.. these gatheiings also bring new ideas, inspiration and occasions to celebrate and enjoy each other..I wish you the very best of this human adventure and I am looking forward to the happiness of greeting the Hungarian delegation on our next Intervoice meeting."
Following the workshop, the first Hearing Voices Group was formed by the users and professionals present. The group will be hosted by The Foundation Ébredések in Budapest and professionally supported by Dr Harangozó and her team.Dr Harangozó also intends to join in World Hearing Vocies Day this year on 14th September to be organised by the Foundation for the first time in Hungary. (http://www.ebredesek.hu
Italian Psychiatry and Voice Hearing
Intervoice Chair, Dr Dirk Corstens and Marcello Macario, psychiatist and member of the Italian Voice Hearing Network, wrote a newspaper response to SOPSI (the Italian Society of Psychiatry) in February:
Dear Dr Maj,
An article published recently in 'Il Corriere della Sera' made us aware that at your most recent congresss of SOPSI the hearing of voices was discussed as something that can have meaning and significance with regard to trauma and life circumstances and is not a mere symptom of psychopathology.
As active memebrs of Intervoice this message sounded very welcome to us. Intervoice is an international organisation for people who hear voices and their allies. We consider ourselves a human rights movement and we want to raise the issue that hearing voices is a normal human and personal variation. Most people who hear voices learn to cope with it and lead normal lives in society. Only a minority of the voice hearers become identified as psychiatric patents. Once voice hearers are caught up in this role they will be considered as ill, disordered and often dangerous, The stigmatization in traditional psychiatry is detrimental.
The role of psychiatric patient and having a brain disease is suddenly not compatible with a normal life with a job, relationships, ambitions. We are convinced that the emancipation and empowerment of voice heaers can support them to learn to deal with their often destructive appearing voices and make it possible to lead productive lives. Research now points repeatedly at the important role of trauma, or what we call "emotionally overwhelming cirucmstances and epxeriences," for the emergence of voices. Acknowledging and understanding trauma and supporitng people to work through the effects of trauma can really empower people, considered to have diagnoses like schizophrenia, and support them to take their lives into their own hands. We would like you to look at our website (www.intervoiceonline.org) and at the Italian website (www.parlaconlevoci.it) and hope this will raise your interest and maybe an exchange of knowledge and ideas between our organisations.
The European Network of (Ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP - www.enusp.org) took shape in 1991 to connect users and survivors of psychiatry across Europe, and to advance our rights and interests. Today ENUSP brings together national, regional and local users/survivor groups and individuals across 39 countries - from Georgia to Portugal, Finland to Greece. Though diverse, we share a common goal: a world where every user/survivor lives a full and valued life in the community, with the freedom to make their own decisions. ENSUP offers users.survivors the chance:
To share knowledge, experiences, opinions, solidarity and support
To work together
To learn about major events, developments and opportunities affecting us
To find out about and discuss tools for self-advocacy
To make your voice heard in law and policy-making forums which decide about us
ENUSP stands up for the full human rights and dignity of users and survivors in consultations with the European Commission, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, the World Health Organsiation, and others. We were active in the drafting and negotation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabllites (CRPD).
Right now ENSUP is going through an exciting rebuilding period after a long spell witout funding. We seek new members, allies and volunteers to share their visions , skills and experiences. Some of the main topics that our on our agenda are: developing user/survivor-controlled groups and projects across Euope; challenging unjust laws and other discrimination and abuse; and promoting alternatives to biomedical psychiatry. To find out more, ENUSP's website has a bulletin, an Advocacy Update and a campaign to outlaw cage beds in the Czech Republic (
International Society Removes 'Schizophrenia' from its' Title
Members of the International Society for the Psychological Treatments of the Schizophrenias and Other Psychoses (www.isps.org) have just voted, by an overwhelming majority, to change the society's name to the International Society for the Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. The change comes at a time when the scientific validity of the term schizophrenia is being hotly debated in the lead up to the publication of the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (see: http://dxrevisionwatch.wordpress.com).
ISPS promotes psychological treatments for people who experience psychosis (e.g. hearing voices and having very unusual beliefs), and greater understanding of the psychological and social causes of psychosis. Founded in 1956, ISPS now has branches in 19 countries, has its own scientific journal Psychosis (www.tandf.co.uk/journals/rpsy) and has published 13 books in the last decade. Members include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, nurses, occupational therapists, family therapists and academic researchers, as well as users of mental health services and family members.
The two primary reasons put forward in favour of the change were that the term 'schizophrenia' is unscientific and stigmatising. It was pointed out that the construct has little or no reliability (the extent to which experts can agree on who meets criteria for a diagnosis) or validity (the construct's ability to predict things like prognosis or treatment responsivity). Research has also repeatedly found that 'schizophrenia' is one of the most stigmatizing of all psychiatric labels, and promostes unwarranted pessimism about recovery because of the impllication that people with this idiagnosis suffer from an irreversible 'brain disease'.
ISPS Chairperson, Dr Brian Martindale (a British psychiatrist and psychotherapist): "This significant change relfects the ISPS's determination to persuade mental health services to provide high quality psychological interventions fro users and families when psychosis is involved. We need to move on from the stigmatising and false idea that schizophrenia is a single identifiable bilogicall determined 'disease'."
Lancashire Hearing Voices Network Launch
A new regional network in the north of England was launched in February with a conference in Blackpool. The day was introduced by Dean Smith and Jo Henderson (of Making Space) and included an impressive array of speakers. Dean writes:
“the first speaker was Kate Crawford who is known by many in the hearing voices network talk about her children and how they saw her go through the mental health system with the title ”Our Time in Care” and then Kate talked about her own Biography which really hit home with a lot of people, Peter Bullimore presented “working through Paranoia” which touched on some humorous sides of paranoia and also talked about how to challenge and come to terms with coping, Rachel Waddingham described how the Voice Collective project started in London and included a short film about a young person who hears voices and how they cope through art and music. To finish the morning, we had an inspirational recovery talk by Ruth Bean called ”My Road to Recovery”.
Ruth hit some very emotional issues about being told ”It’s not because you are a bad mother but because you are mentally ill “
and the trauma of being rejected by the mental health system and hearing up to ten voices at a time. The reaction to Ruth’s talk was a standing ovation and I feel that said it all....."
In the afternoon Peter Bullimore kindly stayed on at the last minute to talk about “Working with Trauma and Voices” We also looked at how some see schizophrenia being caused which brought some laughter with outrageous claims from cats, to high heels and more.. Erica Irena
talked about working relationships with voice hearers and outside work with clients, followed by an animation film looking at the bio medical approach and the hearing voices side, as in understanding and coping.
A big thank you to all who came and supported this event to make a change and difference to those who may experience voice hearing or unusual beliefs”.
New Hearing Voices Group for Young People in Pennsylvania, USA
There is a new group forming in Hatboro facilitated by Berta Britz, a voice hearer. This group is for young people on Tuesday evenings, starting on 13th
March. The group will be self-directed and will bring together young people who may feel alone in their experiences. The age range is somewhat flexible, from 13 – 26; This group is free and open to all younger voice hearers. For more information please contact Berta at 484-681-9432 or email@example.com
There is also an established group for adults in Norristown, Pennsylvania – contact Berta for more details.
New website for Canadian Group
The Hearing Voices Group in Canada - ” Entendons-nous “ - have a new website: http://www.robsm.org/Voix/index.html
New Hearing Voices Group launched in Kampala, Uganda
The first Hearing Voices Group in Uganda launched on 19th January 2012! This group was founded on a positive partnership between members of Hearing Voices Groups in the UK and people in Uganda. To read more about how the group has benefited one member, see: http://allafrica.com/stories/201202290014.html
. We hope to have a progress update about this exciting development in our next newsletter.
Voice Hearers, Mediums & Shamanic Practitioners
I am exploring the experienceof Voice Hearers and contrasting/comparing/correlating the phenomena (and meaning made thereof) with Mediums and Shamanic Practitioners. One aspect found in all three groups is the perspective that the communication originates from 'beyond self' and as such foram an indelpendent entity. Understandably participants from the VH group are reluctant to come forward though I have been privileged to observe a VH group in London. However, the members were generally highly medicated and with dual diagnosis and unfortunately for these and other reasons did not meet the criteria for my research.
I am particularly interested in meeting VH who have integrated their experience into daily living and also percieve the phenomena as positive rather than pathological ( as is often the case within the medical model that I have worked in).
It is my intention that my research will further validate this frequently found human experience and ultimately prevent such phenomena from being at best ignored and at worst pathologised,
Lucinda Lidstone, Psychotherapist
(if you would like to contact Lucinda about this, please send your request via Intervoice: firstname.lastname@example.org)
For other opportunities to take part in research around voice-hearing, please see the research section of our website: www.intervoiceonline.org/research-2/research-requests
Intervoice is currently reviewing what role it can play as an organisation in supporting and promoting existing national networks, and what it can do to help set up national networks in countries that do not currently have one. We know we can only achieve this through engaging the enthusiasm and commitment of the people who make up the networks, so your views and ideas are really important to us. We cannot promise to put everyone's ideas into action immediately because we have very limited resources but we can guarantee that your thoughts will influence the way Intervoice seeks to develop its work in the future.
Here is the link if you would like to take part: https://kwiksurveys.com?s=LJMHOM_b3601923
NEW DVD: The Hearing Voices Network "25 Years On" Marius Romme & Sandra Escher
In association with the Richmond Fellowship West Australia and Asylum Associates, Working to Recovery has produced a new DVD, which is now available for pre-order.
In this inspiring DVD the co-founders of the Hearing Voices Network, Marous Romme and Sandr Escher, talk openly and honestly about how the Hearing Voices Network developed through their initial work in the Netherlands wiht voice hearers to the establishment of a movement world wide across at least 38 countries.
Marius says, "In 1987, we had no idea that the impact that the discovery that accepting and making sense of voices was a helpful alternative was going to have. Yet, after twenty-five years of work we have built a unique and formidable movement of voice hearers and allies taht has brought about a big change in the way hearing voices are regarded and has found new ways of helping people overwhelmed by the voice."
This DVD will be released next month but is NOW available to pre-order: http://tinyurl.com/cfw9cga
New Animation: I Hear, I Hear What You Don't Hear
Robin, one of our members from Holland, has worked with some students to create this excellent introduction to hearing voices. http://www.intervoiceonline.org/3305/voices/what-is-hearing-voices/hearing-voices-animation.html
England: Eradicating Fear from past childhood traumas
Monday 16th April 2012. St Bartholomew’s Church Centre, Primrose Hill, Sheffield, England S6 2UW
The National Paranoia Network in association with Dr Bob Johnson & Sue Johnson present a special one day workshop that will enhance your skills in asking about, understanding and working with persisting fears so as to eliminate them. This workshop is open to professionals, carers and people with self-experience or anyone who has an interest in trauma and fear.
For more details http://nationalparanoianetwork.org
Holland: 19-20th April: Conference on the Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Stichting Weerklank (Foundation Resonance), the Dutch Hearing Voices Network, are organisation a conference in partnership with the University of Amsterdam on the effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse. To find out more, please see: http://www.stichtingweerklank.nl/nieuws