At the World Hearing Voices Congress held in Paris, France in October 2016 participants were asked to respond to the question “What does the Hearing Voices Movement mean to you” on a postcard. Some of the messages and images are included in this video slide presentation.
Hope, healing, resilience, community, and listening to each other’s stories with empathy and respect
Mae Rhwydwaith Clywed Lleisiau Cymru yn cynnig cefnogaeth a dealltwriaeth i unigolion sy’n clywed lleisiau ac i’r rhai sydd yn eu cefnogi
Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration, and the everyday
5 November 2016 – 26 February 2017 , 10:00 to 17:00
DENNYSON STODDART AND DURHAM UNIVERSITY GALLERIES
Hearing a voice in the absence of any speaker is one of the most unusual, complex, and mysterious aspects of human experience. Typically treated, and popularly regarded, as a symptom of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, voice-hearing is increasingly recognized as an important part of many people’s lives and experience, as well as a phenomenon that has had profound significance, not only for individuals, but across societies, cultures, and history.
From the revelatory and inspirational voices of medieval mystics to those of imaginary friends in childhood, and from the inner voices of writers as they craft their stories to those we hear as we read them, the exhibition will explore the complexity and diversity of the experience and interpretation of voice-hearing.
The exhibition will explore voice-hearing from personal, scientific, historical, literary and theological perspectives, and investigate different facets of the experience of hearing voices through original artworks, artefacts and narratives from the medieval to modern periods. It will also be accompanied by a linked programme of public events that will include creative workshops, public lectures, panel discussions and events for young people.
More information here
“What we are trying to do is to create a new reality in which voices and visions are commonplace.” Hywel Davies
Os ydych chi’n clywed lleisiau, gallwn ni helpu
Bydd llawer o bobl yn dechrau clywed lleisiau o ganlyniad i straen aruthrol neu ysgytiad. Rydym yn cynnig hysbysrwydd, cefnogaeth a dealltwriaeth i’r rhai sy’n clywed lleisiau ac i’r rhai sydd yn eu cefnogi. Gweler ein hamcanion yma.
Mae Rhwydwaith Clywed Lleisiau Cymru yn aelod o INTERVOICE (rhagor o wybodaeth am INTERVOICE yma) y mudiad rhyngwladol sy’n cynrychioli rhwydweithiau clywed lleisiau mewn 35 o wledydd ledled y byd.
If you hear voices, see visions and have other extraordinary experiences, we can help
We offer information, support and understanding to people who hear voices, see visions, have other extraordinary experiences and those who support them. See our aims here.
Mae cyfyngiadau’r agwedd feddygol tuag at glywed lleisiau a chyflyrau meddyliol eraill, wedi eu labelu yn glefydau, fel sgitsoffrenia a salwch deubegynol (bipolar), yn dra hysbys. Mae seiciatreg yn cyfeirio at clywed lleisiau fel rhithweledigaethau clywedol ac yn eu hystyried fel symptomau seicosis. Ystyrir eu bod yn rhan o salwch meddwl hirbarhaol.
Fodd bynnag, dengys ein gwaith a’n hymchwil fod llawer o esboniadau am glywed lleisiau, a’i bod yn bosib clywed lleisiau ond cael profiadau rhyfeddol a bod yn iach. Bellach, er y bydd llawer yn clywed lleisiau o ganlyniad i straen eithafol neu ysgytwad, mae’n bosib hefyd ddysgu sut i ymdopi â lleisiau ac adfer eich bywyd. Oherwydd bod unigolion sy’n clywed lleisiau a gwasanaethau iechyd meddwl wedi cael gwybod yn well am waith y mudiad clywed lleisiau (yn weithredol ers dros 25 mlynedd), rydym wedi helpu llawer sy’n clywed lleisiau i ffeindio ffyrdd i ymdopi, i wella ac i ffynnu.
Dywed Hywel Davies, cadeirydd Rhwydwaith Clywed Lleisiau Cymru:
“Rwy’n clywed lleisiau, ac rwyf wedi eu clywed ers imi fod yn 11 oed. Nawr, rwy’n byw bywyd llwyddiannus a chynhyrchiol, ac rwyf wedi dysgu sut i fyw gyda’m lleisiau. Ystyr ysbrydol pwysig sy ganddynt imi. Er bod y profiad wedi bod, ac yn dal i fod, yn anodd weithiau, rwy’n gallu siarad am fy lleisiau, trwy gefnogaeth ffrindiau agos a chydweithwyr yn y mudiad.
Yn y mudiad clywed lleisiau, ein nod yw newid agweddau cymdeithasol tuag at y rhai sy’n clywed lleisiau, fel y gall unigolyn ddatgan “rwy’n clywed lleisiau yn fy mhen” heb gael ei ddiarddel.
Rydym wedi darparu’r wefan hon er mwyn y rhai sy’n clywed lleisiau yn y pen, aelodau teuliol, cyfeillion ac eraill sydd â diddordeb. Ein nod yw rhoi gwybodaeth, gorau y gallwn, i’ch helpu chi ar eich taith. Gobeithiwn y bydd ein gwefan yn ddefnyddiol ac o ddiddordeb ichi”.
The limitations of the medical approach to hearing voices and other states of mind like visual hallucinations, labelled as illnesses, such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder, are well known. Psychiatry refers to voices and vision as auditory hallucinations and visual hallucinations. It regards them as schizoaffective disorder or psychosis symptoms of hearing and visual hallucinations and part of long term, chronic mental illnesses.
However, our work and research shows that there are many explanations and that it is possible to hear voices and have other extraordinary experiences and be well. Further, although many people begin to hear voices as a result of extreme stress or trauma it is also possible to learn to live with them and recover your life. As knowledge of the work of the hearing voices movement, (active now for more than twenty five years) has become better known by people who hear voices and schizoaffective disorder or mental health services, we have helped many people who hear voices to find ways to cope, recover and thrive.
Hywel Davies, the chair of the HVN Cymru says:
“I hear voices and have done so since I was eleven years old. I now live a successful and productive life and have learnt to live with my voices. My voices have important spiritual meaning for me. Although at times the experience has been and can be difficult, through the support of close friends and colleagues in the hearing voices movement I am always able to talk about my voices.
Our goal is to change attitudes towards people who hear voices so that people can say “I am hearing voices in my head” without being ostracised.
We have set up this website for people who hear voices in their head, family members, friends and interested citizens. Our goal is to provide the best information that we can to help you in your journey. We hope you will find our website useful and interesting.”
Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ’s
This website provides up to date information about how people of all ages including children hearing voices can find more effective ways of accepting, living with, and coping with overwhelming voices. Here are some answers to questions we have been asked about our work.
Question: Why do we refer to the experience as “hearing voices in my head” and why do we believe the language to describe experiences so important?
Answer: When people have this experience, they often refer to it as “I hear voices”, “a voice” or “voices in my head“. Generally speaking, people do not refer to their voice-hearing experience or experiences as “auditory hallucinations”, “visual hallucinations”, “delusions” or “psychosis symptoms”. Our research and work over twenty five years have revealed that the experience has meaning and connected with life events and is not in itself a disorder requiring intensive bio-chemical treatment.
We have reached the conclusion that many of the treatments and much of the medical language used by traditional western psychiatry to help people who say they are “hearing voices in my head” are unhelpful, inaccurate and unintentionally harmful.
Terms such as “auditory hallucinations”, “visual hallucinations” and “delusions” as descriptions of what is occurring to the individual deprive the experience of meaning. Furthermore, this process is not helped at all by terms most closely associated with voices such as “schizophrenia”, “schizoaffective disorder”, “psychosis” and/or “psychotic disorders”. These terms and similar terms deprive the experience of significance and humanity. They wrongly infer that the experience is part of a life long chronic emotional illness that cannot be resolved or nullified by the individual with the help of family, colleagues, friends, meditation, creativity and/or belief.
The experience is in fact meaningful to the person experiencing the voice or vision. The key is to help the person unlock the meaning and learn to accept, live with, and cope with their voices or visions.
Question: What has our work and research revealed about the experience?
Answer: Many people say things like this: ” I hear voices in my head” or “I hear a voice in my head“. The experience varies from person to person. Some people hear a voice whilst others hear more than one voice. For others, they may hear many voices. People of all ages have this experience. The work and research of Dr. Sandra Escher show that children hearing voices is not uncommon and that with support they can live well with the experience.
However, when the experience is reduced to a “delusion”, a sign and symptom of a “psychotic disorder” and when no consideration is given to the life story, the content and the personal meaning ascribed to the so called “auditory hallucinations” or “visual hallucinations” , then this makes it much more difficult for the person to recover.
Question: Is the experience a sign of illness?
As we have said above, we do not believe that hearing voices is necessarily a part of a “disorder”. Nor is it part of “psychosis symptoms” or part of a “psychosis” or part of “psychotic disorders” such as “schizophrenia” or “schizo-affective disorder”. Our work and research over twenty five years have discovered that there are many people (about 4 – 7% of the population ) who have this experience and who can be regarded as healthy and well functioning. These people are coping with the voices and the so called “symptoms” such as “delusions” without recourse to traditional treatment. This important fact is often neglected by western psychiatric orthodoxy. This may hold the key to a better understanding of what “psychosis” entails and could lead to a much more effective treatment of “psychosis”.
Therefore the important question is what is it that people coping with voices can tell us that can assist people who are overwhelmed by the voice-hearing experience?
Question: How is it possible to live with voices?
Answer: Can “psychosis” be a way of coping with unliveable circumstances? We believe there is strong evidence that this is indeed the case. The relationship between trauma, unusual life experiences and crisis has been identified by over 70% of people with voice experiences. This reality often goes unrecognised. This is so because the sole focus of current “psychosis” treatment is on eradicating symptoms such as “delusions” and “hallucinations” rather than on unlocking the meaning. On thre contrary we believe that one can say “I hear voices” and be healthy and well.
More Frequently Asked Questions here.