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A Wake for Blake: A special evening to raise money for a memorial for William Blake.

A very special evening to raise money for a memorial for the poet and artist William Blake.

Blake claimed to experience visions throughout his life. They were often associated with beautiful religious themes and imagery, and therefore may have inspired him further with spiritual works and pursuits. Certainly, religious concepts and imagery figure centrally in Blake’s works. God and Christianity constituted the intellectual centre of his writings, from which he drew inspiration. In addition, Blake believed that he was personally instructed and encouraged by Archangels to create his artistic works, which he claimed were actively read and enjoyed by those same Archangels.

Read more about Blake here.

Monday 25th September 2017 at 7.30pm
Leicester Square Theatre, London

Featuring:

KEVIN ELDON
SHIRLEY COLLINS, DAVE ARTHUR AND PETE COOPER
THE GREAT BRITISH BLAKE OFF
ROBIN INCE
STEWART LEE
TESTAMENT
ALAN MOORE
SIMON MUNNERY

– More To Be Announced –

The exact location of Blake’s resting place was only re-discovered in recent years after detailed research by two committee members of the Blake Society, Carol and Luis Garrido.  This event, featuring some of the UK’s most thrilling maverick performers, is to raise funds towards a fitting marker to identify Blake’s grave in Bunhill Fields Burial Ground.

Exclusive 48 hours PRIORITY BOOKING PERIOD from 10am 31ST MAY with PRIORITY BOOKING CODE: BLAKE17

To be assured of tickets, book within this exclusive booking period  from 10am Wednesday 31st May until 10am Friday June 2nd.

Book online at :
https://leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873574779
or by calling 0207 734 2222
or in person at the box office
Please quote the PRIORITY BOOKING CODE: BLAKE17

INTERVOICE

We are a member of  INTERVOICE, (more information here) the international organisation representing networks in 35 countries across the world.

9th World Hearing Voices Congress 2017: Book your place at the Congress

August 16-18, 2017

Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

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More infomation here.

Hearing Voices Network Cymru Newsletter


The latest edition of the is available. In this edition you will find information about:

  • Ron Coleman and Karen Taylor from Working To Recovery are running a number of one-day workshops across the UK including Bangor, Swansea and Cardiff. 10 free places on each day for voice hearers sponsored by HVN Cymru
  • “Can’t You Hear Them?” A new book by Simon McCarthy-Jones about hearing voices and science
  • The BBC Horizon programme “Why Did I Go Mad?” featuring members of the Hearing Voices Movement
  • Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group commissions radio advertisement
  • The forthcoming 2017 World Hearing Voices Congress to be held in August in Boston
  • The Recovery Summer Camp
  • New Film Documentaries: Why Did I Go Mad?, CrazyWise and Healing Voices

You can read our newsletter here.

Do you hear voices?: 30-second advertisement broadcast on Radio Pembrokeshire

The Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group has recently placed the following 30-second advertisement to be broadcast from time to time on Radio Pembrokeshire in South-West Wales from Friday, March 17th for several months.

“Do you hear voices?

Voices from inside your head or from outside your head that others cannot hear?

You are not alone.

Hearing voices is a common human experience.

You are not crazy. But the experience may be upsetting and frightening. If it is, you are welcome to join us.

We are the Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group.

A friendly space where you can share your experience with other people who hear voices.

We meet monthly in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Would you join us?

For more information contact John on 07968 238 218 or visit our website hearingvoicescymru.org.”

You can listen to our advertisement here:

Why Did I Go Mad? Canon Angela Tilby, Thought For The Day, BBC Radio 4

“Good morning.

Why Did I go Mad? was the arresting title of Tuesday’s night’s Horizon programme in which three people with psychosis spoke frankly about their illness. Paranoia, hallucinations, hearing voices – not so long ago it would have been unthinkable to have sufferers describing these to a television audience; we saw one of them shrinking from a spiky crab-like monster which appeared at his table as he sat in a coffee shop; another drew her persecuting voices as tree-like horrors who constantly threatened her with violence.

I thought of the poignant incident in the New Testament where a tormented man was asked his name and replied, ‘Legion’ explaining ‘for we are many’. Ancient cultures knew how mental illness can fragment the personality.

What was remarkable about the programme was the way it brought together two approaches to psychosis which have often been in conflict. The strictly medical way has been to treat it as an organic disease. The current theory is that too much of the brain chemical dopamine can trigger it, though there are genetic and social aspects as well. But there has always been an alternative approach, closer perhaps to a pre-scientific understanding, that asks: What are the voices saying; what do the monsters signify? It’s an issue of how to define truth. In the 1960s the counter-cultural psychiatrist R.D. Laing hailed schizophrenics as prophets, while others insisted that patients should be told firmly that they could never be cured until they accepted that their voices and visions were unreal. Both sides accused the other of harming patients; either by refusing to recognise the seriousness of their suffering or by refusing to see meaning in their symptoms. In the programme we saw one sufferer’s medicine chest with its box of proven anti-psychotic drugs; but we also heard of gentler interventions; of the Hearing Voices network which supports people who experience voices.

Treating our bodies as machines works well for many illnesses; the whole person gets better as the mechanism is mended. But mental illness doesn’t always follow this pattern. Psychosis seems to open an underground chasm in the self; what spills out may be terrible and destructive or potentially valuable. One of the voice hearers in the Horizon programme said, quite casually, that she now realised that her voices were simply a part of herself. Another was shown starting a dialogue with one of her persecuting voices. For some there is clearly a point in trying to find meaning in madness. When I look at the healings Jesus performed in the New Testament; mind, body and meaning were all involved.

Perhaps mental health is beginning to heal some of the splits in its own thinking and to recognise the key place metaphor and symbol play in human health. We no longer shut the mentally ill away from society. In mental illness truth is more than fact or fiction.”

You can listen to the broadcast here

Canon Angela Tilby, Thought For The Day, BBC Radio 4, 04/05/17

“Can’t You Hear Them? The Science and Significance of Hearing Voices” : Important New book

The experience of ‘hearing voices’, once associated with lofty prophetic communications, has fallen low. Today, the experience is typically portrayed as an unambiguous harbinger of madness caused by a broken brain, an unbalanced mind, biology gone wild. Yet an alternative account, forged predominantly by people who hear voices themselves, argues that hearing voices is an understandable response to traumatic life-events. There is an urgent need to overcome the tensions between these two ways of understanding ‘voice hearing’. Simon McCarthy-Jones considers neuroscience, genetics, religion, history, politics and not least the experiences of many voice hearers themselves. This enables him to challenge established and seemingly contradictory understandings and to create a joined-up explanation of voice hearing that is based on evidence rather than ideology.
Reviews
“An engaging enquiry into the psychology and neuroscience of voice hearing that explores hallucinated voices in all their fascinating forms.” Vaughan Bell, University College London, UK

“A remarkable book about voice-hearing,which provides an accessible account of the science,but does not lose track of the meaning of the experience. It is compassionate, controversial and compelling.” Chris Cook, Professor of Spirituality, Theology and Health at Durham University, UK

“On finishing this book my initial instinct was to re-read it in order to appreciate its insights for a second time, Can’t You Hear Them? is not only a work of impressive scholarship but a compelling, beautifully-written story of human experience and endeavour.” Dr. Eleanor Longden, Psychosis Research Unit, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust,UK

“With rigorous science, penetrating analyses, colourful and enjoyable prose, and an astonishing breadth of knowledge – Simon McCarthy-Jones has delivered a book that will undeniably be appreciated by many.”Frank Laroi, University of Bergen, Norway and University of Liege, Belgium

“A brilliant and thoughtful travel into the complex experience of hearing voices. Superbly written,with intelligence, but also a delightful sense of humour, this book will become an indispensable addition to the bookshelves of clinicians, scientists and people who hear voices.” Renaud Jardri, MD, PhD, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Lille, France

“Can’t You Hear Them ? The Science and Significance of Hearing Voices” is an excellent, important, intellectually mature and beautifully written book about voice hearing and science. It is not without humour. Simon McCarthy-Jones is a courageous and able researcher and communicator who rightly deserves significant success and recognition as a writer and academic in the field of health and progress.” Hywel Davies, Chairman : Hearing Voices Network Cymru, Wales

More information on how to purchase here.

Social and biographical approaches to voice hearing – a lived experience perspective

Lancaster Academy for Advanced Social Work

13th & 14th July 2017

Designed for professionals who are working in mental health and psychiatric services.

This workshop is facilitated by Peter Bullimore and Kate Crawford, two people with experience of voice hearing who are highly experienced in delivering training on this topic.

You can find out more about the course here.

Two simple questions that have changed the way people hear inner voices

Once the province of prophets, “hearing voices” is still shorthand for madness. And yet in the past 30 years, a new understanding has been created by voice-hearers themselves, as part of the Hearing Voices Movement. This suggests that uncovering the roots of the voice can potentially help the hearer.

Article by Simon McCarthy-Jones, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology, Trinity College Dublin, published by The Conversation, 3rd May, 2017. Read it in full here.

The Voices In Our Heads: Why do people talk to themselves, and when does it become a problem?

Review in The New Yorker of “The Voices Within”  written by Charles Fernyhough, a British professor of psychology at Durham University, England.

Read the full article here.

The day Prince Harry showed the world how to talk about our problems

When Bryony Gordon invited the prince to speak about mental health, she was expecting pre-checked PR speak. What she got was pure honesty.

See article in the Daily Telegraph here

Shame and hearing voices: What happens when a richer, more nuanced understanding of specific emotions is brought to bear on the analysis of distressing voices?

Hearing voices in the absence of another speaker—what psychiatry terms an auditory verbal hallucination—is often associated with a wide range of negative emotions. Mainstream clinical research addressing the emotional dimensions of voice-hearing has tended to treat these as self-evident, undifferentiated and so effectively interchangeable. But what happens when a richer, more nuanced understanding of specific emotions is brought to bear on the analysis of distressing voices?

See article here.

Call for Proposals! 9th World Hearing Voices Congress – A Revolution of Unseen Voices

Dedicated to the voices that we cannot see, to those who’ve not yet had space to be heard or discovered, and to gathering our collective strength to push back against those forces that have historically drowned us out.

Hearing Voices USA is proud to present the 9th World Hearing Voices Congress: A Revolution of Unseen Voices. The Congress will be held August 16 to August 18, 2017 at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

The Voices Congress is a time for us to come together from across the world—those who hear voices, see visions, and experience other unusual phenomenon, as well as those who wish to learn from us and those with whom we choose to ally. It is a space to connect, to gain strength, to share knowledge, and to push and stretch the boundaries of our understanding. Together, we are not alone.

As we seek to create this space—both restorative and empowering– we reach out to you to help us make it real. We are currently seeking proposals (20, 60, or 90 minutes in length) from individuals across the world. A variety of perspectives and topics are welcome, but proposals that include interactive components and/or focus directly on the experiences of voice hearing, visions, unique beliefs, and negotiating alternate realities (including how this movement might intersect with other liberation movements) will be prioritized.

We also welcome proposals for creating offerings like music. This form can be used for those, as well.

To fill out the Call for Proposals on-line, click HERE.

For a printable version of the Call for Proposals, click HERE.

Proposals are due by 5pm/17:00 Eastern Daylight Savings Time (GMT-4) on April 3, 2017

Researcher Acknowledges His Mistakes in Understanding Schizophrenia

In a new article, published in Schizophrenia Bulletin, psychiatrist Sir Robin Murray reflects on the history of ‘schizophrenia’ research and mistakes made. Murray, a professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience in London, states that he ignored social factors that contribute to ‘schizophrenia’ for too long. He also reports that he neglected the negative effects antipsychotic medication has on the brain. Murray states:

“Amazingly, such is the power of the Kraepelinian model that some psychiatrists still refuse to accept the evidence, and cling to the nihilistic view that there exists an intrinsically progressive schizophrenic process, a view greatly to the detriment of their patients.”

Read the full article at Mad in America here

Milford Haven Meeting: How the group operates, the successful outscomes and the implications for mental health services.

 

Hywel Davies and John Stacey, IMHCN members support a group for people who hear voices in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales. In this article they describe how the group operates, the successful outscomes and the implications for mental health services.

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Milford Haven Group viewing the film “Healing Voices”

As a group of friends we set up a hearing voices group initially facilitated by John Stacey “IMHCN” and Hywel Davies “Hearing Voices Cymru”.

What started off as a group of voice hearers getting together rapidly evolved into a group of people that hear voices, have visions or have other experiences that others may find difficult to accept or understand. As one of the group stated recently “Its not like any other group we are just individuals that meet to give support and encouragement to one another”.

The meetings have no formal structure and are founded on acceptance, learning, recovery and discovery. The emphasis of the group is not to challenge or change individuals beliefs or understanding of their experiences. Though these may change over time. The main focus is to assist one another to create a different relationship and response to our experiences. Enabling us to be comfortable with whom we are and take back control of our lives.

Having unrestricted access to John allowing members to contact him if they have feelings of concern is recognised as a reassuring asset to the members. This support has reduced the need for some of the group from contacting emergency services. Over the past two years this has not been abused and as one person stated “its reassuring just know I have somebody who understands to call”.

In this social and trusting environment people state that they are not inhibited in their disclosures to one another. During our conversations individuals feel able to explore the appropriateness of their diagnosis also the effectiveness and dose of their medication. We feel it is important to discuss how to involve their mental health workers and psychiatrists in these conversations.

The group is now exploring how it can develop, provide and extend what we are doing to enable more opportunities, encompassing their whole lives.

The success of the group raises questions about how mental health services are often failing to provide time and space for people and to develop reciprocal trusting relationships and support.

John Stacey and Hywel Davies

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