We have put together a list of the many people who make up the hearing voices movement. We have done this in recognition of the significance of their work and lives.
It is an acknowledgement of the many individual contributions that have been made since 1987 to improve the the lives of people who hear voices and see visions.
We have provided a photograph and a short biography of each individual listed, unless we have been unable to find one.
This is by no means a completed list and you are welcome to nominate yourself or other people you know.
We have dedicated this page to the many people, the voice hearers, experts by profession, friends and family members, known and unknown, who have played and continue to play an important role in the development of the worldwide hearing voices movement.
Last updated 1st December 2014.
Michaela Amering is a longstanding supporter of INTERVOICE. She is currently a member of the International Research Committee. Michaela is Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of Vienna, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy.
Her focus of interest is on psychosis, and the development of the families and the users movements. Her experience also includes work in community psychiatry and research in the UK and USA.
She is currently serving as secretary of the European Pyschiatric Association Section on ‘Womens’ Mental Health’ and as secretary of the World Psychiatric Association Section on ‘Public Policy and Psychiatry’. She is an executive board member of the World Association of Social Psychiatry.
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Angelo is from Italy. He is a voice hearer. He is a member of the Italian Hearing Voices Network. He has translated materials from English into Italian for publication on the Parli con Voci website. He has also translated “The Voice Inside” into Italian and this will be available soon as an e-book published by Working to Recovery Ltd.
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To be completed.
Paul is one of the founding members of the Hearing Voices Network in England and INTERVOICE, the influential coordinating body for the international hearing voices movement He is currently the honorary executive officer and the social media coordinator. He specialises in assisting organisations in harnessing and developing online communities to complement and support their work.
Paul is a community development and group worker. He has worked in the health care and education sectors for the last 30 years. He has a special interest in working with groups of people to find ways of help themselves overcome difficulties and problems. He has a strong commitment to forging international partnerships in the development of progressive and effective mental health services. Paul has published books and written chapters and articles for many publications on mental health issues. He provides consultancy services, lectures and trains on empowerment and recovery issues and the relationships these have to effective mental health service delivery. He works closely with the International Mental Health Collaborating Network, Hearing Voices Cymru and Working To Recovery Ltd.
Ivan Barry is from England. He is an occasional consultant, sporadic trainer, workshop facilitator & presenter in the field of hearing voices, a practitioner with 17 years experience in mental health recovery roles and patient advocacy in psychiatric settings and community landscapes.
He has worked alongside health professionals and healers as well as clients in the U.K , Egypt and the U.S.A in helping to plant plant the seeds of recovery and promote positive mental health.
He has presented and lectured in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt in 2010 and Madison, Wisconsin USA in 2011 and has helped set up and run hearing voices support groups in hospital and community settings in Coventry, England, Edinburgh , Scotland and Madison, Wisconsin USA.
Ivan has also lectured and presented on the spiritual, cultural and metaphysical aspects of hearing voices and seeing visions at Mind Body Spirit events in the UK, Egypt and the USA.
He has 6 years of providing patient representation and advocacy in various hospital settings throughout Scotland and he has presented and spoken at conferences and seminars on recovery and policy planning.
Accredited and trained in Independent Mental Health Advocacy and in person centred planning tools.
He has worked with individuals and groups as diverse as: young people in psychiatric settings, adult acute admissions into psychiatric hospitals and forensic psychiatric hospital clients in restricted environments
Dr Vanessa Beavan is a senior lecturer in the School of Psychological Sciences at the Australian College of Applied Psychology and a clinical psychologist in private practice. Her Masters thesis investigated the psychological factors associated with chronicity in people diagnosed with psychotic disorders and her PhD was a general population study exploring the experience of “hearing voices.”
She is an active committee member of the New South Wales Hearing Voices Network and of ISPS-AUS (Australian branch of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis). She is the book review editor for the journal Psychosis: psychological, social, and integrative approaches.
Sarah is from England. Sarah is a voice hearer. She established and supported the Oxford Hearing Voices Group in the 1990’s. Sarah wrote and published “Hearing Voices” an explanatory booklet and coping guide, one of the first to be written by a voice hearer.
Philip is from Australia. He is a mental health nurse and member of the INTERVOICE board. He has been a passionate advocate of the Hearing Voices approach for many years and has been able to attend all the World Congresses apart from Cardiff, where he found many kindred spirits and friends. Through his passion for advocating for a genuine human approach to voices among hiscolleagues from many professions, He has been working to establish a branch of the ISPS in Australia, which will culminated in its first AGM at WHVC in Melbourne, and has been able to contribute in a limited way (from 2000 Km away, via Skype) He was on the World Hearing Voices Congress 2013 clinical experts and advisory committee.
Philip knows and counts as friends many of the people associated with organising events and coordinating Intervoice. Recently he has been more and more involved in the Dialogical Practices movement, and is keen to explore links between the various forms of dialogical practices emerging and being adopted within the recovery and early intervention approaches – he believes these practices could form a bridge between the so far separate, and in some ways, competing, approaches for newly emerging voices and psychosis and recovery for those struggling with voices, psychosis and the effects of institutional ‘care’ – abuse, invalidation, stigma and low expectations.
He has had a long relationship with the hearing voices movement. With Gillian Haddock he carried out some of the first research in England into the hearing voices experience and worked with the Manchester Hearing Voices Group in considering ways of coping with voices outside of the medical model.
He has presented at INTERVOICE meetings and congresses and worked alongside Marius Romme and others, especially in challenging the validity of the schizophrenia construct. He also had played a leading role in the reconsideration of the meaning of psychosis and ways of assisting people with this experience.
In 2004, Bentall, wrote “Madness Explained”, in which he argued that hearing voices, hallucinations and other symptoms of “severe” mental illness are just exaggerations of quirks experienced by us all. In the book, Bentall also argues that no clear distinction exists between those diagnosed with mental illnesses and the “well”. While this notion is more widely accepted in psychiatry when it comes to anxiety and depression, Bentall insists that so called “schizotypal” experiences are also common. The publication won him the 2004 British Psychological Book Of The Year award.
He is well known as a critic of traditional western psychiatry and his latest book “Doctoring The Mind: Is Our Current Treatment Of Mental Illness Really Any Good?” (2009) explains and justifies this position.
Egan Bidois is from New Zealand and is supporter of the Hearing Voices network. Egan hears voices and sees visions, he has “embedded them” and come to peace with them in his head/life/spirit. He incorporates Maori Cultural aspects that he values, and perceives hid voice experiences in relation to Maori cultural definitions in ways that secure and cement his ongoing wellness.
He says “I do not see myself as experiencing a Mental Illness. That in some form may be interpreted as ‘a lack of awareness’. That interpretation however would be flawed. I do have awareness. A very good level of awareness. I know myself and what I experience. And that knowledge and experience is merely inconsistent with the generally accepted Clinical/Pathological interpretations of ‘Mental Illnesses’.
What I will however concede is that IF I do not manage what I experience it has the potential to create some ‘unwellness’ within me.
What do I experience? Something that I’ve experienced as a child, something that has matured as I have matured, something that was seeded within me from the beginning – even before me. In some ways I am experiencing inevitability. I am experiencing Whakapapa. I am experiencing what others before me have.
In a nutshell I see things. I hear things. I feel/sense things. On a daily basis.
Those things could be interpreted as Auditory/Visual/Tactile Hallucinations. They could be interpreted as Delusion. As Psychosis.
The fly in that ointment comes when what I experience ‘checks out’ with other people. Which it does regularly.”
He works in specialist Maori mental health services as part of a group called Whakapai – He Whakarito, for Capital and Coast District Health Board (in and aroundWellington). Whakapai are involved with delivering Cultural Training within the DHB, and with ensuring that Quality Improvement, Policy and Procedures are also inclusive of Maori perspectives and adequately reflect how we as Maori view health and healing.
Egan is also involved within a number of Tangata Whaiora circles on both a local and national level. Tangata Whaiora translates to ‘people seeking wellness’, and is a term that some Maori (and, increasingly, non-Maori) use instead of such phrases as ‘people with experience of mental illness’.
Lisa is from England. She is a pioneer. She has been developing the area of body-studies at the Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, since 1994. Her work in the area of embodiment and voice-hearing has been recognised and commended for its innovative approach to mental health research. It has been acclaimed by the Hearing Voices Network, Intervoice, and taken up in professional psychiatric contexts. She makes a substantive contribution to the fields of critical psychology and body-studies.
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Wilma is a social scientist. She is Professor of Recovery at the Hanze University of Groningen, an active member of the Dutch user-movement in psychiatry and board member of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP). She is based in Utrecht at the Trimbos-Institute (the Dutch Institute of Mental Health and Addiction). She is the leader of a user-led training and consulting company in the area of recovery, empowerment and experiential expertise of persons with psychiatric disabilities. Since 2006 she has been the Chair of Stichting Weerklank, the Dutch organisation of people who hear voices and have psychotic experiences. Publications include Samen werken aan herstel, Van ervaringen delen naar kennis overdragen (Working Together on Recovery: From Sharing Experiences to Implementing Knowledge), co-author, 2002; Stories of Recovery: Working Together towards Experiential Knowledge in Mental Health Care, editor, 2006; Lijfsbehoud, levenskunst en lessen om van te leren HEE-gesch(r)ift (Survival, life-art and lessons to learn – TREE-document), author, 2009
Marit Borg is from Norway. She is active in a European Union funded project, which involves users in training professionals about user perspectives. It is a project involving six countries. The project includes INTERVOICE members, Mervyn Morris from Birmingham, Harrie van Haaster & Sandra Escher from Holland and Alain Topor from Sweden. The project is called EX-IN (Experienced Involvement). There is a Norwegian website dedicated to the project Prosjekt brukermedvirkning (EX-IN)
Jenney is from the USA. In 1998 she assisted in coordinating a Hearing Voices Network training in Madison Wisconsin, one of the first times the hearing voices approach was introduced into the US of A.
After spending time in England to give a presentation and learning more about the Hearing Voices Network, Branks returned home and advocated for the creation of a Hearing Voices Group whose facilitator was paid by SOAR.
Since leaving SOAR in 2001, Branks has been working for herself coordinating progressive groups, innovative projects and assisting others in coordinating their own recoveries/lives.
In 2002, she was invited back to facilitate Madison Voices Group as a contractor. She has been facilitating and coordinating this group since.
In October 2006 Madison Voices group became independent from SOAR and is now a fully self-run group. Branks is still the coordinator and a facilitator.
Berta Britz is a courageous, thoughtful and compassionate leader of the recovery movement in Montgomery County, Pa, USA. She provides mentoring and fellowship to those who have been discriminated against and stigmatized because of their mental health conditions. Her most outstanding leadership role has been in developing an initiative to help people who, like her, “hear voices”. She has changed lives through her ministry, Hearing Voices and Healing, supported by Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. She advocated for and helped initiate mental health system training in the hearing voices approach. She facilitates Hearing Voices Network peer support groups and is a founding member of the Montgomery County Hearing Voices Network. She also developed and coordinates an internship for certified peer specialists (CPSs), and has mentored more than 25 CPSs, many of whom had been repeatedly refused employment opportunities and some who did not feel themselves to be ready for work; more than half are now employed.
Christine is from Scotland and is a long time supporter of INTERVOICE and has played a key role in establishing. supporting and developing of the Hearing Voices Network in Scotland.
Christine works as a psychiatric nurse (RMN) and is based in Aberdeen.
Peter Bullimore is from England. Peter is a voice hearer who spent ten years as a psychiatric patient enduring many bouts of severe paranoia. Through learning holistic approaches and with support of the Hearing Voices Network he was able to reclaim his life from the system. He facilitates a hearing voices and paranoia support group in Sheffield.
He is the co-chair of Hearing Voices Network England and business manager for Asylum Associates. He is the co-founder of the Sheffield-based UK National Paranoia Network, a self-help organisation for people experiencing extreme paranoia and delusions. Peter is a Trainer and Educator and consultant to the UK Mental Health Services. Across the UK and internationally Peter uses his experiences with madness (he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia) to provide frank and enlightening training.
Peter delivers teaching on hearing voices and paranoia internationally. He also teaches on the COPE initiative at Manchester University and currently undertakes a research post at the university looking at a collaborative working between voluntary sector organisations and the university. He is undertaking research into what recovery means from a service user’s perspective. He co-authored the workbook Asking the Questions with Paul Hammersley and Professor John Read, a guidebook around childhood trauma.
Joe Calleja has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Richmond Fellowship of Western Australia since July 2005 and has thirty years experience working with the community.
Joe has been a longstanding supporter of the hearing voices movement. He played a crucial role in the foundation of Hearing Voices Network West Australia and in introducing and supporting the hearing voices approach in Australia.
He is currently on the boards of Community Employers WA, the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Advisory Board (UWA), Institute of Public Administration Australia WA and was recently appointed to the Mental Health Advisory Council in WA. He was previously a non-government representative on the Project Steering Committee for the development of the WA Mental Health Strategic Plan 2010 – 2020. He was a high school teacher for five years before retraining as a Social Worker at the University of WA in 1980.
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John Casson carried out a groundbreaking study where he showed how dramatherapy and psychodrama could be safely and effectively used by people who hear voices. His book “Drama, Psychotherapy and Psychosis: dramatherapy and psychodrama with people who hear voices” is based on this research and is published by Routledge. He has written a five act play “Voices and Visions” also based on his research and invented the Communicube.
Jointly qualified in dramatherapy (1983) and psychodrama (1991), John is one of the most experienced British therapists in his field. During a decade in NHS adult mental health (Tameside, 1984-94), he set up the largest team of Arts Therapists in the North of England. He established a service for women survivors of sexual abuse (Casson & Corti, 1990). He later ran the first groups for male survivors of sexual abuse in Huddersfield NHS Trust (with Madeline Andersen-Warren, 1999-2000). Throughout this time he has worked with people who struggle with serious and enduring mental health problems including psychotic experiences. He registered for a doctorate at the Metropolitan University of Manchester in 1996 and completed his PhD research in 2002.
Jim Chapman is senior lecturer at Birmingham City University, England and co-ordinates a module entitled ‘Recovery Based working with Voice Hearers’. He is interested in how students acquire new skills and begin to make use of them in their routine clinical practice. Through the module, Jim has encouraged students in Birmingham to challenge their existing beliefs about ‘schizophrenia’ and helped them to begin to work with voice hearers in the way advocated by Marius Romme and Sandra Escher, and others. Jim is currently extending this work to other parts of the UK. He continues to work clinically with voice hearers within the local mental health trust.
Oyrx is from the USA an is a co-founder of the Hearing Voices Network USA. He is a leader in the international consumer/survivor/ex-patient (c/s/x) movement. Currently he is the Director of the National Empowerment Center’s (NEC’s) Technical Assistance Center. Among other responsibilities, he assists States that have an underdeveloped consumer/survivor voice to find that voice. He then works toward transforming the mental health systems in those states to become peer-driven and recovery-oriented. Prior to joining NEC, Oryx was Co-Director of the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. He helped to spearhead an innovative peer-run approach focusing on recovery, healing, and community. Oryx is also the co-founder of Freedom Center an independent peer-run support/activist organization. Freedom Center’s purpose is to empower and support people with psychiatric labels while challenging oppressive mental health policies and practices. Oryx serves on several boards and committees internationally, nationally and regionally, including the International Network Toward Alternatives for Recovery (INTAR). Oryx volunteered for several years with MindFreedom International, directing its Oral History Project.
He is an inspiring public speaker, trainer and ambassador for the Hearing Voices Movement.
He has been active in the field of mental health since 1991, when affecting his own recovery from mental illness, he used his experiences to develop his ideas for recovery centered treatment of others. Since then he has written numerous books and papers on the subject.
Ron now works with his wife Karen under the banner of ‘Working To Recovery’, a company providing training and consultancy services in mental health a continued focus on further development of recovery based services.
Kellie Comans is from Australia, at the time of this entry (May 2014) she is 26 years old. Kellie is an expert by experience and sees herself as a change agent and advocate. Kellie is currently working at Gateway Community Health as a Community Support Worker and Group Facilitator for two young people’s innovative recovery programs.
Kellie was an instrumental part of a small working group who has developed a Community based Hearing Voices group and educational outline. It moved two service run Hearing Voices Groups into the community.
Kellie also speaks about her experience, her recovery and the Hearing Voices Network. Kellie gave a key note address at the 2011 World Hearing Voices Congress in England and at the 2013 Congress in Melbourne, Australia. She has been published in The Journal of Psychosis.
Kellie first heard voices as a small child and her experiences with voices were mostly positive until a series of traumatic experiences and hospitalisations. Heavily medicated, suicidal with no appropriate support Kellie became extremely disengaged and isolated. After a lot of trial and error Kellie’s mother finally found a service Gateway Community Health and a worker Ros Thomas who believed in recovery. More importantly they believed in Kellie.
During this time Kellie was exposed to the Hearing Voices Network and heard a lot of amazing and inspiring stories. She finally had confirmation that hers was a completely normal human experience. Hearing voices was not a sign of an incurable illness.
Kellie firmly believes that people can and do recover, that people are not defined by illness nor limited by diagnosis. Kellie was told that she couldn’t have the life she wanted, that she would need medication for ever, she was never told she could recover.
Kellie is dedicated to helping create the paradigm shift in mental health.
Cristina is from Italy. She has been a voice hearer for over 25 years and went through a period of psychiatry and medication. In 2005 she came out of that and now she is working with people who hear voices.
One of the things she does is Voice Dialogue with an organization called the Inner Team. Voice Dialogue is a conversation method in which one individual can go into a dialogue with different parts of another individual’s personality. This way the feelings, ideas and wishes of the different parts can be expressed and integrated. Voice Dialogue can also be done with people who hear voices. In this case one individual talks with the voices of a voice hearer and the voice hearer tells what the voices say in return. A lot of people find this type of Voice Dialogue very useful. You can find more info about Cristina www.cristinacontini.it and about the Inner Team on www.innerteam.it.
He is a social psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He is educated in cognitive, psychodynamic and systems therapy, Transactional Analysis and Voice Dialogue work.
Dirk has been collaborating with the Hearing Voices Project of the University of Maastricht and with Prof. Marius Romme and Dr Sandra Escher for many years. He is closely involved in working with voice hearers. Dirk developed the recovery programme, ‘Working with Voices’. He is currently preparing research on this subject. You can find out more about Dirk by visiting his website here
After her mum died she was placed in children’s homes. In later years she became homeless, she then met a man who she fell pregnant to. Kate now has four children.
Through abusive relationships and constant pressure from social services, she felt she couldn’t take anymore and made a suicide attempt. She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and given a diagnosis of post traumatic paranoid schizophrenia.
Kate facilitates and supports the Hearing Voices Group in Manchester, England
Things that help her now are working for the paranoia network, sharing her experiences with other voice hearers and people who experience paranoia.
Getting involved in a hearing voices and paranoia support group changed her life.
Michelle is a 25-year-old Irish Artist, Voice Hearer and Survivor of abuse living in Cork, Ireland. She is one of the main people involved in setting up the Hearing Voices Network Ireland. Michelle is a self-taught Mixed Media Artist as well as singer, guitarist, writer, concert curator, founder of the “Music for the Mind” Festival, social entrepreneur, spokesperson for Mental Health and Recovery and Human Rights Activists in Ireland.She is currently working on the area of understanding Voice Hearing outside the Bio-Medical model.
Michelle was a patient of the psychiatric services from the age of 17 to 23 and was admitted 17 times into psychiatric units during a time period of 6 years with the diagnosis of being a “Chronic Schizophrenic.” Along with several other unhelpful diagnoses but recently has achieved recovery without medication through educating herself on various alternative perspectives in regards to trauma and psychosis, Mental Health in general and through doing intense analytical work on herself and finding meaning in madness especially in comprehending her voices and especially through creative mediums.
Michelle has integrated a lot of approaches based on creativity and the use of the creative arts in helping people understand their experiences as well as her own and founded an organization that brought creative workshops and music concerts into psychiatric wards here in Cork. “Music for the Mind” was Ireland’s first Music Festival for Mental Health and gained national and international attention.
Michelle has done a lot of media representation in the past few years around Mental Health and has publically used her story to promote the normalization of madness and the reduction of stigma and advocating the rights of those with mental health difficulties both on radio, print, documentaries and television as well as speaking at various conferences, educating mental health teams/organizations and individuals on the Hearing Voices approach, giving lectures within Universities etc.
Michelle was also involved in setting up the very first Hearing Voices groups here in Ireland. She has worked in groups both within the psychiatric system and outside, but is mainly passionate about setting up groups that are open to everyone who hears Voices and that are within the community. She has also worked with Voice Hearers in high security settings and forensic psychiatric wards. She has established two new groups both open community groups one in West Cork and a new group in the City Center as well as helping other groups nationwide.
Michelle will be launching the Music For the Mind Festival again but this time in aid of the Hearing Voices Network Ireland and will continue to help the network evolve in Ireland as it is only starting out. Currently she is working on a new Art Exhibition based on Voice Hearers across the world and will produce 15 life sized pieces, entitled “Portrait of a Voice Hearer.” Which hopefully will be exhibited at one of the Intervoice conferences in the coming years.
Hywel is from Wales. He is a voice hearer, having heard voices since his childhood. He is particularly interested in exploring the religious and spiritual significance of the experience.
Hywel was a linguist and teacher by profession and is now retired. He has a love of the sports and arts, especially music, theatre and writing poetry.
He is the chairman of Hearing Voices Cymru (Wales) an organisation he helped to set up in 2001. He also helped to found the Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group in 1997. Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group continues to meet to this day.
In 1995 Hywel published an article in Asylum, The Magazine for Democratic Psychiatry entitled “What is Needed is a Revolution” and in 1997 he published an article for the mental health magazine Breakthrough entitled “In Time of Change”.
The Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group published Hearing Voices: An Information Pack in 1998, Mental Health Factfile in English and Welsh (1999) and Hearing and Belonging: The Newsletter Pack 2000. All of these continue to be available from Mind Pembrokeshire.
In 2002 Hywel wrote a chapter entitled “Hearing Voices Past and Present – A Users Perspective” that was published in the book “Psychosocial Interventions for People with Schizophrenia: A Practical Guide For Mental Health Workers” (edited by Neil Harris, Steve Williams and Tim Bradshaw, published by Palgrave MacMillan, 2002).
He is an honorary member of the INTERVOICE board. He has played a significant role in assisting the establishment of the international hearing voices movement. Without his support INTERVOICE would not be the organisation it is today. He is also patron of the Hearing Voices Network in France.
Hywel supports the development of new national networks and spreading information about the hearing voices approach through the Hearing Voices Resource Pack Fund and the Hywel Davies Awards. He is also a public speaker and poet.
Brian Dawn is from England. He is the Director of Mind in Camden. His organisation with his active support has played a vital role in supporting the development of the hearing voices approach in London through the London Hearing Voices Support Project and by developing and managing the innovative Voice Collective Project for young people who hear voices and see vison. Mind in Camden also runs the Hearing Voices Prison Project. Brian and Nind in Camden have supported the establishment and development of International Hearing Voices Projects, the coordinating and charitable body that is the official organisation of the hearing voices movement and INTERVOICE.
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Indigo is from Australia. She is a recovery expert by experience. After years of life as a revolving door psychiatric patient – heavily medicated, unemployed and without hope – Indigo finally found a therapist and a keyworker who saw her potential rather than her limitations. From here the real recovery work began. Indigo’s experiences have taught her that hope is never unrealistic.
Indigo has seven years’ experience working in the community mental health sector as a facilitator, keyworker, arts program coordinator, and is currently the project manager of Voices Vic – an award-winning, state-wide recovery program for people who hear voices or have unusual experiences. Ind igo is also an independent mental health trainer, speaker and consultant, specialising in group work, art and recovery, innovation and consumer-led approaches. She mentors and trains other experts by experience to work in the sector and has spoken at many mental health conferences and public events.
Indigo also has almost a decade of experience working in the corporate sector in project management, product management, marketing and human resources. She has a PhD in Madness (University of Life) in addition to her more traditional qualifications of a Bachelor of Business, Diploma of Management and Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment. She is currently completing post-graduate studies in Psychology.
In 2013 Indigo help to organise and chaired the World Hearing Voices Congress in Melbourne. This congress was attended by over 800 people.
Senait Debesay is from Germany. Senait a member of the The efc Institute team, which is strongly associated with the international Hearing Voices Movement. She is a trained learning disability nurse as well as a state-recognised therapeutic educator (Diplom-Heilpädagogin (FH)).
Her special interest is in empowerment. She works in a community-based psychiatric clinic for children and young people in Hanover, Germany. Her special focus in her work with children, young people and familes are developmental issues.
She is also specialised in the topic of selective mutism.
Debesay has delivered important pioneering work in recent years as she has been applying the efc counselling approach.
Senait Debesay is also a member of the trialogical group in Hanover, as well as an efc counsellor for adults. She is also a trainer and supervisor in efc.
Yann Derobert is from France. He is a psychologist. He currently earns his living as a consultant working to establish a cooperative providing training and therapy directed toward recovery. His encounter in 2009 with members of Intervoice changed his conception of mental health and his life. Since then, he argues for a humanistic social psychology to meet the needs of people with psychological disorders. He is the initiator and coordinator of the French Hearing Voices Network. With Sonia Johnson, he initiated and co-facilitated a group of voice hearers in Mons-en-Baroeul at the end of 2010.
Yann organised a 4 day event that took place in Armentières, France on 31th January to 3rd February 2011 entitled “Travailler et parler avec les voix: Créer le rétablissement pour les personnes qui entendent des voix” This was very successful and led to the establishment of a Hearing Voices Network in France.
In 2013 Yann helped to organise and chaired the first national meeting of REV France the French Hearing Voices Network in Nancy, France.
Mickey de Valda was from Manchester, England. He was the husband of Sharon De Valad. He died in 2007. He was the former chairperson of the English Hearing Voices Network. He was a voice hearer activist and steadfast supporter of fellow voice hearers.
He wrote “Hearing Voices: My own experience“.
His long term campaigning work on behalf of the hearing voices movement will never be forgotten.
Sharon is from England. She is a voice hearer. She was the wife of Micky DeValda. Sharon is a longstanding supporter of the hearing voices movement. She played a key role in supporting and developing the Manchester Hearing Voices Group. She was a public speaker and trainer.
The BBC made a TV programme of her experiences in 1994 called ‘Video Diaries’, (BBC 2, 9.30pm, Wednesday 14 September). The Independent reported “In her video diary, Sharon sometimes breaks down before the camera turns and doesn’t want it to carry on. But she does, and she has finished it. And she now has a title for it. ‘You can call it the Diary of a Nutter,’ she laughs.”
Jacqui is from England. She is a writer, campaigner, international speaker and trainer and the co- chair of the Hearing Voices Network in England.
She has personal and professional experience, awareness and skills in working with trauma and abuse, dissociation, ‘psychosis’, hearing voices, healing and recovery.
Jacqui has lectured and published worldwide. She is a skilled facilitator in complex learning environments. Jacqui has a track record of creating and sustaining user centred initiatives and of affecting change at all levels. Jacqui is also a voice hearer.
See her website here.
Julie Downs is from England. She had a long association with the Hearing Voices Network starting in the early 90’s as a member of the HVN Steering Group. Working voluntarily, Julie who was a creative therapist facilitating women’s and art groups. She later went on to become a hearing voices trainer and organiser of Hearing Voices Conferences.
Based in Manchester, she was the National Co-coordinator of HVN from 1999 during which time she helped to set up many groups and support the inauguration of HVN networks in other countries including Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the USA.
Julie was editor of Voices, the HVN newsletter and several publications; Starting and Supporting Voices Groups, Coping with voices and Visions and Basic Information About Hearing Voices and has written material for and facilitated training on many aspects of hearing voices. She retired in 2008.
Carol is from England. She has been a stalwart supporter of the hearing voices movement from the early days. She worked with the first hearing voices group and network established in Manchester in the 1990’s.
Carol is a spiritual healer and astrologist and has focussed her role in supporting people who hear voices and are experiencing a spiritual breakthrough or crisis.
Since 2012 Carol has been supporting and facilitating a hearing voices support group in Stretford, Manchester.
He is an existential psychoanalyst and psychotherapist in the Scranton/ Wilkes Barre area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He is a frequent speaker to various support organizations and conferences. Dr. Edmunds’ is a leading expert in existential/relational approaches to extreme states of mind and autism/developmental differences.
Dan is the founder of the International Center for Humane Psychiatry, an emancipatory movement for human rights in the mental health system and the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Autism Acceptance Project. Dr. Edmunds is the author of “The Meeting of Two Persons: What Therapy Should Be” This book addresses the need to validate experience and explores the role of oppression and the social, familial, and political factors leading to distress. Dr.Edmunds is also the author of “Being Autistic: An Approach Towards Understanding and Acceptance.” Dr. Edmunds has spoken on a number of radio and television programs on existential and critical psychology, human rights in the mental health system, autism acceptance, and social justice issues. Dr. Edmunds is Board Certified in Sexual Abuse Issues via the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and is a Diplomate of the American Psychotherapy Association.
Suzanne is from the Netherlands. She is an active member of INTERVOICE. She is an expert by experience and works in the Netherlands. Amongst other initiatives she works for Weerklank (Dutch Hearing Voices Network) and the TREE project. The TREE project works towards recovery, empowerment and experiential expertise.
Suzanne is also well experienced in giving lectures around Europe (Belgium, Germany, Scotland, Denmark, Bulgaria, Albania, Spain). She is a trainer for the EFC Institute.
Sandra Escher is from the Netherlands. She lives in Belgium. She is the co-founder of the hearing voices movement. She was trained as a science journalist and worked as a senior researcher at the University of Maastricht. Her work focuses on children who hearing voices. She is now an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Community Mental Health, Birmingham City University.
She has worked together with Marius Romme on the hearing voices project since 1987. With Marius she has written four books which have been translated into several languages and numerous papers and articles
Together they developed the Maastricht Interview schedule for Voice hearers and a further interview on Self harm.With Romme and Peter Bullimore she designed the interview on paranoia. All these interviews are based on the experiences themselves and not on professional theories.
Sandra is a board member of Intervoice, the international organisation for training, education and research on voices for voice hearers and professionals.
She is an editorial member of Klankspiegel, the magazine of Stichting Weerklank (Resonance), the Dutch voice-hearing organisation.
Sandra gives training and lectures on several aspects of voices all through the year. You can find out more about Sandra here
Jørn is from Denmark. He is a member of the INTERVOICE board. Jørn was the initiator of the Danish Voice Hearers Network. He has been on their board since its inception. He was also in the initiative group that founded the Danish Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation.
His entire working career has been centred on psychiatry in areas such as social psychiatry, district psychiatry, psychotherapy, alcoholism and adolescent psychiatry. He originally trained as a nurse. Afterwards, he took a diploma in management and a professional diploma in Human Resource Development.
Currently, he is a director of the social psychiatric services in Lyngby –Ttaarbæk Municipality. These services include housing, support at home, an acute service, self-help groups, supported work, social firms, and educational programmes. In the Danish context the service in Lyngby – Taarbæk Municipality is pioneering recovery-oriented work (www.slotsvaenget-ltk.dk).
John is from England. He is a voice hearer. He was born of working class parents, did extremely well in the 11+, but experimented with drugs in his teens, he was 18 in the magic hippy summer of ’67, and ended up in Mental Hospital, diagnosed with Schizophrenia. In his late 20’s, he returned to college to study Architecture, his childhood ambition, gaining an Honours degree and post-graduate diploma and then worked in Architecture. He is now retired at the age of 65, in the year 2014. He presently does voluntary work, helps run a Hearing Voices Group, sculpts, writes and paints.
Trevor Eyles is from Denmark. He is a longtime supporter of INTERVOICE. He works as a psychiatric nurse at Aarhus municipality in Denmark with a focus on working with people who hear voices. He specialises in utilising cognitive therapy.
Trevor has been key to the establishment and support of many self-help groups.
Trevor is a Board Member of the Danish Hearing Voices Network.
Charles is from England. He is a Professor in the Department of Psychology of Durham University. He has a background in developmental psychology, with a particular focus on social, emotional and cognitive development. Through theoretical and empirical work, he has contributed to the understanding of how language and thought are related in child development and beyond.
The focus of his recent scientific work has been in applying ideas from mainstream developmental psychology to the study of psychosis, particularly the phenomenon of voice-hearing (in which individuals hear voices in the absence of any speaker).
He has developed a new model of voice-hearing and inner speech, and conducted empirical studies testing aspects of the model in clinical and healthy samples. This work culminated in 2012 with the award of a £1m Wellcome Trust Strategic Award to the interdisciplinary Hearing the Voice project, on which he is Project Leader.
To be completed.
Lisa is a voice hearer.
She is a board member, group facilitator and trainer for the Hearing Voices Network USA.
She is also the Director of Community Supports at the Western Mass Learning Recovery Community.
She works as an individual in this community to advocate for change both within our society and within the mental health system so that individuals who experience emotional distress can seek support in a respected manner with their human rights preserved. She provides administrative, creative, leadership, mentoring and support opportunities.
She is an activist.
Geir is a psychodrama therapist from Norway. He has over 20 years experience of working in in health and social sectors. He is currently working as an individual and group therapist at the Hjelset Psychiatric hospital in Molde.
He has written articles and developed information services on Hearing Voices. He has been on several long study tours to England to become familiar with the research and methodology about Hearing Voices. He has a Master degree in voice hearing and has written a book “Mestringsbok for stemmehørere”. He workswith voice hearers, in groups and individually. He runs courses and training events in the hearing voices approach for professionals and users. Visit his website here.
Tilly Gerritsma is from the Nethelands. She co-wote a book entitled “It’s Really Rather Normal” with Titus Rivas. In the book she shares her experiences of hearing voices and related phenomena and describes how she learned to deal with them, helped by her main, positive voice.
In the book she shows that hearing voices may offer a potential for psychological, emotional, and spiritual growth. You can find out more about Tilly’s book here.
She is the current secretary of the Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa NZ, a registered charity providing support and resources for people who hear voices and have visions. She sends out the email newsletter, and designs and collates the printed one. She deald with all correspondence. She designed and runs the website, facebook page, facebook group, blog. She also organises events in conjunction with other committee members, bring speakers from overseas, and help co-ordinates the facilitators of the Hearing Voices Support groups.
Adrienne co-facilitates 2 support groups. An open one in the public arena. The second is at the Mason Forensic Clinic, and is a structured 8 week program using a course I have designed. She also speaks about hearing voices at events and to organisations to raise awareness and better understanding of this experience.
She is interested in mythology, ancient religions, philosophy, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, archaeology, anthropology. She enjoys exploring mystical and religous concepts, other dimensions and realities and what their meaning is in relation to the SELF and consciousness.
She likes seeing and exploring concepts that expand her view of the Universe and of life itself. She has a blog where she collects research on esoteric and mystical matters here.
To be completed.
For Intervoice she wrote a chapter for a book. She is part of the Italian Hearing Voices Network. She is a public speaker, mostly giving testimony that recovery from ‘schizophrenia’ is possible and to fight against the stigma of mental illness. In January 2009 she wrote, together with her psychiatrist, an italian article for the psychiatric review ‘Psichiatria di comunità’, around the possibility of recovery from ‘schizophrenia’
In Holland she qualified as a primary school teacher, while in Italy she became a working student and graduated in pedagogy, but never used this study for a job. She always worked with her knowledge of the languages in offices, in an industry or like a free lance translator.
Before 1999 she suffered for at least 4 years a ‘delirious paranoid schizophrenia’, but with the help of years of a psychodynamic psychotherapist she is fully cured. She believes this is thanks to a human psychiatric approach ove years. In 2002 she stopped taking medication.
Lia’s has written a book about her experiences entitled ‘Healing from schizophrenia: A personal account’, published at Lulu.com, and available on Amazon and other libraries online (ISBN 9781446787748).
To be completed.
To be completed.
Professor Gillian Haddock is from England. Her professional experience is primarily in the field of mental health with particular expertise in psychosis, learning disability, forensic and substance use areas. Her main research interests are in the developments of psychological treatments for psychotic symptoms, the cognitive processes associated with psychosis and the measurement of psychotic symptoms.
Gillian published some of the early research into hearing voices.
Gillian is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. Gillian is the Section Head for Clinical and Health Psychology here at the University, and leads the Centre for New Treatments and Understanding in Mental Health (CeNTrUM), a joint centre with the Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health. She is also the Manchester Director of the North West Mental Health Alliance, a joint initiative with the Universities of Liverpool and Lancaster to enhance mental health research and treatment in the North west of England. She holds Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychology appointments in National Health Service mental health trusts in the North West of England.
She completed her undergraduate psychology degree at the University of York, her PhD and her professional Clinical Psychology training at the University of Liverpool. Her professional experience is primarily in the field of mental health with particular expertise in psychosis, learning disability, forensic and substance use areas. Her main research interests are in the developments of psychological treatments for psychotic symptoms, the cognitive processes associated with psychosis and the measurement of psychotic symptoms. She has numerous publications in this area and is the editor of two books.
She was president of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies from 1999-2000 and in 1998 was awarded the May Davidson Award given by the Division of Clinical Psychology of the British Psychological Society for contribution to British Clinical Psychology in the first 10 years since qualifying.
Patsy Hage is from the Netherlands. She hears voices and was a patient of Marius Romme. It was Patsy who started the whole investigation into the meaning of voices in the Netherlands. Patsy’s was hearing voices that gave her orders, or forbade her to do things. There were times when they could dominate her completely. Patsy, who was 30 years old at the time, had already been hospitalised several times and was diagnosed as suffering from a schizophrenic psychosis.
Marius gave Patsy a book by the American psychologist, Julian Jaynes “The origins of consciousness and the breakdown of the bicameral mind”. From the text she concluded that there were times when to hear voices was normal.
She did not believe that her voices were part of an illness and they were so real to her that it she did not regard them as hallucinations. She was angry that Marius did not ask about what the voices said to her, as this was what made the voices so stressful for her and was why she suffered from them. She was also angry with Marius at this time as he did not really believe that she heard voices. She pointed out the contradiction between societies acceptance in the belief in a God that we could not hear, whilst not believing in the reality of her voices that she heard quite clearly. As Patsy said to Marius; “You believe in a God we never see or hear, so why shouldn’t you believe in the voices I really do hear?”.
Marius like many other psychiatrists he had always dismissed voices as being part of the delusional and hallucinatory world of the psychiatrically ill. It made sense to Marius because it was certainly the case in our society that to believe in the existence of God, in spite of the lack of any physical evidence, is acceptable and no one who believes in this is thought of as mad, yet the same acceptance is not extended to those who psychiatry regards as hallucinators.
Later they explored why the voices started, Patsy explained to Marius, it was her opinion that the voices were not part of an illness neither were they hallucinations, for they had been with her since she was eight years old, appearing shortly after she had been badly burnt. At first the voices were friendly and helpful and for a long time they caused her no problems and it was only when she was fifteen years old that the voices became unfriendly and angry.
Subsequently it has been shown that up to 70% of voice hearers first hear voices after a major trauma. This relationship was first established from the results of a questionnaire that was distributed after a Dutch TV talk show that featured Patsy and Marius discussing the hearing voices experience. The finding of this questionnaire were published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin in 1989.
This was a big step, as it began the journey away from the accepted mainstream medical view of that voices were meaningless hallucinations. Marius Romme took his lead from Patsy, a diagnosed schizophrenic, because what she had said made more sense then any other theory he had heard. Thus began a journey that continues to this day, a journey that crucially has always involved voice hearers and others finding out together what this experience might mean and how it might be overcome.
Will Hall is a from the USA. He is the co-founder of the Hearing Voices Network USA. In 2009 he co-founded Portland Hearing Voices.
He is a mental health advocate, writer, and counselor.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he is recognized internationally as a leading organizer with the psychiatric survivors movement.
In 2001 he co-founded the Freedom Center and in 2005 became a co-coordinator of The Icarus Project. He has consulted with Mental Disability Rights International, the Family Outreach and Response Program, and the Federal Office on Violence Against Women.
Will hosts the FM radio program Madness Radio, syndicated on the Pacifica Network.
He lives in Portland Oregon, where he studies Process Oriented Psychology and has a counseling practice.
Prior to that he worked in NHS mental health services in the North West of England for over ten years.
His research interests are in critical psychology and social constructionist approaches in mental health, particularly in relation to psychosis.
Brian founded the Hearing Voices Ireland (HVI) in 2006 for people like himself who hear voices. In 2009 he helped form RENEW which promotes the idea of well being as being a balance of mind, body and soul.
In 2003 he became the Midlands Regional Peer Advocate for the Irish Advocacy Network (IAN). In 2006 he became the Advocate for the Clare / Limerick / North Tipperary Region.
He is based in Limerick. He visits hospitals and day centres on a regular basis providing support, encouragement and peer advocacy services for his clients.
In this interview on Limerick City Community Radio (LCCR) Brian talks about HVI and his viewpoint on hearing voices. Listen here
Peter is from Australia. He is a voice hearer and glass artist. He tried to kill his brother and multiple other family members. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and spent 15 years in the mental health system, in and out of the psychiatric ward. Believed to be homicidal his treating team recommended he spent the rest of his life at Thomas Embling Forensic ward. It was only when he got out of the system and began looking within himself and getting his voices under control did he realise he had an anger and rage problem that was the cause of his so called homicidal tendencies.
Learning to control his anger/rage and dealing with the past traumas in his life that spanned from being raped, operated on 28 times, emotionally and physically abused and bullied did Peter began his recovery journey. Out of the system and getting involved with the Hearing Voices Network, he is now a public speaker and mental health trainer on recovering from hearing voices and visions and other mental health issues. Peter has recently published his first book and is managing Voices Inc Horsham and initiating other centres around Australia. These centres are aimed to help those in mental and emotional distress where individuals work on recovery methods and produce art. Peter also train those in the mental health system and psychiatrists on better ways to help those in distress.
Peter is also a small business owner and well known artist where his main medium is glass, which he implements into his recovery practice.
Peter works very hard on rewriting the way mental health is perceived. He does not believe in labeling people with diagnosis but believes in mental distress, emotional distress, trauma and learnt behaviour as a response to a traumatic experience in that persons life. He believes strongly that recovery is possible in all forms, if you are willing to put in the hard work.
Mark works as a Clinical Psychologist in England. His academic remit includes lecturing on the Doctoral Programme at the University of Sussex.
Within the NHS he works as Director of Research within the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
His specialist interests and publications span three areas: the experience of hearing voices; the involvement of service users and carers within training and research; and training in psychological understandings of psychosis and psychotic experiences.
His work with people who hear voices has spanned several years and has recently focussed on the exploration of voices within a relational framework – acknowledging the voice as an interpersonal ‘other’ and researching differing aspects of the relationships that people develop with the voices they hear.
These relationships are currently the subject of therapeutic scrutiny as a new form of individual therapy (‘Relating Therapy’) that seeks to assertively engage with the voice and transform distressing relationships into those that are experienced as more balanced and less intrusive.
In collaboration with Professor Paul Chadwick (University of Southampton), a contrasting form of group therapy is being developed that draws upon relational and mindfulness frameworks to enable the hearer to disengage from distressing voices.
You can see Mark’s academic bibliography and published research here
Kevin Healey lives in Canada. He hears voices and has done for over thirty years and is a survivor, as he says “mostly of his own mis-steps, mistakes and misdeeds but also of a life of never quite fitting in: anywhere”.
He learned very early on not to let others, especially medical professional, know about what they did not understand, and so found and created his own ways to live with experiences that others just don’t get and are afraid of.
Ten years ago he was called to North America where he discovered he didn’t fit in even more than ever, needed to draw on everything he’d already learned and to reach out for help.
He discovered how little medicine understands and came upon ideas of recovery, eventually meeting Ron Coleman and Paul Baker and found the courage to no longer hide that he hears voices.
Kevin is now a lead activist for recovery, and especially hearing voices in Canada.
He believes that the whole range of categories of “mental disorder” are nothing more than the best attempt looking through a narrow, foggy and cracked lens at the whole variety of ways people can struggle with life.
To be completed.
Monika Hoffmann is a psychologist from Berlin, Germany. In 1998 she co-founded th NeSt, the German Hearing Voices Network.
In explaining why she became part of the hearing voices movement she says:
“I realized that psychiatry and psychology textbooks were transporting myths when talking about hallucinations. Using the term “auditory hallucination” does not make allowance for the fact, that voice hearers actually do hear voices. They do not only feel accused of imagining something, but they are left alone with their experiences.
The unjust persistence over the last hundred years to attribute hearing voices to always be a symptom of a severe mental disease does not make it easy to talk with patients about their voices.”
Crow was from England. He died at age of 57. He was a voice hearer, painter, visionary and teacher. He was co-founder of the Exeter hearing voices group.
Here is an article about Crow from the Guardian, November 2000.
Jan is from England. She hears voices and uses her experiences both as a mental health worker and a service user to develop “Learning from Psychosis” an approach to training using experiential exercises and visual stimuli to give a deeper understanding of the experience of psychosis.
She wrote an article with J.Thomas in Open Mind in 2000. You can read it here.
Jan facilitates and supports hearing voices groups in London.
Douglas is from New South Wales, Australia. He is a founder member of the New South Wales Hearing Voices Network based in Sydney.
Douglas is a consumer participation officer with St Vincent’s Mental Health Services in Sydney.
He has used different media including Journalism, Public relations, Films, Internet, Mobile, Publishing, Magazines, Newspapers, Mass wire media and “Personal” Media to promote hearing voices in New SouthWales & Australia.
He has been working on this project for at least 13 years since first hearing Pat Deegan speak publicly about her own experience with voices while attending the a conference in Brisbane in 1996.
Gail A. Hornstein is from the USA. She is a co-founder of the Hearing Voice Network USA.
Gail is a professor of psychology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Her research spans the history of 20th century psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis. It has been supported by the National Library of Medicine, the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities inter alia.
Unlike most scholars who study mental illness, Professor Hornstein has always been as interested in patients’ experiences as in doctors’ theories. Her Bibliography of First‐Person Narratives of Madness in English (now in its 4th edition) lists more than 700 titles and is used by researchers, clinicians, and educators across the world.
Her recent book, Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness, shows how the insights of those diagnosed as “schizophrenic,” “bipolar,” “depressed,” and “paranoid” can help us to reconceive fundamental assumptions about madness, treatment, and mental life.
For information about Gail visit her website here
Mike is from Wales. He is a Consultant Psychologist and Academic Lead for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities. He is also Assistant Director, Research and Development, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Bangor University, Hergest Unit, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor. He specialises in psychosocial treatments for the psychoses.
Adam James is feom England He is author of Raising Our Voices: An Account of the Hearing Voices Movement, published by Handsell in 2001. He brought both the philosophy and struggle of the Hearing Voices Network to life. In the book, the history of the Network from Julian Jaynes’ work on the bicameral mind to the development of the UK Hearing Voices Network as a pseudo mainstream up to 2001.
He was awarded Mind Journalist of the Year 2001 for his coverage of mental health issues.
Marlene Janssen is the director of Hearing Voices Network Australia. Richmond Fellowship of WA, a non-government mental health service, set up the Hearing Voice Network Australia in 2005 to provide support and community education to people hearing voices. Support groups in Perth and Western Australia have been established to help people.
He was a civil servant working for the Ministry of Health in the UK and a consultant to National Institute of Mental Health in England (UK) and was a director for the World Health Organisation Mental Health Programme. He is principally concerned with the development and implementation of Community Mental Health Services and Networking around the world. He has helped to development national policies and their implementation in the Balkan (Kosova, Albania, Macedonia, inter alia) He provides advice and Consultancy to various Mental Health Providers in many countries.
Maths Jesperson is a long-time psychiatric survivor activist and leader from Sweden. He has been a long term supporter of INTERVOICE and of the Hearing Voices Network in Sweden.
Maths was born in 1954. He was an inmate of an old mental hospital from 1980 to 1981. From 1982 to 1988 he was the producer at the theatre company called Mercuriusteatern, as well as local politician of the Green Party in Lund, Sweden. In 1984 he converted to Catholicism.
She has worked in Adult Mental Health settings for many years, alternating with academic posts. She is the former Programme Director of the Bristol Clinical Psychology Doctorate, a highly regarded course which was based on a critical, politically-aware and service-user informed philosophy, along with an emphasis on personal development. Sadly, it was forced to close in 2010, and Lucy has since returned to clinical work.
The first edition of her book ‘Users and abusers of psychiatry: a critical look at psychiatric practice’ was published in 1989 and a revised (and updated) version came out in 2000. She has also authored a number of articles and chapters on topics such as psychiatric diagnosis, psychological effects of ECT, and the role of trauma in breakdown. The second edition of ‘Formulation in psychology and psychotherapy: making sense of people’s problems’, co-edited with Rudi Dallos, is due in August 2013. This, along with related articles and training events, reflects her interest in promoting a narrative or formulation-based alternative to psychiatric diagnosis. Lucy was a contributor to the British Psychological Society’s response to the proposed DSM 5 revisions. She is currently convening a group of leading UK clinical psychologists and mental health experts who are working to develop an evidence-based and conceptually coherent alternative to the current diagnostic systems.
Anne is from Norway.
She initiated the hearing voices approach in Tromsø after visiting HVN-groups in Manchester and Deptford in the UK.
With financial help from the Norwegian Health and Rehabilitation Association and the Psychiatric Centre for Tromsø and the region, they have launched a network called “Å høre stemmer” (Hearing voices). See their website here.
Anne helped arrange Hearing voices seminars where both voice hearers, relatives and professionals give lectures and participate. Sandra Escher and Ami Ronitz were the first lecturers. She helps support a hearing voices website with a web based self help group.
She is based at the University Hospital of North Norway, Department of General Psychiatry in Tromsø.
Dr. Judy Kirby
Judy is from England. She has a clinical background as a Registered General Nurse, and academic qualifications in applied social sciences. Her interest in the phenomenon of hearing voices dates back to the early days of her student nurse training in the 1980s. During this time she had contact with (non-distressed) voice-hearers in spiritualist groups and (distressed) voice-hearers in the mental health care system.
She was intrigued by why the phenomenon is experienced so differently. Distressing for some voice-hearers but not for others. Following the completion of a BA in Applied Social Sciences in 1999 she successfully applied for a PhD studentship exploring ‘schizophrenia’ and gender. Given that there is an association between ‘hearing voices’ and the highly debated diagnostic category of ‘schizophrenia’, the studentship offered her an opportunity to revisit her long-standing interest in the phenomenon.
During her literature searches she found the work of Professor Marius Romme and Sandra Escher. She began to shape her study around the idea of hearing voices as an interactional phenomenon in terms of how it is experienced. During the early days of the study she received much appreciated support from the Manchester branch of the Hearing Voices Network. She was honoured to serve for twelve months as a Trustee.
She is currently a Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK.
From 2003 to 2005 Hannelore was on the board of the German Association of Psychiatric Survivors.
She decided to live without neuroleptics and lived on a small disability pension. In this article Hannelore tells how her voices have accompanied her in her life .
She wrote a book called “My Voices – Pests and Guardian Angel: Texts of a dedicated voice hearer” It is the document of the life and work of an extraordinary woman. With her passionate lectures on hearing voices, her unvarnished biographical memories, interspersed with dry humour about psychiatry. It also included critical texts and expressive sculptures.
Hannelore said the voices were tormentors as well as a guardian angel. She said that (they) led me to be a powerful woman. I had to stop at some point being a victim.” The book reveals her power in overcoming traumatic experiences in childhood and psychiatry. She changed her life and improved the situation of voice hearers and other psychiatrised people in Germany and beyond. The book has a foreword by Reinhard Wojke and a postscript by Marius Romme & Sandra Escher
Bodil works as a leader of a research department at Nidaros DPS, St.Olavs Hospital in Trondheim (Norway). She is a registered mental health nurse and is engaged as a leader of a randomised, controlled trial of cognitive therapy for persons suffering from delusions and auditory hallucinations.
She also set up a self-help group in Geneva. In 1999 published a translation of “The Voice Inside: A Practical Guide” called “Entendre des Voix: Guide pratique”.
Theresa has been a long standing supporter of the hearing voices movement.
You can read more about Theresa’s work here.
Debra is from New Zealand. She is a voice hearer. She has an extensive background as a mental health educator. Debra held the position of Consumer Consultant to Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) the largest in New Zealand, for five years, providing consumer advisory services. Debra made a substantial contribution to the evolution of consumer advisory services to the independent, professional and robust structure that it is today.
Debra is employed by ADHB as a Project Manager for the psychological interventions for enduring mental illness project. In this unique and innovative position Debra works in the clinical setting leading the development of psychological strategies for positive symptoms of psychosis and the first non-clinician to do so.
Debra is also a senior tutor with The University of Auckland’s Centre for Mental Health Research and Policy Development. Debra has both an academic and research role. Her work has been presented as key notes and workshops/symposia at numerous conferences both nationally and internationally.
Debra has transferred her 30 years of the lived experience of recovery, voice hearing and the shared experiences of the consumers she has worked with, into a wealth of knowledge that is collaborative, interactive and empowering. She is a prominent leader and mentor to others within the service-user and clinical movement in New Zealand and a well know trainer, educator and advocate within national and international mental health services.
Debra is the current Chairperson for ISPS New Zealand.
Christian is from Austria. H is a clinical and health psychologist. He works for EXIT Sozial in Linz.
He is the coordinator of the hearing voices group and network in Linz, Austria.
Frank is from Belgium. He works as a lecturer and researcher in the Cognitive Psychopathology Unit, University of Liège (Belgium). His research interests include examining cognitive and emotional mechanisms involved in hearing voices in the general population.
In addition to his research on hallucinations, he devotes himself to the study of schizophrenia and delusional ideas, cognitive remediation and emotional processes in psychopathology.
It is Frank Laroi’s desire to make his observations and findings available to the general public. With the support of the King Baudoin Foundation, he is currently developing an information website on hallucinations. Frank Laroi is planning to produce a DVD on the treatment of hallucinations in the cinema, exploring the hypothesis that fictional films could have an effect in psychopathology.
Frank is the co-author, along with Prof Andre Aleman, of the excellent book Hallucinations: The science of idiosyncratic perception. Frank has co-edited, again with Prof Andre Aleman, the book Hallucinations: A Practical Guide to Treatment and Management.
He has collaborated with Dr. Simon McCarthy-Jones on a number of papers, including papers on the phenomenology of voices.
Alan Leader is from England. Alan is a voice hearer. He played a prominent role in the establishment of the national hearing voices network in England. He was one of the pioneers of the hearing voices movment
Sharon was from Wales. She was a voice hearer. Sharon died on the 10th September 1999 aged forty six years old. In the fight for change in psychiatry she was a colleague in our struggle to change peoples’ attitudes to self harm and hearing voices.
Sharon wrote a one act play called On the Edge of a Dilemma, a serious and important two-actor piece with Dr Phil Thomas playing a disillusioned psychiatrist who becomes a patient and Sharon playing a patient. Sharon used her skills as an actress and playwright to the task of challenging the way mental distress is framed in psychiatric discourse, and through performance and discussion relating the experience of self‐harm and hearing voices to the discourse of every day life. Sharon and Phil took this play all over the UK and Europe.
She lived her life with courage and conviction. Her legacy as a writer, activist and actor remains with those who have been touched by her work. Her legacy as a friend remains with those who were touched by her love.
She campaigned for greater understanding of self-injury. She wrote the book ‘Killing me Softly’ an objective, non moralistic recognition of the contradictions that occur within abuse and self-harm. A no holds barred approach to the subject, which is at its best when the concept of recovery is discussed. The challenge posed by her book is a challenge to all users, professionals and carers. If we accept this challenge, then perhaps real changes in these areas can and will happen.
Gaétan Legault is from Canada. He is a voice hearer. He created one of the first hearing voices group of its kind in the town of Trois-Rivières, near Quebec. The group is called Entendons-nous. Every Friday night, up to a dozen people gather to talk about the voices they hear. It is something that they have never been able to do either with their psychiatrist or with their their loved ones.
Gaétan says“The current attitude of the medical profession is not to speak of the voices, to consider them as mere hallucinations or strictly as a psychotic delusion. The result is that people who hear voices are isolated. Sometimes their condition deteriorates.
Each person hears their voice in a different way. It can be a woman’s voice, a man’s voice or a child’s voice. Some believe that aliens speak to them. Others think that the Secret Service has infiltrated their head, while for others they are just sounds and spirits.”
Gaétan says the the first step of Entendons-nous meetings is to identify the nature of the voices that the person hears. “When a person is struggling with their voice, they become entangled. So the objective of the meetings is to get them to accept the voices they hear as part of their reality. From there, we give them means to be free from the voices influence”
You can read an article about Gaétan and the group here.
Ivan was born in Czechoslovakia and has lived most of his life in the UK. He was a professor of analytical and historical psychology at the University of Manchester. His publications include Voices of Reason, Voices of Insanity (2000, Routledge, with Phil Thomas), Conversation Analysis and Psychotherapy (2008, CUP, with Annsi Perakyla et al) and Against Theory of Mind (2009, Palgrave/MacMillan, with Alan Cos- tall).
His work on hearing voices aims to document voice hearers’ own understanding of their experiences. It focuses on methods that they use to endow these experiences with meaning. His current projects investigate voices in everyday life and especially in bereavement. One aim is to normalise these experiences by documenting their variety in both contemporary world and through studies of historical cases. You can see his research publications here and his books here.
He left the University in January 2011 as an emeritus professor of historical psychology to focus on scholarship and to try his hand more intensely at visual arts. He continues academic work, researching possibilities for analytical historical psychology.
Eleanor Longden is an award-winning postgraduate researcher with a specialist interest in psychosis, trauma, and dissociation. She is a three times TED speaker, a trustee of Intervoice: The International Network for Training, Education, and Research into Hearing Voices and Soteria Network UK. She has lectured and published internationally on promoting creative, person-centred approaches to understanding and recovering from psychosis. She is the author of Learning from the Voices in my Head (TED Books, New York: 2013). She is also the chair of the INTERVOICE International Research Committee.
As a voice hearer and past user of psychiatric services, she has a strong interest in promoting tolerance, awareness and positive explanations for mental health issues. She works both a clinical and academic capacity to endorse creative, enabling approaches to experiences such as voice-hearing, unusual beliefs and self-injury.
In general, her work focuses on the way that ideas held in the mind come to seem externally real to people, and the way that ideas about the mind affect mental experience. One of her recent project compares the experience of hearing distressing voices in India and in the United States (see here)
Her books include Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft, (Harvard, 1989); The Good Parsi (Harvard 1996); Of Two Minds (Knopf 2000) and When God Talks Back (Knopf 2012).
Marcello is from Italy. He is a consultant psychiatrist, and head of the Community Mental Health Centre of Carcare , coordinator of the “Sheltered Apartments” of Carcare and Cengio in Savona, Italy.
Since 2004 he has been involved in the establishment and development of the Italian Hearing Voices Network.
Marcello worked for the Italian National Research Council (2007) to coordinate the writing of a research project on “Recovery” which involved the “Mario Negri” Institute of Milan, Dundee University, Stockholm University and the International Collaborating Network on Mental Health.
He was actively involved with leading roles in the regional social cooperative network (1980-2009): from 1980 to 1983 he was the president of the social cooperative “Il Faggio” which was working with mentally handicapped people in the community; from 2004 to 2009 he was the president of the social cooperative “Il Casello” in which a third of the workers are people with mental health problems.
She has a formal academic training in Psychology and Communication & Cultural Studies, a past career in nursing and, both delivery of, and receipt of, mental health & addiction services.
Her lived experience encompasses being a parent of two adult children also diagnosed with mental health issues. These experiences provide her with an amalgam of both tacit and professional knowledge about working toward recovery across mental health and substance abuse.
Lyn commenced her journey of recovery about 35 years ago and is now an ex-consumer of services. Since beginning her journey, her knowledge of diverse healing and psychological and emotional healing and recovery modalities has grown and she has utilised them both personally and professionally.
Judy is from Jersey, a small island a hundred miles from the south coast of England. She says:
“I had been finding it difficult to find other voice-hearers willing to share their experiences and was feeling very isolated. I had begun working with a therapist who was keen to help me deal with the many upsetting consequences of hearing voices. He was the first person I had met who was happy to look at the voices in a non medical way. He gave me a new diagnosis – chronic post traumatic stress disorder. He encouraged me to get as much help from as many sources as possible, and as a result I started attending conferences in England. I have managed to attend about one conference a year since 2005, and these have been a great help in my battle to manage the voices better. I have been inspired by meeting other service users who are determined to overcome their problems and who challenge their unhelpful diagnoses.”
In 2012 she published a collection of illustrated poems entitled Inside Out. Written over a period of more than 47 years, Judy describes her experiences of depression and hearing voices, and her personal fight to overcome the challenges these present.
Tsuyoshi Matsuo MD
Tsuyoshi is from Japan. Her has been involved in the Japanese hearing voices network and INTERVOICE for over ten years.
He wrote a chapter about INTERVOICE and HVN Japan for the Japanese book titled “The World of Auditory Hallucinations / or Hearing Voices” it was published in October 2010.
He is a physician who worked in a psychiatric institution in Japan for four years and witnessed how terribly the patients are treated.
Rufus May is from England. He is a psychologist and is known for his positive therapeutic approach to psychosis and voice-hearing. He uses his own experiences of being a psychiatric patient to promote alternative recovery approaches for those experiencing psychotic symptoms.
He works as a clinical psychologist in the NHS in Bradford , England. He also does some independent training and consultancy.
His interest in recovery from psychosis and other difficulties is rooted in his own experiences of psychosis when he was 18 and his subsequent recovery journey. He is committed to helping to create alternative understandings to medical labelling and the heavy handed use of psychiatric drugs, which is the dominant approach today. Rufus says his work is part of a wider emancipatory movement in mental health that includes the hearing voices movement, community development approaches and other self help and holistic health movements.
After formally qualifying as a clinical psychologist, he then disclosed that he had been previously detained in hosptial with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Rufus uses techniques developed in conjunction with other members of the hearing voices network which include talking to people’s voices.
You can read more about Rufus’s work here.
He is a Research Fellow at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, where he undertakes research into the experience of hearing voices. His work covers all aspects of the experience, ranging from the histories and meanings of hearing voices, to phenomenology, cognitive neuroscience, and clinical interventions to help those distressed and impaired by the experience. This takes place through his own research program at Macquarie University, as well as through national and international collaborations. He is a member of the International Consortium on Hallucinations Research, as well as the consumer-led Intervoice International Research Committee.
In 2012 he published a book on the experience of hearing voices entitled Hearing voices: The histories, causes and meanings of auditory verbal hallucinations. More details on his book are available here, and you can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk here. You read more about Simon’s work <ahref=”http://www.simonmccarthyjones.com”>here.
Dr Peter McGeorge
Peter is from Australia. Peter is the patron of the Hearing Voices Network in New South Wales. He is the Director of the Alcohol, Drugs and Mental Health Program at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney. He is an Adolescent and General Psychiatrist.
Over the past 30 years Peter has been extensively involved, nationally and internationally, in clinical practice, national policy developments, reviews of the mental health services and the establishment of recovery oriented, integrated systems of community and hospital based mental health care.
Prior to his current role, he was the Director of Mental Health Services in Auckland and Wellington New Zealand, and Chair of the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation. He is also the immediate past chair of the New Zealand Mental Health Commission.
Terry McLauchlin (1947 – 2007)
Terence was a militant revolutionary socialist for many years in industry before undertaking a psychology degree, which he completed at Manchester Polytechnic. His PhD ‘Psychology and mental health politics: A critical history of the Hearing Voices Movement’ at Manchester Metropolitan University was examined by Marius Romme in 2000.
During the period of his studies and then afterwards he brought radical perspectives to campaigns, conferences and publications against the power of experts to define what is normal and abnormal for others. He was then, until his death, executive editor of Asylum magazine.
His innovative academic research work was always in the service of wider political struggles. He sought to keep histories of resistance to ruling ideological paradigms and state practices alive.
Dr. Manuel Gonzalez de Chavez Menendez initiated the translation of ‘Making Sense of Voices’ into Spanish. This edition was published in December 2005 and presented at a conference in Madrid with 800 participants. Since then, he has translated a number of important booklets and articles. He was Professor and Chief of the Psychiatry Service of General University Hospital, Madrid. (Spain) and a former President of ISPS .
Renea is from British Columbia, Canada. She is a voice hearer and the co-ordinator for Vancouver Coastal Health’s peer support program for mental health and addictions services. Renea was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and given olanzapine. She learned about the Hearing Voices Network during a talk at a Unitarian Church in Vancouver two years ago. It has taught her that it’s OK to live with the voices.
“It’s really changed some of the assumptions that I had around voice-hearing,” she says.
Renea hopes that as Hearing Voices groups expand in British Columbia they will help other voice-hearers lead “satisfying, fulfilling and meaningful” lives.
“There are people who are living with voices and living well with their voices,” she says “It doesn’t have to be the end of the world.”
Mervyn is from England. He is th Professor of Community Mental Health and Director of the Centre for Community Mental Health at Birmingham City University. He focuses on service redesign and developing alternative approaches through user expertise, particularly in the area of psychosis.
Mervyn has been an advocate of research and user experience around voice hearing for many years and has worked with Marius Romme and Sandra Escher. With their collaboration a module entitled “Recovery-based Working with Voice Hearers’ was created at Birmingham City University. Mervyn has also collaborated on papers related to voice hearing, including “Determinants of outcome in the pathways through care for children hearing voices” with Sandra Escher, ‘The harmful concept of schizophrenia’ with Marius Romme. He was one of the editors of “Living with Voices: 50 stories of recovery” that was jointly published by Birmingham City University.
He has worked extensively with European project partners, and for the World Health Organisation. He is Professor II at UC Buskerud, Norway.
He is currently employed as a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mental Health at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
In addition to teaching medical students, he provides individual and group psychotherapy, and works regularly with persons hearing voices.
Andrew is the lead editor of an important new book entitled Psychosis, Trauma and Dissociation: Emerging Perspectives on Severe Psychopathology
on the connections between trauma, dissociation and psychosis , and has written extensively on interpreting psychotic symptoms, including voices, from a trauma/dissociation perspective.
Her story is included in “Living with Voices: 50 stories of Recovery.
His story is included in “Living with Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery”. He works with Geir Fredericksen, psychodrama therapist.
Ronny wrote and performed the song “The System has Failed” that you can listen to here.
She has 14 years experience as a disability worker and has facilitated Hearing Voices Groups for five years in community and forensic settings.
She also does individual work with voice hearers based on the Maastricht Interview. Sandi has received training from Ron Coleman, Rufus May, Dirk Corstens, Jacqui Dillon, Peter Bullimore and John Watkins.
Sandi is a former fashion designerWhilst on a business trip to India, she was shocked to discover the appalling conditions that the textile workers lived in. When, some time later, their boss decided to cut their pay (which at that time was $1US a week) Sandi made the radical decision that she could no longer be able to work in an industry that did not value work or dignify humanity. She said that while in India she also had ‘an experience of God’ and heard the call to change her career. This led her to work at the Prahran Mission in Melbourne with people who hear voices.
Odi Oquosa was born in Nigeria, of Onitsha royal lineage. From the age of 18, he travelled from Nigeria around Asia and Europe, working as a medicine man and artist, sculptor, poet, clothes-designer, musician, dancer, shaman and philosopher.
We might better grasp the conundrum that Odi represents by looking at him in terms of a modern ‘Renaissance man’ – at once a sculptor, painter, clothes designer, textile technician, gemologist, musician, scholar and philosopher, dancer and historian of his own people.
His life also embodies the traditional Onitsha values of priest, healer, shaman and medicine man.
In 1999 – 2001 when the ‘Inner Voice’ came to Odi, he was a sophisticated designer working with precious stones and textiles – including lace, brocade and voile. He sold his creations to organisations across Asia, Africa and Europe.
Elements talk to him and teach him to work with the forces of nature. That’s what becoming a shaman is about. He was working in Switzerland when his voices started telling him he had to go home to Nigeria and become a shaman. So he went back in 2000.
At the time a vigilante group – called the Bakassi Boys – organised by the Nigerian government – were killing people, burning down houses and bringing fear. He decided to confront them, by going on television and speaking out. He even went to meet with them.
This Odi’s story:
“On my third meeting they abducted me, telling me they wanted to kill me.
They tortured me – my body is full of marks. I was strapped down, beaten with machetes and cut all over. My mother called my cousin, who was a representative in the House of Assembly, who in turn called up the Governor and, after a long dialogue, they released me. After that I started having panic attacks. I couldn’t sleep. I’d see people chasing me with machetes, even in my dreams. But my voices told me I needed to go through this to understand Shamanism; I had to be wounded to understand about pain. I started painting and writing stuff down about my abduction experience. But then the Bakasi boys came to my office and burned down the whole place. I lost all my pieces – all that energy that it had taken to make all these things and understand stuff, and it was gone. It was hell.
In 2001, I came to the UK and brought a lot of evidence and videos of what these vigilantes had been doing to people. But staying in London made my panic attacks worse. It was a hard time. I’d have panic attacks everywhere. I’d start sweating and all I could hear was negative voices. I’d think the people around me were following me and wanted to kill me. I realised I had to move away from London to the sea, where I would be able to communicate with the elements and get myself better. So five years ago, I moved down to Brighton.
Because of the problems I was having, I had to talk to the doctors, who sent me to a psychiatric ward. They saw me as a mad person, who was delusional, as I was still talking with my voices. My social worker was the only person who trusted me.
As my panic attacks continued, I started getting angry at my voices and myself, then one day they told me, “You have to fight.” So I brought an old Egyptian sword and hung it in my flat. It was my tribal sword. Next time I had a panic attack, I saw the machete men, but this time they ran away. I thought, “I’ve got the key now. There’s no need for me to be afraid.” It was a symbolic event, and now I am fearless again. I haven’t had any panic attacks since.
Now I help others who have had similar problems. I see myself as an African psychologist. The modern, European approach is only geared to the body and mind – not the spirit. These things are not clinical – psychiatrists can not cover it; I think us shamans can.”
His story is included in Living with Voices: 50 stories of recovery.
Jim is a Dutch psychiatrist and epidemiologist.
He studied medicine in Amsterdam, psychiatry in Jakarta, Casablanca, Bordeaux and London, and subsequently epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Maastricht University Medical Centre, and visiting professor at the Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, DeCrespigny Park, London, United Kingdom.
In 2009, van Os proposed abolishing the diagnosis of schizophrenia due to lack of validity, and introduced a new syndromal definition, “salience syndrome”, citing previous work by other researchers that explains psychosis as aberrant salience regulation.
Arana is from New Zealand. He Hears voices. Arana is director and principal trainer for Keepwell Ltd in Australia and New Zealand that specializes in delivering experiential learning and recovery-based training to the mental health sector throughout Australasia. Keepwell won a gold award for excellence in mental health training in 2006 and featured in the documentary ‘Just a little Mad?’ which won the media award in 2009 at the Australasian Mental Health Services conference of Australia and New Zealand. He delivers learning programs developed by leading educators in America, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Arana Pearson is an educator, musician and writer who became involved in mental health service sector some years after his own experience of using mental health services in New Zealand. He was the first chairman for the national consumer advisory group in the New Zealand “project to counter stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness” (Like Minds Like Mine). The Mental Health Commission of New Zealand employed Arana from 1999 till 2003 in the role of ‘consumer advisor: Tangata whai ora takawaenga’. From then and currently he delivers training through Keepwell (Aust) Pty Ltd.
Louise from England. She is a voice hearer and survivor activist.
She has a special interest in self-harm as well as voice hearing, visions and other extreme states.
She has written and talked extensively on the subjects of hearing voices and self-harm.
She has produced training tools for professionals and voice hearers including a DVD of her contemporary dance about her voices and an accompanying booklet. This is available from MIND, the important England and Wales mental health charity,.
Pino is from Italy. He was trained in psychotherapy (Jungian analysis and systemic psychotherapy). He has been interested to the holistic approach to the patients balancing medical and psychological knowledge. In the decade between the 80s and the 90s he decided to make a political experience as counsellor in a city borough of Florence. This gave him the possibility to better know the social side of mental health and the general needs of people in the local community. In 1982 he spent 2 months in the USA to train in family therapy, in 1983 he spent one month in France to study the French MH services. In 1984 he began to establish relationships with mental health associations and mental health services in the UK.
He became a member of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) in 1989 and was the founder and the first president of the Italian National Mental Health Association AISMe from 1993. He also served as a Board Member of ERC (European Regional Council) –WFMH from 1993 and Executive Member of ERC-WFMH (now Mental Heath Europe) since 1995.
He has organised many conferences and seminars on self-help in mental health and has published extensively on this topic as well as producing two books.
He has been co-ordinator of the European Project “mental health services evaluation in partnership with users” (Helios 2) and he has been partner of other European projects (DGV) on Advocacy and on Equal Opportunities. Since 2002 he has led an international group named Local Mental Health Systems with the aim to improve new mental health practices in the community based on approaches alternative to the therapeutic models. He has a close collaboration since the early 1980s with the Psychology Department of the Florence University.
Greg is from Perth, West Australia. He the author of ‘Unravel: To Unwell and Back’, a memoir published by Vivid Publishing. He’s also Managing Director of Mental Health WA Pty Ltd, a small business started in 2013 for book sales and delivery of corporate and public presentations on the topic of mental health. His lived experience of psychological trauma, a resultant schizophrenia diagnosis and recovery gives him a strong motive to tell his story.
Greg’s vision is to promote mental health awareness and help others attain healing via adoption of a middle ground harnessing self-belief and individual empowerment. In his presentations, he reveals personal unravelling, hitting rock bottom and a return, with support, to good mental health. He describes the experience of hearing ‘voices’ (in his case internal, inaudible and thought-like) and shares what he terms ‘5 Keys to Recovery and Mental Wellbeing’ – simple, practical recovery suggestions based on his experiences.
Dr. John Read
John Read is from England. He is the Programme Leader of the Clinical Psychology programme at the Institute of Psychology Health and Society, Liverpool University He is a member of the Liverpool Psychosis Research Group, with Richard Bentall, Peter Kinderman, Rhiannon Corcoran, Bill Sellwood and Peter Taylor. One of his main research areas is the causal role of childhood adversity in psychosis.
He is a member of the International Research Committee of INTERVOICE.
In 1994, after twenty years working primarily with people diagnosed ‘schizophrenic’ as a clinical psychologist and manager of mental health services, John took up an academic post in the Clinical Psychology programme at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He has published over 50 research papers – predominantly in the areas of the relationship between adverse life events and psychosis, public attitudes towards ‘mental illness’ and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry in mental health.
John is the coordinating editor of ‘Models of Madness: Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Schizophrenia’ (Routledge, 2004, second edition 2013) which has been translated into Swedish, Spanish, Russian and Chinese. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Society for the Psychological Treatments of Schizophrenia (www.isps.org). John is the Editor of the journal ‘Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches’ (http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rpsy) which publishes first-person accounts of psychosis and of experiences with mental health services, as well as more traditional research.
Sarah is passionate about the Hearing Voices Network (HVN) approach. She first encountered it when supporting a distressed friend who was hearing voices to attend a local group at Mifsa (Mental Illness Fellowship South Australia). Unexpectedly, the group was such a supportive environment with an amazing non-pathologising approach that Sarah stayed on and over time became a co-facilitator. Sarah has personal experience of voice hearing as part of her life as a multiple (she has a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder). She has also experienced hallucinations as part of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and manages the occasional brief psychotic episode. Sarah learned more about the HVN approaches and ideas, and began to apply them more broadly to other experiences of distress.
She studied what worked about the hearing voices groups and used those values to found groups for people struggling with experiences of dissociation, multiplicity, food and/or body image problems, and young same-sex attracted women. Principles of embracing diversity, respectful conversation, freedom to understand your life and to define and pursue your own recovery, and a non-clinical language (ie talking about experiences rather than symptoms) have proved to be highly effective and broadly applicable. Sarah has delivered talks about hearing voices, the HVN approach, and a non-clinical understanding of dissociation and multiplicity here and interstate at conferences such as TheMHS, the Voices Vic conference, and the International Hearing Voices Congress. Sarah is deeply grateful to the many courageous and inspiring people in the HVN, and the frameworks that have encouraged her to understand her experiences in a different light and manage them without fear, shame, or stigma.
She also runs her own small business. She offers face paint, henna art, and more at parties and events around Adelaide (look for me at the Adelaide Zoo in the school holidays!) She also exhibits and works on commissions and projects as an artist and poet. She is a mental health peer worker with many years experience in the field, she now work freelance as a public speaker particularly in the areas of trauma, dissociation, and psychosis.
Sarah is an avid writer and have been keeping a near daily blog called Holding my childhood to ransom, sharing articles, poems, and my personal life for over 3 years. She is a student in a bachelor of visual arts degree, with a passion for everything, but majoring in sculpture. She also uses her business to support several free community resources I’ve founded: The Dissociative Initiative and Homeless Care SA.
She is passionate about animals, the arts, building communities, social justice, and having a good laugh.
Titus Rivas is from the Netherlands. He is a psychologist and philosopher. He co-authored the book “It’s really rather normal” with Tilly Gerritsma.
In the book he gives a concise overview of theories about hallucinations.
He rejects one-sided bio-psychiatric theories and favors alternatives, such as social psychiatry. He stresses the reality and normality of psychic phenomena. In his view people with paranormal experiences have not gone mad.
To be completed.
Ami is a recovered voice hearer from Sweden. She is an activist working as a volunteer with the RMSH, a user led organisation. She works with voice hearer groups and trains mental health professionals in hospitals as well as in community mental health centres. Ami was a member of the INTERVOICE board until 2013.
Professor Marius Romme is from the Netherlands. He is a psychiatrist and regarded as the co founder and principal theorist for the Hearing Voices Movement. He is best known for his work on hearing voices (auditory hallucinations). Marius is the past chair of INTERVOICE and is now its president. Alongside his partner Sandra Escher he has played an invaluable role in the development of the hearing voices approach and has published three seminal works on the topic of hearing voices, Accepting Voices (1993), Making Sense of Voices (2000) and Living with Voices (2009).
Romme studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam, where he also received his PhD in 1967. From 1974 to 1999 he was professor of social psychiatry at the Medical Faculty of the University of Maastricht (Netherlands), as well as consultant psychiatrist at the Community Mental Health Centre in Maastricht. He is now visiting professor at the Mental Health Policy Centre, Birmingham City University in Birmingham, Englanbd.
Romme has stated that schizophrenia “is a harmful concept” and that delusions, hearing voices and hallucinations, so-called “symptoms” of schizophrenia are not related to an illness but may be reactions to traumatic and troubling events in life.
To be completed.
Olga is from Denmark. She is a voice hearer. Olga is a board member of the Danish Psychosocial Rehabilitation network and the Danish organisation for Users and Psychiatric Survivors. She is a co-founder and board member of the Danish Hearing Voices network.
She is an international trainer and speaker as well as writer, campaigner and artist. She sees the hearing voices movement as post-psychiatric, working towards the recognition of human rights while offering hope, empowerment and access to making sense of one’s experiences on an individual level. She has worked extensively with trauma and abuse, voice hearing and other sensory experiences, as well as healing and recovery.
Olga is a certified psychologist with her own practice as well as a psychiatric survivor. She was trained and worked as a psychiatric nurse in social psychiatryShe lives in Copenhagen with her partner and two cats. When she has a spare minute you can usually find her out and about camera in hand photographing.
Maria is from Newport, Gwent in Wales. She helped establish and supports the Visions and Voices group, established in 2010. The group now has up to 15 members who meet every week to support each other.
Wakio is from Japan. He has been the representative of the Hearing Voices Network Japan since 1996.
Wakio has been the president of the Japanese Association of Clinical Psychology since 2005. He is the representative of an NGO named “Linden” for community mental health founded in 1999 based in Konko-cho, Okayama Prefecture, where he lives.
He was born in 1938, majored in educational psychology at Tokyo University and graduated in 1961. He worked at several facilities for juvenile delinquents as a psychologist officer for 9 years. He then changed careers and worked in a psychiatric hospital for 21 years.
After that he studied and worked abroad at the Richmond Fellowship in Britain in a halfway house for community mental health for two and a half years. During this time he had an opportunity to attend the first meeting of the Hearing Voices Network England held in London in 1991. This was a significant opportunity for Wakio as he met Marius Romme, Sandra Escher , Paul Baker and others.
After returning to Japan he translated the article “Hearing Voices” by Marius and Sandra, published in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Psychology. Since then he has been working to promote the hearing voices approach in Japan, organizing the network and meetings, and issuing its newsletters. He has also been working to organize symposia and workshops in the conventions of the Clinical Psychology Association and has written articles and essays about hearing voices on its journals.
In 2000, he helped to organise lectures and meetings by Marius Romme, Sandra Escher and Ron Coleman. In 2002, he attended the 12th World Congress of Psychiatry held in Yokohama, Japan, and helped organise and spoke at symposia re. Hearing Voices attended by Marius Romme, Philip Thomas and other Japanese colleagues. He has attended many INTERVOICE meetings and congresses and has been a long term supporter of the hearing voices movement globally.
To be completed.
Joachim is from Germany. He co-founded the Experienced Focused Counselling Institute as a result of original research by Marius Romme and Sandra Escher. He has been working as an efc counsellor since the year 2000.
In February 2007, he started to work towards a training programme for voice hearing work in Germany in conjunction with Professor Romme (President of Intervoice) & Dr. Escher. As a result the efc Institute came to life in July 2007. His professional background is in mental health nursing (Dip HE in Mental Health Nursing) and in social work (Registered Social Worker). He has got experience in the application of efc counselling in both acute psychiatric settings as well as within community psychiatric settings. He was trained in this approach in 2000. Notably he was supervised and trained amongst others by Ron Coleman (member of Intervoice). He is keeping abreast of current developments through regular contact with Professor Romme & Dr. Escher, Dr Corstens and other Intervoice members.
Chuck is from Austria. He is a long term supporter of INTERVOICE. He helped to found the Austrian Hearing Voices Network based in Lintz. He has been counselling individuals and supporting the voice hearers network, including self help group for over 15 years.
He co-authored “Working with Voices: From Victim to Victor” with Ron Coleman.
A champion of recovery since his early days of working as a psychiatric nurse, (in 1997 Mike was awarded the UK Nurse of the Year), Mike has also held executive board level posts within the NHS and non Government sector in the UK.
Mike is a regular conference speaker and is also noted for his challenges of the traditional psychiatric orthodoxy, coupled with guidance and practical tools for values based practice.
Mike has worked as a consultant for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a number of countries developing community based and owned mental health services and has written widely on the process of recovery from mental illness.
She is part of the Hearing Voices Movement and the setting up a Hearing Voices Group in Trafford, Manchester to increase awareness of the Hearing Voices Movement Approach and access to groups for Black and Minority Ethnic individuals. She has a particular interest in bringing people together from African and African Caribbean communities to look at the Hearing Voices Movement Approach and its relevance to Hearing Voices rooted in traumatic experiences.
Olatunde hasover 25 years experience of working with community groups and individuals which include a wide variety of groups and projects e.g. Work with children and parents on drug and alcohol misuse initiative, work with Young Lesbian and Bisexual Women, work with parents of Black children living in isolation, work with Tate Liverpool Education Dept to increase Black Audience Participation and delivery of Community Development courses.
She is a qualified Community Development Worker and Art Psychotherapist. She has a specific interest in working with ‘racialised’ groups and the impact of racism on people’s daily lives in relation to trauma and mental health.
Brigitte Soucy is from Quebec, Canada. Inspired by the achievements of the international voice hearers movement she created, co-hosted and collaborated in the research of a “Living with voices” program supporting voice hearers to gain authority and to act constructively with their voices.
She produced the synopsis, interviews and selection of DVD interviews on the expereinces of voice hearers: “Living with the voices.” Soucy is as a trainer and speaker in the network of health and social services in Quebec called Les Pavois” the organisation actively contributes to the developemtn voice hearers groups, recovery and has helped to create Hearing Voices Network in Quebec.
William Van Staalen
Willem is from the Netherlands. He is a long standing member of the hearing voices movement. He is the foster-father of Irene van de Giessen, who is a former voice hearer (you can read Irene’s biography here). Willem has suppoerted his foster daughter for many years in her journey of recovery.
(to be added)
Chis is from England. He was a worker for the Hearing Voices Network’s national office in Manchester. He is a a psychotherapist and undertakes group and individual work with voice hearers.
(to be added)
Karen is from Scotland. Karen is Director of ‘Working to Recovery Ltd, alongside Ron Coleman. Karen and Ron are passionate that recovery is for all, including workers, and together they travel the world, telling their story of recovery and spreading a message based on hope, engaging with mental health services, carers and service users and challenging them to review their roles and embrace recovery for all.
She is trained as an Registered Mental Health Nurse with 16 years experience in the NHS in England with both older people and adults of working age. Karen has personal experience of designing, implementing and managing innovative community care services. After leaving the NHS, Karen managed the company ‘Keepwell Ltd’ for 2 years, where she ran a psychosis resolution service based on recovery and co-authored the workbook, ‘Working to Recovery’.
Karen has also been involved in introducing Recovery Training into the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Palestine, Denmark and Italy as well as throughout the United Kingdom.
Caroline is from Germany. She has been a long term supporter of INTERVOICE. She is a supported trainer of the Expereinced Focused Counselling Institute. She is a member of the hearing voices network in Germany, and in 2006, she was commissioned to implementate basic training in the hearing voices apporach by the Hearing Voices Network in Germany. Her background is inclinical psychology and mental health crisis support.
She is being trained in her work with voice hearers by Professor Romme & Dr. Escher. She has been a guest speaker affiliated with the EFC Training Institute since July 2007. She also works with the Normal Difference Group in Nairobi, Kenya.
Phil Thomas is from Wales and lives in England. He is a long time supporter of the hearing voices movement. After working as a full-time consultant psychiatrist in the NHS for over twenty years, Philip left clinical practice in 2004 to write. He has published over 100 scholarly papers, and works in alliance with survivors of psychiatry, service users and community groups, nationally and internationally. He is a founder member and former co-chair of the Critical Psychiatry Network. His first book, Dialectics of Schizophrenia was published by Free Association books in 1997, and he has co-authored two other books, Voices of Reason Voices of Insanity with Ivan Leudar, and most recently Postpsychiatry, with Pat Bracken. Until recently he was professor of philosophy, diversity and mental health in the University of Central Lancashire, and is now an honorary visiting professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities in the University of Bradford. He is currently working on two books, one about critical psychiatry and another about madness, meaning and culture.
Ros is from Australia. She has worked in Psychosocial Rehabilitation for many years and commenced at Gateway Community Health as the Young Peoples Psychosocial Rehabilitation Worker in 2002. Her role was to plan, develop, implement and evaluate a Youth specific Program.
In the early 1990’s Ros had to take up the challenge of adapting to change with the introduction of de-institutionalization. She drew on her experiences in the development of the Groovers Mode. In 2008 Ros was introduced to the hearing voices approach and found this very effective in working with young people.
Robin is from the Netherlands. He is a voice hearer. He founded the Hearing Voices Support Centre, RIBW Nijmegen, Rivierenland. Robin is a Mental Health Care Teacher at Hogeschool Arnhem Nijmegen, Nijmegen. He is co-editor of the Klankspiegel, the magazine of the Dutch HVN Weerklank.
He is a psychologist and assistant professor at the Department of Social Work, Stockholm University. He also works as head of the Department of Research and Development at Psychiatry South, Stockholm. His career has included work as a family therapist, supervisor and psychologist in both social work and psychiatry, as well as experience working as a journalist.
He was involved in the closure of Stockholm’s two mental hospitals and also contributed to the development of social alternatives to these institutions.
Most recently he has been conducting research into the recovery process of people with severe mental problems, the coping strategies of people hearing voices and the role of social conditions and relationships in mental health and recovery.
Ron Unger is from Eugene, Oregon, USA. He is a therapist and educator specializing in psychological approaches to experiences such as hearing voices, paranoia, and distressing thoughts and beliefs, with a special interest in the relationships between “psychosis,” trauma, and spirituality. He is also an activist for human rights within mental health treatment.
He leads a group called “Coping with Voices and Paranoia” which uses a cognitive therapy for psychosis approach.
Rachel (Rai) is from England. She is an independent consultant and trainer on hearing voices, trauma and related issues. She was the manager of the London Hearing Voices Project at Mind in Camden, developing innovative projects to support children & young people who hear voices, pioneering Hearing Voices Groups for people in prison and developing a London-wide network of Paranoia Peer Support Groups.
She is a trustee of the National Hearing Voices Network, ISPS UK and a member of Intervoice’s International Research Committee. Rai an independent trainer, a media spokesperson and is currently studying an MSc in Research Methods for Psychological Practice at Westminster University.
Rai hears voices, herself, and has spent more than 14 years in the psychiatric system wearing a variety of labels. Since first hearing about the Hearing Voices Movement in 2001, her life has transformed. She no longer sees herself as ‘severely and enduringly mentally ill’, but as a creative survivor of trauma. She views her voices, visions and beliefs as meaningful, albeit distressing, experiences. She lives a life that she loves, and feels lucky to do so.
Amanda is from Perth, Australia. She is a voice hearer. She was the coordinator of the Hearing Voices Network West Australia from 2012 -to 2014. She was also also a senior recovery trainer with the Richmond Fellowship of West Australia. She is now an independent trainer and consultant.
She has written an excellent song about voice hearing called “Amanda’s Dance” that she recorded with her musical partner Daniel Habermann. You can hear the song and also listen to a short radio interview on Hearing Voices that Amanda recently took part in here
Amanda says of the experience:
” Most of my voices did not like me writing, singing or recording that particular song but I did it anyway because it is a good song and a lot of voice hearers need hope, and it has helped so many already to find some.”
Anne Walton is from England. She hears voices. Anne was one of the founder members of the Manchester Hearing Voices Group and the National Hearing Voices Network based in Manchester. Anne was a trainer and peer support facilitator. Ron Coleman says of Anne: “Anne Walton, a fellow voice hearer, who at my first hearing voices group, asked me if I heard voices. When I replied that I did, she told me that they were real. It does not sound like much, but that one sentence has been a compass for me showing me the direction I needed to travel and underpinning my belief in the recovering process”.
Anne is a pioneer.
Bill was from England. He was a voice hearer. He was active in the hearing voices movement. He was an inspiration to us all.
John is from Australia. He wrote the seminal work “Hearing Voices: A Common Human Experience” first published in 1998 (second edition 2008). In the book he ventures beyond conventional psychiatric therapies whose sole aim is symptom eradication to explore ways of working creatively with voices and other inner experiences to foster personal growth, healing and recovery.
For many years John worked as a registered psychiatric nurse before moving into private practice as a counsellor, independent researcher, and mental health educator. The fact that “psychiatry” literally means “healing of the soul” has served as a personal beacon for over three decades, during which time he has written several books applying holistic principles to treatment, healing, and recovery.
His latest book Unshrinking Psychosis draws upon the long tradition in which acute psychosis has been viewed as a state of profound mental and/or spiritual “dis-ease” rather than as a disease in the conventional medical sense.
Gavin founded the group with his mother Pat Webster.
They employ a coordination and development worker and a support worker to develop their befriending and mentoring service.
HaVeN runs self-help groups, activities and volunteering to promote independence and increase confidence among its members.
The charity is led and guided by the people who use the service.
“I first started hearing voices 17 years ago when I was 28. The hallucinations came first and gradually the voices followed. I went to the psychiatrist who gave me medication and basically told me that was all he could do to help.
I started the Hearing Voices Network with my mum, Pat, a couple of years later and, over the years, thousands of people with a range of mental health issues have come in looking for help.”
Pat is from Dundee, Scotland. She is the the mother of Gavin Webster, a voice hearer. She is a psychiatric nurse, she began the evolution of Dundee Hearing Voices Network in 1997 mainly to support her son and to fill a gap in services for voice-hearers.
What started as a vision soon became a plan then a strategy. Pat was supported by a small group of helpers, most of whom are still around today.
This work led to the establishment of HaVeN a centre for people who hear voices based in the city centre of Dundee. Pat was the coordinator until her retirement.
Marlene is from Austria. She was on one of the founders of the Austrian Hearing Voices Network based in Lintz. Marlene is a clinical psychologist and worked alongside Chuck Schneider in developing the hearing voices approach within their organisation Exit Sozial.
Anneli is from Sweden. She has a daughter who hears voices. She has spent a lot of time gathering knowledge about this issue. She is also active in the local political community as a representative for the voice hearing organisations.
Along with Ami Rohnitz and Siv Wetterberg she is co-chair of “RSMH ROSTRATT”, an organisation representing voice hearers, professionals and family members.
She works hard to start new groups and lecture about hearing voices regularly all over the country.
Siv is from Sweden She supports the the voice hearing group in Stockholm. She is a gestalt therapist and works with voices using a therapeutic approach. She has been trained by Marius Romme & Sandra Escher.
By profession she is a community psychiatric nurse working with people aged 14-35 experiencing first episode psychosis.
Jayne is from Wales. She is a Hearing Voices Group Facilitator in Neath/Port Talbot. Jayne has worked in Mental Health since 1997. Jayne began as a support worker in an out of hours team/crisis team up until 2008 when she qualified as a Mental Health Nurse. Jayne has worked within the community as a Community Psychiatric Nurse and within an inpatient care setting. Jayne is currently the Ward Manager at Ward F, an acute inpatient unit at Neath Port Talbot Hospital. Jayne has taken the lead on developing sustainable recovery philosophies and culture changes within the ward environment.
Jon was from England. He was a voice hearer. He was one of the founder members of the first hearing voices support group to be established in the UK. He became a key figure in the establishment and development of the Hearing Voices Network in England.
He was well known for his sense of humour and published a booklet entitled “Life: a humorous perspective”. In 2003 he published a paper entitled “The Use of Humour and Other Coping Strategies”International Journal of Narrative Therapy & Community Work, Volume 2003 Issue 3 (2003) In the paper he showed how everyone’s experience of hearing voices is different. He described the ways in which he had come to live with the voices he hears and how humour plays a vital part. This paper also described a number of creative coping strategies as well as discussing the influential work of the Hearing Voices Network.
Ron Coleman recalled “Now I hear Jon Williams’ voice cracking some one-line joke that would get us all laughing even though sometimes it wasn’t so funny. Jon just had that effect on us.”
He died of a heart attack in 2006.
He will be remembered with great affection by many people throughout the world. In particular he will be held in great respect for his stewardship of HVN through some of its most difficult years.
Angela is from England. She is a supporter of the hearing voices movement. She is Co-Director of Hearing the Voice, a three-year interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing funded by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award.
Her research interests include the interplay between theoretical and subjective accounts of psychotic experience; new modes of ‘doing interdisciplinarity’ (such as critical neuroscience); narrative identity; and the role of narrative in the medical humanities. She is the founder and editor of the Centre for Medical Humanities blog, to which she regularly contributes.
Jeannette is from the Netherlands. She is a voice hearer and a psychosocial therapist who works mostly with children and young adults. Their problems can involve the hearing of voices or psychotic experiences. To assist her in this work she has completed training courses in a number of therapies including art therapy, hypnotherapy as well as body-oriented psychotherapy.
Furthermore, she gives training to different healthcarers, as well as coaching/courses with parents to enable them to assist their children in a more positive manner. Beside therapy she gives training and workshops for therapist and pedagogic courses for parents.
Barrie Wylie lives in Northern Ireland. Barrie hears voices. He is also a firm supporter and member of the Hearing Voices Movement.
Barry was diagnosed with “Treatment Resistant Paranoid Schizophrenia with Bi-Polar Disorder and Adult ADHD”. He says of INTERVOICE it was the first time he had ever heard of the prospect of taking ownership of his voices, his life and the concept of recovery.
Barrie first joined INTERVOICE not long after his last discharge from hospital. He was deperately seeking support for intense voices. He was unaware of the concept of taking ownership of these voices. He still hears many voices including one that speaks to him in a foreign language. However, he is now proud to say he is friends with his voices and has complete ownership of them and furthermore they no longer impact on his life in a negative way.
Thanks to the support of all at INTERVOICE and the Hearing Voices Movement in just over a year Barrie was discharged from Psychiatry. This was after spending about 16 years in and out of services. This occurred after working closely with his psychiatric team and talking to them about the work of the Hearing Voices Movement. With hard work and determination Barrie proved to them that he had enough insight and understanding to manage his own life independently.
Barrie now co-directs several international social media sites alongside his partner Lilly Rush.He is Director of the ‘Positive Mental Health Support Group’ which is an international social media site focused on mental health recovery. The Face book Discussion Group can be found here and there is also a Positive Mental Health Support Group page here. He set this group up as a place for people to share information regarding mental health issues. This enables people to learn coping strategies from one another and to become friends, whilst most importantly having a little fun and laughter along the way. The intention is to inspire group members to move on and live independent and extremely successful lives.
Barrie was inspired to create and manage his Positive Mental Health Support Group after he experienced the benefits of online support from the Intervoice site.
He is Admin/Manager at ;
1) Mad Pride International
2) Online Schizophrenia
4) Hearing Voices Online
5) Stop the Psychiatric Drugging of Children
6) World Hearing Voices Congress (2012)
7) ADEU- Association
8) Positive Mental Health (ART & POETRY) Support Group
9) Positive Mental Health (MUSICAL MADNESS) Support Group
10) Positive Mental Health (Metal Music) Support Group
He is a member of many other online groups such as the International Peer Support Network and the International Mental Health Collaboration Network.
Barrie works closely with many members of the Hearing Voices Network worldwide and alongside Ron Coleman and Karen Taylor of Working to Recovery in order to encourage and promote the message that ‘recovery is possible from the most serious mental illnesses’.
Barry met his partner Lilly for the first time when she responded to his first post on the INTERVOICE social media support site. He would like to thank Lilly from the bottom of his heart for being his rock and ultimately the backbone to his recovery. Also for teaching him what it is to experience love again, not only for others but also for himself.
He learned from Lilly, Ron and all at the Hearing Voices Movement that people can take ownership of their lives, their voices/ experiences and move on to live full independent lives without the need for psychiatric support.
You can read Barrie’s story in his own words here