Traditional Western psychological approaches to working with voice-hearers have viewed voices, visions, or unusual beliefs or “delusions” purely as pathology or symptoms of psychiatric illness, and typically teach voice-hearers to ignore them. The Hearing Voices approach encourages a sense of curious engagement towards voices, as you would connect with someone you were getting to know. “People frequently do change their understanding [of voices, visions, beliefs] when they have a place where they can explore the context of the experience,” said Cindy Marty Hadge, lead trainer with the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community.Read More
In a time where social distancing is being strongly encouraged in the U.S. and other countries, Hearing Voices Network-USA trainers Caroline Mazel-Carlton and Cindy Marty Hadge from the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community (WMRLC) are helping to coordinate national efforts to ensure that voice hearers and their loved ones have uninterrupted access to life-giving mutual support and connection.
“Having the Foundation’s support has allowed us to expand our online offerings,” Mazel-Carlton told EXCELLENCE. Mazel-Carlton and Hadge helped to support the formation of some of the first online Hearing Voices groups in America, including a new Family and Friends online support group that began last year. Now, the Hearing Voices Network in the USA is quickly ramping up online offerings in response to COVID-19, thanks to the efforts of Hadge, Mazel-Carlton, and others.Read More
The Hearing Voices movement began in Europe in the late 1980s when Marius Romme, a psychiatrist, realized that his training and therapeutic techniques were not helping one of his patients to manage the voices in her head. In listening to Patsy Hage, Romme began to wonder if maybe other voice-hearers might be in a better position to help her than he was. His hunch turned out to be correct, and the Hearing Voices Network (HVN) was co-founded by Romme and Hage in 1987.
The HVN is a peer-to-peer, nonclinical support group based on the radical idea that voice-hearing is not automatically a sign of pathology. Unlike traditional methods that encourage voice hearers not to engage with or listen to their voices, the HVN takes the opposite approach: voice-hearers are encouraged to explore and discover for themselves what their voices mean. The groups also provide social support and acceptance– something that is vitally important given the social distancing and isolation often reported by voice hearers. And the groups offer practical strategies for living with and managing voices.Read More
The written interview transcript is below, edited for clarity:Read More