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April 10, 2017 by Gina Nikkel, PhD, President & CEO

Hearing Voices Network USA training in Atlanta

Gina Nikkel, PhD and Gail Hornstein, PhD in Atlanta at the April 5 panel discussion “What can we learn from people who hear voices?”

As President and CEO for The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care (FEMHC) I have to admit that I get to participate in some life changing meetings and meet extraordinary people. This past week was no exception.

Caroline Mazel White and Marty Hadge from Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community (WMRLC) conducted the seventh in a series of Hearing Voices Facilitators’ Trainings across the United States funded through FEMHC by a generous donor. This time in Atlanta. This is a stellar curriculum designed and perfected by Jacqui Dillion from the UK, Gail A. Hornstein, Psychology Professor from Mount Holyoke College, Sera Davidow, Caroline Mazel White, and Marty Hadge from WMRLC among many other contributors. The curriculum is nothing short of spectacular. I say this because I have had the privilege of developing a relationship with many people who hear voices over the past 30 years as a therapist, elected official, professor, and mental health/leadership administrator. I’ve also had the privilege of attending trainings and spending time with the trainers as well as many participants.

Hearing Voices Network group meetings are a safe place where people who hear voices can learn from their own experiences and support others in understanding voices and choosing their own resolutions. The curriculum for the facilitators’ training is specific and detailed and just as informative for the voice hearer as it is for the non voice hearer wanting to understand and support those who hear voices.

Jacqui Dillon is a voice hearer from London who has suffered a great deal of horrific trauma in her life. She is a writer, campaigner, international speaker and trainer who has transformed her experiences into a platform that should win a Nobel Peace Prize. I have to admit I was very excited to meet her in person and spend some quality time with her. You can learn more about Jacqui at www.jacquidillon.org. I was not disappointed.

Jacqui has taken her voice hearing experiences and helped initiate a movement that has the power to change the world. Many people think that hearing voices is a sign of illness. We have the opportunity to learn that hearing voices is a coping mechanism to deal with trauma. Catch more of Jacqui soon on the BBC. If you ever have a chance to hear her speak, do not hesitate.

Dr. Gail A. Hornstein is an author as well as a psychology professor who has spent many years studying the voice hearing phenomenon and has led the development of a research tool, along with Jacqui, to better understand what voice hearers gain from sharing their experiences in this setting. If you’ve never read Dr. Hornstein’s Agnes Jacket, do it! Learn more about Gail at www.gailhornstein.com.

At the end of each Hearing Voices Facilitators’ Training, there is a community meeting so the public can come and learn about voice hearing, the training, and find out how to connect. While the Atlanta public meeting was challenged by floods, tornado warnings, and lightening storms, people still came out to hear a little of Jacqui, Caroline, and Marty’s story and learn about how Dr. Hornstein and I are supporting this effort.

Stay tuned for some inspiring and informative guest articles written by people in the Hearing Voices movement. Help us support more trainings and meetings around the United States by donating to the Hearing Voices Research and Development Fund.

Together we are creating a culture of recovery!

 

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Gina-Nikkel-profileAn Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Oregon Health and Sciences University, Gina served as Executive Director of the Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs for 11 years before taking the helm of EXCELLENCE as President and CEO. She has worked extensively in mental health and addictions policy, leadership and management, health care financing and political advocacy. As a Community Mental Health Therapist, Adolescent Program Director and Clinical Supervisor, she brings experience in all aspects of community mental health. Gina’s public service includes two terms as a Tillamook County Commissioner and Vice-President of the Association of Oregon Counties. She has a BA in Theatre and Dance and an MS in counseling from Portland State University and a PhD in Special Education focusing on social public policy and leadership from the University of Oregon. gina@mentalhealthexcellence.org
Gina Nikkel, PhD

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