Adapted from the Charter developed by HVN England

While there may be other groups that address the experience of hearing voices and other unusual or extreme experiences in some way, not all of those groups are members of the Hearing Voices Network (HVN) USA.  Above all else, what defines a group as an HVN-USA Member is whether or not they operate in a way that is consistent with HVN values and approach.  This Charter, adapted from the hard work and careful thought of many individuals connected with HVN England, identifies the qualities that define both affiliated and full group membership within HVN-USA.  Only groups that clearly state that they follow the terms of this Charter will be listed on this site or considered to be HVN-USA members.



Affiliated groups meet all the most basic terms of HVN groups, but not the additional terms required for full group membership.

  • Ethos of self-help
  • Ethos of mutual respect, support and empathy
  • Acceptance that voices, visions, tactile sensations and other unusual or extreme experiences are real
  • Acceptance that people are not less for having voices, visions, tactile sensations and other unusual or extreme experiences
  • Attendance is completely voluntary and self-determined 
  • Primary focus is sharing experiences - no more, no less  
  • No assumption of illness
  • Freedom to interpret experiences in any way
  • Freedom to challenge social norms
  • Freedom to talk about anything, not just voices and visions
  • Not a 'treatment program'
  • Social group not clinical group
  • No clinical pressure on facilitator to report back on attendance, participation, etc.
  • No one expert; All are experts
  • Ordinary, common language is used
  • No discharge process
  • No risk assessment
  • Confidentiality within group is maintained as much as possible
  • Group is aware of any limits to confidentiality
  • Working towards fulfilling criteria for full membership



Full HVN-USA groups meet all the most basic terms listed above, in addition to also operating separately from clinical settings and other aspects as listed below.

  •  No referral needed 
  • Group is a community to which people belong    
  • Members join for as long as it suits them    
  • Group open to people not using services    
  • Group open to people from other geographical areas    
  • Group does not meet within a clinical setting    
  • Ethos of accepting people as they are    
  • Group is not a form of treatment to make people better    
  • Group decides limits to confidentiality  
  • Equality between everyone in the group  
  • Decisions are made by all the group together
  • Problems are worked out within the group    
  • Responsibility lies primarily with the group not the facilitator  
  • Aim is for the group to become run by individuals who have lived experience