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OurVoicesRaised.org is a project supported by the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Healthcare’s Hearing Voices Research and Development Fund, partnered with voice hearers from the Western Mass RLC.

The fund has already sponsored the training of over 100 Hearing Voices group facilitators in 5 states across the nation. With 90 groups currently listing themselves here on HearingVoicesUSA.org, the next phase of our project wants to answer the question “Why are Hearing Voices groups so useful for voice hearers?” That’s where the survey comes in.

OurVoicesRaised survey flyer

If you’re a voice hearer, have taken part in a Hearing Voices group and are 18 years or older, please consider sharing your knowledge and experience. To learn more about it, check us out at OurVoicesRaised.org. There, you’ll find the survey and a brand new community created to provide a space for groups to network and for all of us to share our stories!

web linksThere are now ONLINE opportunities to connect, share experiences, and find mutual support! 


WHEN: Every Monday and Sunday, 7PM to 8:30pm Eastern / 4PM to 5:30pm Pacific


HOW: These groups use the ZOOM meeting platform which is free to download on computers and Smartphones. Call-in option is also available.


WHO: These groups are specifically for those with personal lived experience with hearing voices, seeing visions, and/or negotiating alternative realities.  They are voice-hearer facilitated.


CONTACT: With further questions and for details on how to access the group please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hearing Voices Facilitator trainings are intended to prepare interested individuals to start or sustain Hearing Voices groups in their areas.  Four Day trainings will provide additional practice for facilitation, Voice Dialogue technique and support from international trainer.

4-day Hearing Voices Group Facilitator Training - South Hadley, Massachusetts: with Caroline Mazel-Carlton and Marty Hadge. December 12th to December 15th 2017 (application deadline is November 10th). Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for an application or with additional questions! Or click here for a PDF version or here for a Word version!

3-day Hearing Voices Group Facilitator Training - Columbus, Ohio: with Caroline Mazel-Carlton and Marty Hadge. January 13th to January 15th, 2018.  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for an application or with additional questions!

4-day Hearing Voices Group Facilitator Training - St. Paul, Minnesota: with Caroline White and Marty Hadge.  February 19th to February 22nd.  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for an application or with additional questions.

 

We are pleased to announce that our most recent open call for new Board Members has resulted in eight new people joining our group!

They include:HVN USA bod resize1

▪ Andrea Easton - Massachusetts
▪ Berta Britz - Pennsylvania
▪ Jeannie Bass - Massachusetts
▪ Lisa Planting - California
▪ Noel Hunter - New York
▪ Susan Grubb - New York
▪ Teressa Ford - Georgia
▪ Tim Ness - Colorado

They join the following existing members:

▪ Brenda Hammond - Idaho
▪ Francisco Gonzalez - Rhode Island
▪ Lisa Forestell - Massachusetts
▪ Oryx Cohen - Massachusetts
▪ Patrick Hayes - Illinois
▪ Sera Davidow - Massachusetts

Along with our international representatives:

▪ Peter Bullimore - United Kingdom
▪ Rachel Waddingham - United Kingdom

Want to learn more about the Board members? Read their bios here!

Initially, we had really hoped to further diversify our geographical representation. However, applications continued to lean heavily toward the Northeast and so the Board collectively decided to prioritize active energy to participate above geography for this round. Although geographic representation is critical, right now we're at a stage where building energy and momentum is the most essential next step and we hope that geographic diversity will follow.

That said, a couple of spots remain open, and the Board has determined that it will only accept applicants from outside of the Northeast for the foreseeable future.

Interested applicants can apply here.

 

International Consultants:

 

Berta Britz

Berta Britz2Berta Britz works as a certified peer specialist at Creating Increased Connections through Education and Support (CIC) in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, part of Resources for Human Development (RHD).   She is strongly committed to promoting acceptance of the experience of hearing voices; and her ministry, “Hearing Voices and Healing,” is supported by Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.  She participated in World Hearing Voices Congresses in England, Wales, Italy, Australia, and Greece, took a Voice Dialogue Course in England, as well as many conferences in USA, like Mindfreedom International (MFI), International Society for Psychological and Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS), and Copeland Center.  Her commitment to developing different responses to early anomalous, or “psychotic” experiences, stems from her lived experience of psychiatric treatment since 1967, when she left her senior year of high school for many hospitalizations, two of which were lengthy. Berta earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980, and worked primarily with young children and adolescents. After many years on disability Berta reclaimed her power and connection by accepting and making sense of her voices by using a World Hearing Voices Network approach. She helped develop and now coordinates the Montgomery County Hearing Voices Network which offers systems and community education and seven Taking Back Our Power Hearing Voices self-help/peer support groups, two of which are designed specifically for young people.  She started a new voices learning community group and offers training and consultation. She envisions a trauma-informed, transformed human service system that listens to and values every person and every voice and promotes more equitable distribution of knowledge and resources.  She experiences much joy with her dog, Sheba, and her partner, Mona.  Mona and Berta recently married after over 36 years together.

 

Brenda Hammond

brenda hammond 1Brenda Hammond is an LCSW who lives in Northern Idaho and has been facilitating a Voice Hearers group since 2010. Her interest in hearing voices and other unusual experiences began in the early 90’s when her oldest daughter began having such episodes. Then her youngest daughter, who is a mental health clinician in Australia, heard Jacqui Dillon speak at a conference about the Hearing Voices movement in the UK. She sent for books and information and then started a group in Idaho with several of her own clients plus several others in the community. The group is still going—some people have come and gone—and some of the original group still attend weekly. There is a real scarcity of mental health services in Northern Idaho, and she is hoping that she can help recruit others who will start groups in other places. She can see how much the peer support is helpful, and wants very much to help provide that kind of support for individudals who are isolated by their experiences and by the societal stigma that exists around hearing voices—even among mental health providers. Brenda attended the Maastricht Interview training in MA last October—and hopes that trainings like that as well as facilitator training can be offered in other parts of the country.

 

 

Jeannie Bass

jeannieJeannie Bass is a peer specialist who works for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health at Tewksbury Hospital on the continuing care units. From within DMH she is able to share the Hearing Voices Network approach and her own experiences of hearing voices and other phenomenon with people staying on the inpatient units. She is also in the process of starting two HVN groups, one of which will be at the hospital. In addition, she takes every opportunity to share about HVN with her colleagues through presentations and continuous conversations.

Much of Jeannie’s life revolved around going in and out of the mental health system. After “falling down the rabbit hole”, she existed in a barrage of voices, unshared beliefs and other unusual experiences. It was a long, often strange journey until she found her way out and the strength to accept her voices as a part of her every day world. When Jeannie discovered Intervoice online she realized she was not alone which was life altering.

Jeannie is excited about joining the Hearing Voices Network-USA board of directors. She looks forward to being a part of furthering the hearing voices movement and hopes to contribute to the growth of HVN throughout the United Sates. She lives on the North Shore in Massachusetts where she can often be found reading Anais Nin, collecting sea glass or spending time with family and friends.

 

Kate Hill

Kate Hill 1Kate is the director of Portland Hearing Voices (portlandhearingvoices.net), an educator of Hearing Voices group facilitation and philosophy, an international speaker, consultant, artist and writer.  She is studying psychology at both Portland State University and the Process Work Institute in Portland, Oregon.

From the age of sixteen, Kate has worked and volunteered in the mental health arena.  She has found that many of her experiences, which are commonly seen as symptoms of mental illness have, in actuality, been great sources of strength, hope, creativity and meaning, and have been essential in her personal process of growth and discovery. 

Kate’s focuses include neuropsychology, anthropology, ecopsychology, the arts, spirituality, social and sexual health.  Her hope is to facilitate communities that promote education and awareness, freedom of expression, financial independence and healthy relationships.  She is committed to the idea of preventative psychological health, particularly within marginalized communities.

In her personal life, Kate finds joy through dance, travel and exploration, cooking and eating delicious food and in playing games with friends.  She finds peace in nature and in her garden, through reading and writing, and in spending time with her animals and in her meditation practices.

 

Lisa Forestell

Lisa Forestell resizeLisa has always heard voices that others do not. Contrary to the oft held belief that voices are always negative and/or directive, Lisa lives in relative harmony with her voices much as family or intimate friends. It was being besieged with disapproving and marginalizing messages from those around her upon entering public schools that Lisa closeted her relationship with her voices. In the years that followed, Lisa maintained her private dialogs while negotiating college, having a family and experiencing the seemingly tireless pull of the US mental health system. Upon learning of the Hearing Voices Network, Lisa began to live out loud once again and is now an active member of the movement worldwide. She openly speaks of her experience, facilitates and attends HVN groups and is a trainer with HVN-USA and the Western Mass RLC. Lisa is the Director of Community Supports for the Western Mass RLC and resides in Dalton, MA with her fiancé and 4 cats. She loves camping, live music and adventures of all sorts.

 

 

Noel Hunter

Noel Hunter resizeNoel Hunter is a clinical psychology doctoral student, focusing on psychosocial approaches to working with individuals experiencing anomalous states. In addition to being a student, she has also worked as an adjunct professor teaching a recovery model to both undergraduate and graduate students. She has published and presented papers on the link between trauma and severe emotional distress, stigma and negative attitudes towards those with a psychiatric label, and the need for recognition of states of extreme distress as meaningful responses to overwhelming life experiences. It is because of her own recovery journey and difficulties within the mental health system that Noel has formed such a deep passion for creating alternatives and working with others to forge change in mainstream services. She has served as the Chair of the Experts-by-Experience committee of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS) and as Co-Chair of the Mentorship Committee of the Trauma Psychology division of APA. In New York City, she has worked with several other dedicated volunteers to create an HVN community and increase awareness of the non-illness-based philosophy and messages about the voice-hearing experience. Additionally, she enjoys regularly studying and performing improvisational and musical comedy, and believes humor to be her most essential coping tool.

 

 

 Oryx Cohen

Oryx resizeOryx Cohen, M.P.A., is a leader in the international mental health consumer/survivor/ex-patient (c/s/x) movement. Currently he is the Director of the National Empowerment Center's (NEC's) Technical Assistance Center. In addition to organizing the national Alternatives Conference every three years and other responsibilities, he assists states that have an underdeveloped consumer/survivor voice to find that voice and then work 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, the Pioneer Valley's only 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 is featured in Agnes's Jacket, a book by Gail Hornstein, where Oryx and fellow Freedom Center co-founder Will Hall are compared to the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Oryx serves on several boards and committees internationally, nationally and regionally, including the Hearing Voices Network USA. He speaks and conducts trainings internationally on such topics as Emotional CPR, Hearing Voices, Trauma, and Recovery. Oryx volunteered for several years with MindFreedom International, directing its Oral History Project. This project involved collecting and documenting c/s/x stories of abuse, empowerment, and healing in the mental health system. Oryx is also adjunct faculty in the Westfield State College Psychology Department.

 

 sdavidow resizeSera Davidow is a mother, an advocate, an activist and a film lover and maker. She devotes much of her time to the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community (www.westernmassrlc.org), which includes Afiya (www.afiyahouse.org), the 13th Peer Respite in the United States.  She is also an avid writer and regular blogger on Mad in America (www.MadinAmerica.com).  

Sera herself entered the mental health system as a teenager and cites ‘non-compliance’ as a part of what saved her from a very different path through life that surely would not have included the freedom she now enjoys from all psychiatric labels and medications.  Her passion for the Hearing Voices Movement has grown out of that experience in that its very foundation is steeped in making room for many different beliefs, experiences and approaches to healing and moving forward.

 

 

 

Terresa Ford

Terresa is a native of Buffalo, New York. After receiving a BFA in painting from the SUNY College at Brockport, she continued and earned a MFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. selfie on terresaShe is also the product of 10 years of study at the free school, MollyOlga Art School (a.k.a. Locust street Neighborhood Art Classes), in Western NY.

She has been a voice hearer for most of her life. For almost two years she has provided assistance to peers in creating the life they want to live as a Certified Peer Specialist. She currently works as a Certified Peer Specialist at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. She facilitates wellness groups and works one on one with peers to assist them in reaching their goals. She finds it extremely rewarding and challenging. Work has always been a source of pride and accomplishment for Terresa. As a CPS, work has taken on new meaning. She has more than a sense of pride and accomplishment; she has a sense of purpose. Her purpose now is to assist her fellow peers in creating the life they want. When she witnesses their struggles she is humbled and when she sees their successes she is filled with hope.

 

 

 

 

International Consultants

 

Pete Bullimore

Peter Bullimore Pink ShirtThe chair of the Paranoia Network, Pete Bullimore, is testament to how effective these methods can be. Pete heard his first voice aged seven, after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a child minder. "I heard a child's voice telling me to keep going, that everything would be OK. It was reassuring, a bit like an imaginary friend," he says. But as the abuse went on the voices increased in number, eventually turning sinister and aggressive. "They told me to set myself on fire, to slash myself and destroy myself, often 20 or 30 voices all shouting at me at once," he says. By his mid-twenties Pete had lost his business, his family, his home, everything. "The voices just encompassed my life; I curled up in a chair and didn't wash or eat. "I was locked in a world of voices, paranoia and depression, and it was probably the most frightening time of my life," he says. Pete spent more than a decade after that on heavy medication, but the voices never went away. He had to get out of the psychiatric system to recover. It was only when he came off the medication and met people who share his experience that he was able to stop being so afraid of the voices and actually start listening to them. He changed his relationship with his voices and worked through the meaning of his paranoia. Life isn't easy. Pete still hears up to 40 voices at a time - it is worse when he is tired or stressed. But he has rebuilt his life and has even been hearing a more positive voice recently, which has dictated a children's book to him. It has recently been published, titled "A Village Called Pumpkin". He now runs his own training and consultancy agency delivering training on hearing voices childhood trauma and paranoia internationally. He also currently teaches at eight Universities in the UK. "I wouldn't want to get rid of my voices now, they're part of me," he says.

 

 

Rachel (Rai) Waddingham

Rai is an trainer and consultant specializing in developing respectful approaches to supporting those who struggle with voices, visions, overwhelming beliefs and post-traumatic reactions. She rai picmanaged the London Hearing Voices Project from 2007 – 2015, where she launched an innovative project developing a sustainable network of Hearing Voices Groups in London’s prisons and forensic hospitals as well as establishing Voice Collective to creatively support children and young people who hear voices, and their families. Rai hears voices, sees visions and - during her 20s - spent years in hospital diagnosed with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder. She credits the Hearing Voices Network with helping her make sense of her experiences and reclaiming her life - and no longer identifies with these diagnoses, and feels lucky to live a life that she loves. Rai is a trustee of the English Hearing Voices Network and an executive committee member for ISPS (International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis). For more information, see her website here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
news groups

The much anticipated (and delayed!) HVN Forums are now available!  Choose the 'Forums' option at the top right of the page to check them out.

You'll be able to read forums without logging in, but will need to register in order to post. (No real names required.)

To start, there are four forum sections:
* 1. General Discussion
* 2. Family & Friends
* 3. Group Stuff
* 4. Suggestion Box

Please bear in mind that this is an initial pilot of the forums, so help us figure out the glitches and how to make it the most useful resource possible to the HVN community!