Listening to the Voices of Voice Hearers: World Hearing Voices Congress


It looks like a great event:  The Hearing Voices Network 25 Years On: Learning from the PAST, Practicing in the PRESENT, Visioning the FUTURE.  Cardiff, Wales 19-21 September 2012.  Click here to look at the complete brochure .

From the brochure:

This year celebrates the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Hearing Voices Movement. Over the last 25 years the network has helped countless voice hearers gain ascendency over the negative impact of the voice hearing experience. Alongside this, the network has acted as the vehicle for change in professional practice. On the 19th 20th and 21st of September 2012 the Hearing Voices World Congress and the annual Intervoice meeting will be held in the All Nations Conference Center, Cardiff, Wales.

The Intervoice meeting will be on 19th September, an Open Space event with speakers, followed by our World Congress on the 20th and 21st September.
Contributors over the three days include: Hywel Davies (Wales), Marius Romme, Sandra Escher (Belgium), Joe Calleja (Australia), Lucy Johnstone (Wales), Dirk Corstens (Netherlands), Robin Murray (UK), Rufus May (England), Kellie Comans (Australia), Michaela Amering (Austria), Alan
Leader (England), Paul Baker (Spain/UK), Peter Bullimore (England), Jacqui Dillon (England), Ron Coleman (Scotland), Rachel Waddingham (England), Eleanor Longden (England), Oryx Cohen (USA), Will Hall (USA), Prof Manuel Gonzales de Chavez (Spain),Willa Casstevens (USA), Pino Pini (Italy),
Marcello Macario (Italy), Indigo Daya (Australia)

OK, I know you can’t all make it to Wales.  If you can’t, I encourage you to look into the work of many of the great people listed above, much of which you can find out about on the internet.   For example, you can listen to Will Hall interviewing Eleanor Longden – see Madness Radio: Meaning From Voices Eleanor Longden

First Aired 6-1-2012
Hearing voices is strongly connected with traumatic experiences, but are voices a brain malfunction or a creative strategy for protection? UK psychologist Eleanor Longden survived a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and went on to be a leading researcher around voice hearing, trauma, and dissociation. She is a pioneer in the movement to understand voices as a normal human experience — and truly help people by healing trauma.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. Here’s some more information related to the conference and some other Hearing Voices events, from the Working To Recovery newsletter:

    “Intervoice Congress
    Firstly we now have the official booking form and Congress information designed and ready. Hope you like the cover design, I personally love it. To view it CLICK HERE

    “Bookings are coming in swiftly, so please get your booking in. We would love to have 500 people at this 25th Celebration of the hearing voices movement.
    A range of different types of accommodation are available – and can be found by CLICKING HERE

    “If you are coming from abroad and staying you might be interested in the four day voice dialoguing course, Talking with Voices, we are putting on at Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire from 1st – 4th October with Dirk Corstens, Eleanor Longden and Ron Coleman. We still have a few places left. For more information and booking CLICK HERE

    “Travel from airport to Intervoice
    If you are looking for travel arrangements from the airport to the venue in Cardiff. A group from Denmark who are attending the Intervoice Congress have booked a bus and are inviting people to join them from Stanstead airport to Cardiff. Details Below:

    “Stanstead Airport to Cardiff – Tuesday 18th September 2012 – Departing around lunchtime.
    Cardiff to Stanstead Airport – Saturday 22nd September 2012 – Departing in the morning – Arriving around lunchtime

    “The more the people on the bus – the cheaper it will get!
    If you are interested in booking a place on the bus – Please Contract Trevor Eyles – [email protected]

    “Marius Romme & Sandra Escher in conversation – last 25 years
    Don’t forget to purchase a copy of Marius Romme and Sandra Escher in conversation about the last 25 years of the hearing voices movement. These are wonderfully relaxed interviews by both of them, carried out by Paul Baker. This DVD would make great training materials or just view them for personal interest.
    For more information and to purchase CLICK HERE

    “USA Tour with Ron Coleman
    We have a couple of dates free on the fall USA tour with Ron Coleman and are now taking enquiries for his next tour to the USA in April 2013.
    Please email me [email protected]

    “Australia Tour 2012 – Ron Coleman, Karen Taylor, Marius Romme & Sandra Escher
    Ron and I will be touring with Marius Romme and Sandra Escher the second half of November and early December 2012 in Australia. We are hoping to have a few days in WA, Victoria, NSW and Queensland. If you are interested in hosting an event or coming to an event – please email me [email protected]

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  2. God I’m so Jealous that you get to go to these wonderful events Ron.

    For ant readers who are not familiar with people in the Hearing Voices Network, Ron Coleman’s personal story on the working to recovery website, is absolutely inspirational.

    One thing that intrigues me though, as a Bipolar person, is a perception that hearing voices is unique to people with experience of schizophrenia?

    I certainly wish there was a group that catered for non-voice hearers like most bipolar’s I know. Is it a miss-perception that its unique to schizophrenia, Ron?

    There is a very interesting study on the side bar at moment.

    Facial Affect Recognition and Theory of Mind in Schizophrenia

    “Deficits of facial affect recognition are associated with schizophrenia, as is the ability to infer others’ beliefs (“Theory of Mind”). French researchers compared 20 patients with schizophrenia diagnoses with 30 matched controls, finding that recognition of facial emotions was associated with the attribution of beliefs.”

    I’ve added this link to Stephen Porges work on the evolutionary role of facial muscle feedback in social cues, and his notion that “voices” my be a nervous system generated expectation of “predator” threat. I gave Paul Baker a similar link some months ago, although I understand the cognitive model upon which the hearing voices approach is based.

    The Face: A Critical Component of a Social Engagement System:

    •Unlike reptiles, the mammalian nervous
    system needs a “caregiver” to survive and
    signals the caregiver via the muscles of the
    face and head.
    •The face is “hardwired” to the neural
    regulation of visceral state via a mammalian
    “neural circuit.”
    •Physical and mental illness retract the
    “mammalian” neural circuit with the resultant
    symptoms of a face that does not work.

    My Child’s Face Does Not Work!

    When Other Faces Do Not Work!

    A New Paradigm?
    • If social behaviors are not learned, are they
    emergent properties of specific neurophysological
    • If dysfunctional social behavior is a spontaneously
    occurring emergent property of the nervous system
    (i.e., part of a feedback loop), could intervention
    strategies be focused on manipulating or supporting
    the neurophysiological states (e.g., engaging and
    exercising feedback loops) from which social
    behavior would spontaneously occur?
    © 2003 Stephen W. Porges.

    For well over a year now I’ve writing about how this man’s discovery of a third branch to our auto nervous system, is as revolutionary as Darwin’s famous theory.

    Sadly the recovery movement has been so hurt by science, it seems to believe that all research into the human condition is funded by PHARMA? Yet Stephen Porges Listening project is getting amazing results with autistic individuals, and is a non-invasive method of natural stimulation.

    “The Polyvagal Theory,” is the new paradigm in mental health. We all know that compassionate social support works. That genuine human empathy has a trans-formative effect.

    The Polyvagal Theory, can show the left-brained academics in psychiatry the certainty they need, to move away from the failing paradigm of the chemical cosh, intervention.

    Please, please, read this brilliant mans work.

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  3. Hi David,

    Unfortunately, I doubt I will make it to this event myself. I’m often stuck watching the DVD’s later – fortunately some of the key talks are often available at Working to Recovery

    Hearing voices is certainly not unique to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. They are common in bipolar, depression, PTSD, dissociative disorder, and for many people who don’t ever go see a psychiatrist because their lives are going just fine. But it is a problem in our culture that people assume hearing voices means trouble, and often means “schizophrenia” as opposed to remaining curious enough to notice whether the voices really are causing problems with the person or if the person is capable of handing them. And if the person isn’t capable of handling them, we should be teaching them how, rather than assuming they will always be incompetent.

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