Monday, December 16, 2019

Comments by Nev Jones, MA

Showing 5 of 5 comments.

  • Matthew,

    I think my main reaction to this thread (the comments, specifically) is that the lack of moderation on MiA, while understandable for reasons of ‘freedom of expression,’ seems problematic and counterproductive when it serves to discourage open, friendly and productive dialogue and debate. The latter is what I’d really like to see happening. If you and Kermit and others could somehow make this happen, it’d be a real accomplishment. (Not saying it’s easy…)

  • For the record, my original debate involved direct (public) dialogue with Bob Whitaker and when I decided to take it down (not worded terribly diplomatically, though I stand by my original arguments) I had further (friendly) discussions with Bob. Definitely not trying to hide anything, and if I was, I’m not sure who it would be from. Like anyone, my ideas change, or at least the ways I think are most strategic to frame them, and a blog is simply not the same as a publication. People are free to browse internet archives, of course, but the real point is whether or not one chooses to publicly “maintain” a particular post or not.

  • Reading this debate and some of the other commentaries and responses, I think a few things are worth reiterating and underscoring:

    (1) The issue of representation is a serious one. If the HVM is primarily about voice hearing, it should be led by a majority of voice hearers (alongside allies and collaborators); if the HVM truly extends equally to all types of visions, extreme states, and unusual beliefs, this needs to be made very clear and equal time and attention devoted to developing techniques akin to voice dialogue and voice profiling that actually address and fully include so-called delusions, paranoia, “passivity symptoms,” etc. Initiatives designed to further the voice training ambitions of non voice hearers, without any local voice hearer involvement, should be called for what they are.

    (2) On a related note, it’s imperative that local capacity be built in the US: few voice hearer/consumer/survivors have the money and time to travel across the country; national organizing efforts that are truly national cannot take place in only one corner of the country. Resources MUST be devoted to strategic training and dissemination efforts in all geographical and geopolitical sectors, or a group should not, for ethical and political reasons, call itself “national.” (Local or state-based groups are, of course, extremely valuable and necessary and important; again, it’s a matter of claims re representation and speaking for or on behalf of others.)

    (3) Organizing efforts MUST be transparent, open and democratic. And, I would underscore, attentive not only to the specific experience of those in leadership positions, but also to issues of class, race, ethnicity, culture and privilege.

    (4) It’s easy to say that particular groups or approaches “equally” value all types of explanations and frameworks and a whole other thing to actually accomplish this–both as a group level and within movements (I’m not just referring to various national HVNs.) Enormous works need to be devoted to better understanding religious/spiritual experiences that intersect with psychosis, genetic and hereditary factors (e.g. in “families of voice hearers”, which certainly exist), and truly alternative explanations and frameworks grounded in telepathy, psychic phenomena and the paranormal. We all need to be self-critical and it strikes me as very obviously disingenuous to claim that the HVM has devoted as much research, energy, etc. to working on non-trauma or life-event based approaches to voices. Again, no movement is ever perfect, but we need to always remain self-critical, reflexive and attentive to our own shortcomings, biases, etc.

    (5) I say all this as a very active HVM organize and facilitator, myself a voice hearer and person with many other experiences of psychosis. IMHO, internal critique is something to be encouraged and supported if the HVM and larger c/s/x movement(s) are to continue to grow and evolve and transform the culture landscape of what it means to experience psychosis or hear voices or see visions in the US.

  • Anonymous,

    Since you’re critiquing my blog (and me) by name, I felt compelled to come over and post a brief response. Reactionary anti-intellectualism (including gross over-generalizations about “research”, psychopharmacology, etc.) strikes me as deeply counterproductive. Whitaker’s books hinge on “scientific” evidence, as do alternatives such as Open Dialogue, and I’m honestly at a loss as to understand why anyone who cares about the issues would not want to engage, deeply and thoughtfully, with the insights and shortcomings of the existing research literature. (To say nothing of anthropology, sociology and other fields that focus on nothing if not the complexities of bio-psycho-socio-cultural life.

    With respect to the strategic or political benefit of more “extreme” political positions within the c/s/x community, I disagree strongly. The harm done to service users who are made to feel lesser or ashamed of their treatment choices, whether this is accomplished explicitly or implicitly & indirectly (through the one-sided heroization of “recovered” or drug-free survivors), fear mongering with respsect to the effects of psychotropic drugs (i.e. as causal factors in an “epidemic” of chronic psychosis), and the devaluing of the experiences of individuals with enduring, ongoing challenges, distress and/or altered states are no better than the sometimes equally disempowering, judgmental and monolithic judgments and conclusions of mainstream conservative psychiatry.

    We need to think critically about all these issues and, IMO, use every resources at our disposal.