What is the Hearing Voices Network?
The Hearing Voices Movement was begun by Dr. Marius Romme, a professor of social psychiatry, science journalist Dr. Sandra Escher and voice-hearer Patsy Hage in 1987 – after Hage challenged Romme about why he couldn’t accept the reality of her voice hearing experience. As voice hearer Ron Coleman has said, if someone is hearing voices, something real is happening. The movement challenges conventional wisdom in other ways also, challenging the notion that to hear voices or have other unusual sensory experiences necessarily needs to be understood as mental illness but may instead be seen as a normal part of the continuum of human experience, an experience that is sometimes even valued.
The International Hearing voices Movement consists of the diverse conversations, initiatives, groups and individuals around the world that share some core values. These include: hearing voices, seeing visions and related phenomena are meaningful experiences that can be understood in many ways; hearing voices is not, in itself, an indication of illness – but difficulties coping with voices can cause great distress; when people are overwhelmed by their experiences, support offered should be based on respect, empathy, informed choice and an understanding of the personal meaning voices have in someone’s life.
The International Hearing Voices Network began in 1988 with the support of Romme and has since expanded to countries including England, Wales, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Hearing Voices Groups support people in learning ways to live well with their experiences, share strategies, make connections, and know that they are not alone. The reputation of the Hearing Voices Network is growing as the limitations of a solely medical approach to voices become better known.
BC Hearing Voices Network
The BC Hearing Voices Network had it’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 21, 2013 with representatives from existing local Hearing Voices Network Support Groups. The BC Hearing Voices Network acts as a supportive umbrella organization for these groups. It aims to provide a forum for:
- sharing ideas
- coping strategies
- new research
- and supporting new groups in starting
The BC Hearing Voices Network can be contacted by telephone at 604-984-5000 x5167 (North Vancouver) or 604-708-5276 (Vancouver).
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