“Solidarity in Times of Adversity: The Global Voice Hearing Community Reconnecting”
1 – 3 September 2021
Over the past 18 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented challenge across the globe, which many of us will have experienced as disconnecting, isolating, frightening, chaotic, overwhelming, and, at times, unbearable. However, the pandemic has also shown the power of solidarity when communities come together to offer each other support in times of adversity.
This year’s Congress will create spaces for voice hearers, family members, carers, practitioners, academics, and all those interested in the principles and values of the International Hearing Voices Movement, to connect and/or reconnect with one another in a post-pandemic world, either in person in Cork, Ireland or online across the globe. Drawing on two ancient Irish traditions, the Congress organisers aim to provide a platform (ardán*) to focus on the ways in which many voices can work together, supporting each other in difficult times (meitheal*).
*Ardán (pronounced ar-dawn) is an Irish word meaning platform, stage, but it is also used in the context of ‘raising one spirits’!
*Meitheal (pronounced meh-hill) is the Irish expression of the ancient and universal appliance of cooperation to social need, referring to the co-operative labour system in Ireland where neighbours help each other in turn with farming work, such as harvesting crops. It establishes community unity through cooperative work and mutually reciprocal support.
Confirmed Speakers To Date
Jacqui Dillon will open the Congress
I was delighted to be invited to open this year’s Annual World Hearing Voices Congress, to be held in the wonderful city of Cork from 1-3 September 2021. The annual conference is an important event in the voice hearing diary, an opportunity for people who hear voices, their friends, families, allies and professionals who work alongside them, to get together and share the wonderful work they have been doing from across the globe. Now in its 12th year, the World Hearing Voices Congress showcases innovative approaches to hearing voices, research and development work internationally, with presentations from experts by experience and experts by profession, working together to increase acceptance and understanding of hearing voices. For many, it is an opportunity to meet like-minded people, share ideas and information and make connections in a safe, stimulating and friendly environment.
As my family originates from this fine city, Cork holds a special place in my heart. Having facilitated numerous training courses, talks and seminars to help develop groups across Ireland leading to the formation of HVNI, I am thrilled to be attending this year’s Congress. After the unprecedented time that we as a global community have faced, now more than ever, the opportunity to reconnect with each other, whether in person or virtually, to share our diverse, unique voices, has never been so vital. I hope you will join me.
Rai Waddingham (UK)
Rai is an Open Dialogue Practitioner, international trainer and has experience of creating, establishing and managing innovative Hearing Voices Movements and influenced peer support-based projects in a range of contexts, including youth, prison, forensic, inpatient and community. She has personal experience of hearing voices, psychosis, trauma, self-harm and hospitalisation. Lived experience, and the collective wisdom developed within the Hearing Voices Network and Survivor Movement(s) are the lenses through which she approaches all of her work. These are her guiding lights.
As a trainer, Rai has facilitated courses and workshops in many countries including USA, Ireland, Bosnia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Israel and Australia. Rai is engaged in research and currently undertaking a PhD in survivor knowledge.
Attending a Hearing Voices Group, back in 2000, was a pivotal moment without which she feels she would probably still be stuck in a cycle of hospital admissions with little hope.
Cindy Marty Hadge (USA)
Cindy Hadge is a person who experienced physical, emotional, sexual trauma as a child. She experienced voices and visions (some comforting and some distressing). As a young adult, she turned to alcohol and street drugs in an effort to make life livable. Eventually, she ended up in mental health services where the unprescribed drugs were replaced by prescribed ones. She remained stuck for decades, until finding her way within Hearing Voices Groups and the support of the Wildflower Alliance (formerly known as the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community). In recent years, Cindy has found the meaning, purpose, and connection by transforming her tragedies into treasures by being healed when creating space for others to heal. Cindy is a Lead Trainer for The Wildflower Alliance, offering Hearing Voices Network training across the United States and beyond. Cindy has also offered training on trauma, self-injury, and the Alternatives To Suicide Approach (developed by The Wildflower Alliance). Since 2019, Cindy has also supported HVN Family and Friends groups, knowing that family members can benefit from the support offered within HVN values, and that family and friends can play a powerful role with loved ones. Cindy is gender non-conforming and has presented both as Cindy and Marty and received an Intervoice Award for Education and Training for her work helping to increase awareness of and access to the Hearing Voices approach across the United States. Cindy is also in the film, “Beyond Possible: How the Hearing Voices Approach Transforms Lives” available at www.beyondpossiblefilm.info
Peter Bullimore (UK)
The chair of the National Paranoia Network, Pete Bullimore, is a testament to how effective accepting and working with voices can be. It was only when he came off the medication and met people who share his experiences at the Hearing Voices Network 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 voices and paranoia. Pete heard his first voice aged seven, after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a childminder. “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. He now runs his own training and consultancy agency delivering training on hearing voices childhood trauma and paranoia internationally. He also currently teaches at thirteen Universities in the UK. He also facilitates his own Maastricht Approach center in Sheffield. He has set up Maastricht Centre’s at the Radbone unit in Derby and the Hartington Unit in Chesterfield in collaboration with Derby NHS trust; he has now launched a Maastricht Approach center in Bradford and a National Maastricht Center in Telford. “I wouldn’t want to get rid of my voices now, they’re part of me,” he says.
Hearing Voices Network Athens (Greece)
After a series of visits by Jaqui Dillon, Peter Bullimore, Cate Crawford, Tori Reeve and Linda Whiting, during which they gave talks about alternative approaches to voices and paranoia, the Greek HVN was founded in 2010. It represents a partnership between individuals who hear voices or have other extreme or unusual experiences, professionals and allies within the community, all of whom are working together to change the assumptions made about these phenomena and create support, learning and healing opportunities for people across the country. But this is something more than collaboration. It is a vivid, autopoietic system that aims at producing meaning and therefore life. And that’s how it started: from the quest of meaning deriving from the sorrow, the self-awareness and the radical stance of a young woman, Marianna Kefallinou, who met a creative, rebel, open minded person Peter Bullimore. And the spark was there. In our history this was our Big Bang moment. Meaning and dreaming… And then voice hearers entered the meetings, some professionals came, family members, students, persons coming from a community that has been violently attacked from neoliberal politics that aim to destroy the community. So these meeting turned out to be something more than a network of people. It proved to be a dreamland, a movement that aims to keep people connected.
Adi Hasanbasic (Czech Republic)
Adi Hasanbašić comes from Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) but for the last 5 years, he has been living and working in Prague (Czech Republic). He finished his studies of Psychology and Social and cultural anthropology. He also completed training in Gestalt Therapy, Open Dialogue and recently got his Master’s degree in Gestalt Therapy. He was a founder and director of the NGO Metanoia (Sarajevo) which had a focus on mental health in the community while developing different outlooks and projects concerning mental health topics. He helped create and develop the Hearing Voices Network for Western Balkan and connected colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia in their joint efforts. Adi also helped spread across the Western Balkan an idea about a radio show regarding mental health called “Voice of Madness Live on Air”, which got him an award for contribution in developing mental health awareness in Bosnia. The radio show got a lot of attention, including Al Jazeera’s documentary about it. Currently, he is working in the Center for mental health in Prague and has a private therapy practice. Also, he is the main coordinator and co-founder of the Hearing Voices Network for the Czech Republic and facilitator of the Hearing Voices groups in Prague. He is also a proud recipient of the award from Intervoice for supporting the development of HV groups. He translated several books about mental health into the Bosnian language and published articles about psychotherapy and mental health in general. Adi’s main interests are critical psychology and psychiatry, psychiatric anthropology, psychotherapy, Open Dialogue, and Hearing Voices approach. As his main intellectual inspiration and reason for studying psychology, he mentions the work of Ronald David Laing. Adi is happily married and recently became a father of a beautiful girl. Besides his family, he can’t imagine his life without tea, books, and traveling.
Kate Fiske (Australia) – The Listening to Voices Project
Listening to Voices Theatre have been cutting through the stigma, the misconceptions about voice hearing and challenging the ever-growing ‘mental illness’ industry by powerfully awakening people to a deeper understanding. Their award-winning grassroots project and performance is providing the catalyst to empathy and understanding. The willingness to unpack their own histories and experiences of the system continues to push through the medicalised rhetoric by reaching the hearts and minds of audiences with relatable accounts and creative clout.
Since 2016 The Listening to Voices Project have developed and presented their own stories in beautifully crafted theatre performances. These performances have been witnessed by hundreds of people from all areas of community. The performers Ben Pearson, Kelly Bayley, Sarah Sewell and Jain Thompson, accompanied by Kate Fiske are pleased to be presenting at this year’s 12th World Hearing Voices Congress in Cork.
Congress will have an online format. Delegates will be able to access all the keynote presentations, all the online concurrent sessions, and all the networking sessions. See Registration details below.
The Online Congress Venue (Irish Standard Timezone): Zoom platform, managed and facilitated by Onlinevents
- 1 September: Intervoice Day
- 2 and 3 September: World Hearing Voices Congress
Intervoice Day (1st September)
A day for people involved in the Hearing Voices Movement to come together, share experiences, and hear about new initiatives around the world. The day will consist of speakers, open space discussions about topics decided by attendees and the chance to share what is happening in Hearing Voices Networks across the globe. The Intervoice Day is organised by members of the Intervoice Board. Details to follow.
World Hearing Voices Congress (2nd and 3rd September)
Each day will consist of keynote presentations and concurrent workshops/presentations. We hope to provide opportunities for all time zones to have the opportunity to engage with the Congress. Details to follow.
Registrations are being taken via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/12th-world-hearing-voices-congress-cork-ireland-1-3-sept-2021-tickets-145886254715
Registrants will be able to attend all keynote presentations, online concurrent sessions, all networking sessions, and all online events offered during breaks.
Intervoice Day (1 day) and Congress Days (2 Days)
Voice Hearers/Students: £45.00
We hope you can join us. For any more information, please email us on [email protected]