Connecting People and Ideas in the Hearing Voices Movement

We’re excited to announce details of the upcoming World Hearing Voices Congress in Greece, from 10-12 October.

To keep updated with developments, please bookmark the congress website: (English Language) (Greek)

Odysseying with the Sirens: Struggling towards recovery in times of crisis

greek-image-congressThe 6th World Hearing Voices Congress will take place in Thessaloniki, Greece, 10-12 of October 2014.

The title refers to the Odyssey, Homer’s famous epic, where the Sirens lured Ulysses from his path.

The World Hearing Voices Congresses are organized by Intervoice, the international network of people who hear voices, critical professionals and researchers, relatives and carers as well as interested citizens. Intervoice aims to change the understanding and treatment of the experience of hearing voices through producing and disseminating new knowledge regarding voices and through promoting alternative ways of managing the voices, which are based on agency and self-help. The 6th World Congress in Thessaloniki, Greece, is organized by the Hellenic Hearing Voices Network and the Hellenic Observatory for Rights in the Field of Mental Health. It continues the tradition of the previous Congresses held in Maastricht (2009), Nottingham (2010), Savona (2011), Cardiff (2012) and Melbourne (2013).

People who hear voices, carers, professionals and researchers in the field of mental health, as well as anyone else interested in the experience of hearing voices are welcome to attend. The Congress includes research presentations, life stories, stories of recovery, talks about local networks and initiatives, experiential workshops and interactive sessions. It aspires to be a place of coming together, discussing, exchanging ideas and sharing experience between people from many countries, perspectives and paths of life.

The word “crisis” in Greek is inherently ambiguous, in the sense that it refers to judgment, whether judging or being judged. It constitutes a situation of increased risk, but also, when looked at from another perspective, an opportunity for change. Every crisis, be it personal or social, cannot be viewed outside its sociopolitical context. How can one talk about crisis in one part without including in the picture the crisis of the whole? Does the crisis of a person who is referred to as being “mentally ill” concern only this particular person or does it also include the crisis of the psychiatric institution that is supposed to care for her? Can the course towards resolution, exit or recovery be narrowed down to following a predetermined “therapeutic” plan?

The last four hard years in Greece gave us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of crisis on at least three distinct levels: the personal, the interpersonal and the social. The last few years have also initiated the formation and pursuit of new relationships of solidarity and companionship within and outside our networks. Alongside this, there is also the everyday struggle for survival. How can one talk about recovery without talking about the basic needs that are either ignored or dealt with in terms of philanthropy?

During this struggle many of us have encountered in our everyday practice some of the core principles of the hearing voices network: the need to accept and own our experience, to seek helpful others, to assume responsibility and to realize our choices. This is the only way to build up a “psychology of resistance” in order to ascribe “meaning” and build for the “future” through our active participation in processes that question, redefine and eventually subvert all the rationales that are intertwined with the destruction of any “meaning” and “future”. In such a process we need all these voices that are systematically excluded, made redundant, seen as useless or dangerous.

Recovery can be an odyssey, a journey that can take years. Ithaca will be there but it will be a different place to the one you left behind. Still, it offered you the journey…

We invite you to Thessaloniki for the 6th World Hearing Voices Congress, an open process that will constantly be enriched through your help and participation. New texts that will elaborate and frame this initial call will soon follow. We envisage a continuous process of discussion, elaboration and reflection on the conference theme, culminating to a declaration at the end of the conference. This will take place through the ideas and reflections on the congress section of the congress website.

Stay tuned…

Contribute Your Ideas/Papers

You can send your reflections, ideas and proposals here

Would you like to contribute a workshop, paper or performance. Find out how to submit your paper here

Intervoice was set up to support the International Hearing Voices Movement, celebrating the diversity and creativity within it. We do what we can to share information and connect people with groups, networks and resources.

World Hearing Voices Day Postcard