Connecting People and Ideas in the Hearing Voices Movement

Intervoice was first established in 2007 with the aim of providing administrative support and co-ordination to the rapidly growing number of national Hearing Voices Networks. Formally registered as an English charity in 2013, our remit is now to support the development of the International Hearing Voices Movement. Whilst our focus has shifted and become more humble, some aspects of our work remain the same.

As you will see from the timeline below, Intervoice – like the International Hearing Voices Movement it supports – has always been a collaboration between experts by experience (voice-hearers and those with related experiences) and allies (including professionals, family/friends, academics and journalists).

The International Hearing Voices Movement exists because of the hard work, dedication and courage of so many people and groups beyond Intervoice. The timeline below tells some of our story as an organisation, but if you want to find out more about the wider picture – please see our page on the movement itself.

Intervoice Timeline

  • 1987

    Patsy challenged her psychiatrist

    Patsy Hague challenged her psychiatrist (Marius Romme) to listen to her and believe the reality of her voices.

  • 1987

    Patsy & Marius on Dutch TV to find voice-hearers outside of psychiatry

    Recognising the limitation of psychiatry they sought out others who heard voices and were not distressed by them. Marius’ wife – Sandra Escher, a journalist at the time – helped to arrange an interview on prime time Dutch television. Patsy and Marius were interviewed by Sonja Barend and, after the show, around 450 people who heard voices contacted a special hotline. Of these, around 150 said that their voices did not bother them.

  • 1987

    First Hearing Voices Congress in the Netherlands and launch of Foundation Resonance

    First congress for people who hear voices, held in the Netherlands. This led to the launch of Foundation Resonance / Stichting Weerklank – the first National Hearing Voices Network.

  • 1988+

    Marius and Sandra reach out - making new connections

    Romme and Escher speak about their approach to voice-hearing at different events, connecting with voice-hearers, activists, mental health professionals, family members and community organisers.

  • 1990+

    New national networks

    Pioneered by local champions who connected with the approach, national networks began to emerge in England, Austria, Japan, Finland and beyond.

  • 1993

    Accepting Voices published

    Romme and Escher’s landmark publication, detailing their research and approach to voice-hearing.

  • 14 Sept 2006

    First World Hearing Voices Day

    Inspired by Louise Pembroke, this is a day to recognise and value the diversity of those of us who hear voices, see visions and have related sensory experiences. It is a day to promote our right to define our experiences in our own way.

  • 2007

    Launch of Intervoice

    Launched at the Hearing Voices Congress in Denmark, Intervoice was set up to provide administrative and co-ordinating support to the many and varied networks, groups and initiatives around the world.

  • 2008

    First World Hearing Voices Congress

    Whilst previous conferences had attracted an international audience, 2008 saw the first official World Hearing Voices Congress in Maastricht. At this congress the first Intervoice Board met, chaired by Dirk Corstens.

  • 2012

    Intervoice registered as an English charity

    Supported by Mind in Camden, contracted to provide administrative support, Intervoice registered as a charity in England.

  • 2013

    Largest consumer-led conference in Australia

    The World Hearing Voices Congress in Melbourne was attended by over 770 people – making it the largest consumer-led conference in the country.

  • 2013

    Launch of the Melbourne Declaration

    A declaration of rights, originating in Melbourne and then adapted by congress host-countries including Greece, Spain and the Netherlands.

  • 2014

    Launch of Intervoice Community Agreement

    Guidelines created by the Intervoice Board to set clear expectations around how we are with each other in Intervoice events, aiming for a similar level of respect and diversity that we find in Hearing Voices Groups.

  • 2016

    First voice-hearer Chair

    Having previously been chaired by a psychiatrist, this year represents a shift with voice-hearers taking the lead.