• Jon Ronson
    Jon Ronson's Psychopath Night with very special guests, Newcastle upon Tyne, Saturday 11 November 2017, 8pm
    September 22, 2017
    Our great friend and collaborator Dr Eleanor Longden will be joining Jon Ronson in Newcastle upon Tyne this November for 'Jon Ronson's Psychopath Night with very special guests' (The Tyne Theatre and Opera House, 11 November 2017, 8pm).
    Integrated Voices - Can you help us create a resource for people who hear voices and those who support them?
    September 15, 2017
    Rai Waddingham, who is a member of the editorial board for our new project Integrated Voices, writes: In my experience, at least, the availability of information on the internet can bring with it both opportunities and risks. To someone hearing voices for the first time, or their loved ones, getting decent information about the experience and the different options out there is a real challenge. Whilst there are many sites I signpost people to, I’m ever aware that it’s a matter of luck as to whether anyone finds these on their own. More than that, if you happen upon a site that encourages a single approach you might leave with the idea that this is all there is. At the moment, there is no single site that gathers together a range of ways of understanding and working with voices. That gap has some serious implications. Information about the full range of options is a key part of informed choice. It is information that can lead us to ask for specific forms of support, and campaign when we find out they’re not available in our local area. Hearing the Voice is launching a project that has got me both excited and daunted (called Integrated Voices). Its aim is deceptively simple – create a clear, balanced and impartial website with a range of modules that focus on different approaches to understanding or supporting people who hear voices. A website where we are not pushing or promoting any particular option, but are laying them out on a buffet table and trusting people to find the ones that suit them best. A website that is not overloaded with information, that is easy to navigate and signposts people to further sources of information on the approaches that interest them. Ultimately, in the jungle that is the internet we want people to find ideas that could really work for them. From the way I write, I hope you can see why I’m excited. I really feel this could be a useful resources and am glad to be supporting them in developing it. My nerves are real, though. One of the reasons this site does not already exist is that it’s a massive undertaking. There is so much information and so many possibilities that knowing where to start is difficult. More than this, I’m also keenly aware that whilst we’re aiming for an impartial site, none of us are neutral. We all have our interests and perspectives. If we were to sit in a room for a year and design the site ourselves our biases would be clearly visible in the content of the site. As human beings, we’d skew the information without even realising it. All of the choices made by the editorial team have consequences, and if we want the site to be as useful to as many people as possible in our community we need your help.  Consultation Events It is only right that we speak to as many different people as possible before we even begin planning the Integrated Voices website. So, before our pens touch the paper to draw up content ideas we’re going out and about to hold three consultation events, in Bradford, London and Newcastle upon Tyne. These events are a chance for people who hear voices and the friends and family who support them to share what they think would be useful from a site. If your work involves supporting people who are distressed by their voices, we’d also love to hear from you. Facilitated by Mary Robson, Victoria Patton and myself, we’ll be doing our best to create welcoming spaces where we can think together about your hopes (and fears) for the site. We can begin to build up a picture of the information and topic areas that you feel are essential, as well as the things you feel we should either avoid or be very careful of. If you would like to get involved in these events, information about dates, times and venues can be found at the bottom of this post. Online survey For those who either can’t or don’t want to take part in these events, we also have an online survey for anyone who is interested in this project. The survey is available to complete here. Share it with your friends, family, clients, support workers, CPN and anyone you think might have an opinion.  Why take part? Whilst later on in the process we will be convening focus groups to help us develop and test the site, and will be able to offer vouchers in thanks for the work done, at this stage we hope people will take part because they feel that this could be an important resource and want to help shape it. We can offer reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses and some refreshments at the consultation events, but above and beyond that we’re asking for your support to help ensure this resource is as useful as possible. Our commitment to you is that we will listen to the feedback and use it in a meaningful way to develop the site, and ensure there are opportunities during the project to get more involved. One thing I hate about consultation is the number of events that talk to us after decisions have already been made – those tokenistic events where we’re being asked to rubber-stamp something that we neither want nor agree with. Those events where our voices aren’t heard. This project’s success rests on our ability to engage with as many people as possible and – most importantly – to listen. So, whether you fill in the survey or come to a consultation event, we’re looking forward to hearing from you. Hearing the Voice will be holding three open meetings to discuss Integrated Voices with voice-hearers and those who support them in Bradford, London and Newcastle upon Tyne. The events will take place at the following venues and times: Bradford Thursday 5th October 2017, 1-3pm Mind in Bradford Tradeforce Building Cornwall Place Bradford West Yorkshire BD8 7JT London Friday 6th October 2017, 2.30-5pm National Council for Voluntary Organisations Society Building 8 All Saints Street London N1 9RL Newcastle upon Tyne Thursday 12th October 2017, 1pm-3pm The Recovery College Collective 5th Floor, Broadacre House Market Street Newcastle upon Tyne. NE1 6HQ If you would like to attend one of these events, please let us know in advance by registering here. We hope you can make it!
    Welcoming Dr Åsa Jansson to the Hearing the Voice team
    September 6, 2017
    A warm welcome to Åsa Jansson who joins the team as Junior Research Fellow with Durham's Centre for Medical Humanities and Hearing the Voice.
  • Identity
    'Of Theories and Visions' by Adam Powell
    September 5, 2017
    Adam Powell explores 'identity dissonance' and emotional motivations in bio-cultural models of religious experience.
    Postpartum Psychosis: A consultation
    September 4, 2017
    Postpartum psychosis, including voices, paranoia or extreme states experienced during or following pregnancy or birth, remains an extraordinarily under-researched and misunderstood topic.  The voice of women with first hand experiences are particularly under-represented in research. How can we better understand the subjective experience of postpartum psychosis - including the nature and content of postpartum voices, visions, and distressing beliefs, their social meanings, and women's experiences of support and treatment? Right now, we’re soliciting feedback from the experts – women who have experienced postpartum psychosis, family members and healthcare professionals – regarding research ideas and priorities.  If you have a view on what research should focus on, and how it should be done, please consider participating in our short consultation survey here. This consultation, which runs from September – December 2017, is led by Nev Jones, Marie Hansen and Hearing the Voice's Angela Woods as part of the Transforming Research through Participation (TRP) collaborative. The feedback collated through this survey will be shared on the TRP site and used to inform the design of a research study to be conducted in 2018.
    Our new paper - how voice-hearers can detect speech in unusual sounds
    September 1, 2017
    Last week we were delighted to share the results of our new study in Brain, "Distinct processing of ambiguous speech in people with non-clinical auditory verbal hallucinations". The study, which was a collaboration between Hearing the Voice and Sophie Scott's Speech Communication lab at UCL, involved a group of people who regularly hear voices but do not find them distressing. We found that voice-hearers were quicker than control participants (with no experience of voice-hearing) at detecting hidden sentences in some ambiguous sounds known as sine-wave speech. Usually sine-wave speech requires training to be understood, but we found that 75% of the voice-hearers could detect the hidden speech, even before being told to listen out for it. We also observed that they appeared to recruit different brain areas, specifically when they listened to the sounds containing hidden speech.  If you would like to know more, Ben Alderson-Day & Dr César Lima have written a post for the OUPblog that explains it in more depth. We have been pleased by the reaction to the paper so far (two of our favourite examples are the ScienceBlog and BBC World Service's Health Check, 10:29 onwards). Unfortunately some people got the wrong end of the stick: the Telegraph and the Independent suggested that our findings indicated that people with better hearing are more likely to have mental health problems, such as schizophrenia. We want to clarify that is wrong, on three counts: The study isn't about better or worse hearing - it's about how we make sense of the sounds we hear; The people who took part in our study did not have mental health problems; and Being able to understand the sounds in the study is definitely not a sign of a mental health problem: in fact, it's probably something that our brains are doing all the time, and voice-hearers might actually be better at it in some way. We're hoping that this study will open up lots of new avenues to explore and try to understand about how voice-hearing works in the brain. We would like to thank all the people who took part in this study. It really would not have been possible without their co-operation and dedication.
    Response roundup to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
    August 18, 2017
    "The most realistic portrayal of mental illness I’ve yet seen in a video game". Last week saw the release of Ninja Theory’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, a new game on PS4 and PC that attempts to simulate some of the experiences associated with psychosis. We round up the reviews here and explain how HtV contributed to its development.
    HtV's Angela Woods wins Intervoice Research Award 2017
    August 17, 2017
    We are thrilled to announce that Hearing the Voice Co-Director Angela Woods has been awarded the 2017 Intervoice Research Award at the 9th World Hearing Voices Congress in Boston.
    Voice-Hearers: What are your priorities for research into talking with voices?
    August 15, 2017
    Hearing the Voice is proud to be part of an international research group which is seeking a better understanding of people's experience of communicating with their voices. The first step in this process, before the research even begins, is to talk to the experts. Consultant Voice Dialogue Survey Many people who hear voices say that they sometimes "talk" with, "communicate" with, or "interact" with their voices. This might be out loud, or silently. We are interested in learning more about these experiences. If you have ever talked with your voices - or had someone else talk with your voices - we are interested in collaborating with you on developing research questions for our study. We are part of an international working group focused on learning about the different ways people interact with their voices. Some of us are therapists, some voice hearers, some researchers (and some of us wear several of these hats). This is not a research study, but a way you can help collaborate with us on what you think we need to learn about people who have had conversations with their voices. This survey is a series of open ended questions about “talking” or “interacting" with voices (or what is sometimes called “voice dialogue”). All questions are completely optional, you do not have to answer all the questions to participate. To participate in the Consultant Voice Dialogue Survey please click here or type the address into your browser: https://uic.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6P7cb7uiMbE4N3n Thank you on behalf of the International Consortium on Hallucination Research Working Group on Voice Dialogue, Berta Britz, Dirk Corstens, Felicity Deamer, Marie Hansen, Nev Jones, Sarah Kamens, Simon McCarthy-Jones, Sohee Park, Liz Pienkos, Cherise Rosen, Rajiv Sharma, Neil Thomas, and Angela Woods If you are interested in joining the International Participatory Research Interest Group, please email Nev Jones.

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