The Practical Handbook of Hearing Voices: A Development Workshop (11 March)

Wednesday 11 March 2020 | 10AM-4PM | Hebden Bridge Town Hall | St George’s Street | Hebden Bridge | HX7 7BY

We’ve been asked by Roz Austin to advertise the following workshop:

‘The Practical Handbook of Hearing Voices: A Development Workshop’ will be taking place in the Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Wednesday 11 March.

Presenters include:

  • Assistant Professor Mark Hopfenbeck, ‘Dialogue, values and voices in the creation of the Practical Handbooks for Mental Health’
  • Rufus May and Elisabeth Svanholmer, ‘Mindfulness and hearing voices’
  • Louise Combes, ‘Dramatherapy for people with first-episode psychosis’
  • Dr Kate Quinn and Rufus May, ‘Voice-hearing and cannabis: a harm reduction approach’
  • Dr Roz Austin, ‘Animal-assisted therapy for voice-hearers’. Roz’s border collie puppy Misty will be introduced

All are welcome to attend. A free sandwich lunch will be provided in The Terrace Room.

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Service-users – suggested donation of £5
  • Those in employment – £15

If you would like to attend, please email Roz to reserve a place.

This workshop is not run by Hearing the Voice. For any enquiries, please contact Roz directly.



Morning sessions take place in The Space, Hebden Bridge Town Hall

  • 10.00 am – Roz Austin. Outline of the day
  • 10.10 am – Rufus May and Elisabeth Svanholmer. Creative ways to engage with voices
  • 10.30 am – Roz Austin and Misty (Roz’s puppy that is in training to be a therapy dog). Animal-assisted therapy for voice-hearers.
  • 10.50 am – Mary Coaten. Dance Movement Therapy: an embodied approach
  • 11.15 am – Coffee
  • 11.35 am – Kate Quinn and Rufus May. Voice-hearing and cannabis: a harm reduction approach
  • 11.55 am – Louise Combes. Dramatherapy for people with first-episode psychosis
  • 12.20 am – Kate Quinn and Danny. The awesome metalcore therapy case
  • 12.40 am – Rufus May and Elisabeth Svanholmer. Mindfulness and hearing voices: a practical session
  • 13.05 pm – Lunch provided in The Terrace Room

Afternoon sessions take place in The Terrace Room, Hebden Bridge Town Hall

  • 14.00 pm – Mark Hopfenbeck. ‘Dialogue, values and voices in the creation of the Practical Handbooks for Mental Health’
  • 14.40 pm – Roz Austin and Mark Hopfenbeck (Editors of ‘Practical Handbook of Mental Health’). ‘Developing online resources from the Practical Handbooks for Mental Health’
  • 15.10 pm – Workshop to discuss developing online resources from ‘The practical handbook of hearing voices’
  • 15.50 pm – Feedback and close

Authors who wrote chapters for ‘The practical handbook of hearing voices’ will have the option to undertake short interviews which will be recorded for the ‘Values Based Practice’ website (St Catherine’s College, Oxford University) in The Huddle Room, Hebden Bridge Town Hall.

Call for Participants: Study on Sensory Experiences and Sense of Self

We have been asked by Dr Clara Humpston to circulate details of the following study on sensory experiences and sense of self. Clara writes:

My name is Clara Humpston and I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Mental Health, University of Birmingham. I am interested in unusual sensory experiences, such as feeling a presence and hearing or seeing things others cannot, in individuals who have never been diagnosed with a mental health condition and who may never need any kind of mental health care. I am conducting a study that looks at these sensory experiences and how they may influence the ways we construct a coherent sense of self and relationships with our bodies.

The link to the study can be found here:


Am I eligible to participate?

You are eligible to participate if you are aged between 18-60 years, have normal or corrected to normal vision and hearing and possess a high level of fluency in English. You will not be eligible if you have a current diagnosis of any psychiatric illness, are taking psychotropic medication, experience current illicit substance abuse.

What would I have to do in the study?

For this stage of the study, you will be asked to complete one questionnaire aimed at asking whether you have had any unusual sensory experiences and provide an email address for further contact by the research team where appropriate. Whilst not all participants from Stage 1 will be selected to take part in Stage 2, everyone who completes Stage 1 will be offered to enter a prize draw for a £50 Amazon voucher. If you are not selected for Stage 2, your data will be immediately deleted at the end of the selection process and no further contact will be made.

It is important to note that your participation is entirely voluntary and your decision about participation will not affect your rights in any way, nor will any negative consequence occur if you do not wish to take part. The data collected for this project will be kept strictly confidential and only the researchers linked with this project will have access. You can, of course, withdraw from the study at any point without being penalised in any way. You can also decide to withdraw your data up to one month after participation. More information about the study will be given at the end of the session.

Research ethics:

This study has been fully reviewed and approved by the University Research Ethics Committee (ERN_19-0992); thorough risk assessment and safety precautions are in place so that participants will not be harmed psychologically or physically. The information will be processed by the University of Birmingham in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018. No identifiable personal data will be published.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at any point in the study or afterwards by email. If you wish to raise a formal complaint, the point of contact should be Dr Birgit Whitman (Head of Research Governance and Integrity) who can be contacted by telephone on 0121 415 8011 or email.

Please note that this study is independent from Hearing the Voice. If you have any further queries, you should contact Clara via email.

Experiences of presence in grief: When relationships continue, what are the consequences? (18 February 2020, Durham)

18th February 2020 | 5PM-6.30PM | Institute for Medical Humanities, Caedmon Building (CA201) | College of St Hild and St Bede, Durham University | Leazes Road | Durham | DH1 1SZ

Experiences of presence are common in bereavement. The bereaved person may see the deceased, hear their familiar voice, feel their touch, smell them, or otherwise feel they are close at hand. But although common, they are experiences not without controversy. They have come under a variety of descriptions, from ‘hallucinations’, lacking in meaning, to ‘continuing relationships’, of rich personal significance.

In this talk, Dr Jacqueline Hayes (University of Roehampton) will present research that examines the functions and consequences the experiences have for the bereaved. Based on narrative biographic interviews, and an ethnomethodological analysis, she will show how the experiences can have diverse functions, from soothing to destructive. Sometimes, the experiences helped the bereaved to resolve unfinished business with the deceased; at other times, the help was with a much more ordinary problem, even a practical household task. On some occasions the experiences of presence caused the bereaved more problems; they simply pronounced the grief or continued a fraught relationship. She will share examples of each of these consequences provided by my participants, and also consider practice recommendations for helping professionals in working with wanted and unwanted presences of this kind.

Free, all wellcome. Refreshments provided.

Contact for more information about this event.

Dr Jacqueline Hayes joined the University of Roehampton in 2015 to develop teaching and research interests in the area of psychotherapy, and in particular person-centred/humanistic therapies. She is a member of the research group CREST, leading the themes: Working with voices, visions and experiences of presence; and Empowering children and young people. She is also director of the CREST Therapy and Research Clinic and acting deputy director of CREST.


Knowledge is Power: Helping people who hear voices to feel more empowered and overcome stigma


To add your name to the waiting list, complete the form here.


Free half-day training courses, Glasgow & London

Up to 1 in 10 people will hear voices at some point in their lives. It is an experience that can happen to people with a psychiatric diagnosis such as psychosis, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, anorexia and depression, as well as people who do not have a mental health problem.

Internalised stigma and disempowerment are perhaps the biggest barriers to people feeling able to talk about distressing voice-hearing experiences and find ways of managing them. There is a wealth of information available in print and online, but sometimes it can be challenging to know what to use, how to use it and how to integrate it into a supportive relationship without overwhelming or further distancing people and their loved ones.

Brought to you by Hearing the Voice (Durham University) in collaboration with Rai Waddingham (voice-hearer, mental health trainer), this workshop will explore the way in which we can use information and resources to help people distressed by their voices feel more empowered and reduce internalised stigma. It will include an introduction to Understanding Voices, a new website for voice-hearers, their families and health professionals, and ways of using this in practice, as well as exploring strategies and techniques for talking about voice-hearing in a normalising way.

This course is suitable for:

Anyone with an interest in this topic, including voice-hearers, family members, carers, mental health professionals, volunteers, social care workers, peer supporters, group facilitators, GPs and more.

Details and how to register:

The same half-day training course is offered in both Glasgow and London, and will take place at the following venues and times:

Friday 28 February, 10am-1pm (with lunch from 1-2pm)

The Albany Learning and Conference Centre

Woodlands Suite

44 Ashley Street

Glasgow G3 6DS

Tuesday 3 March, 10am-1pm (with lunch from 1-1.45pm)

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)

Rooms 1 & 2

Society Building

8 All Saints Street

London N1 9RL

The training is free to attend and runs from 10am to 1pm, with lunch provided at 1pm. Certificates will be available at the end of the course. If you would like to attend, please register here.

Travel bursaries are available for voice-hearers and Hearing Voices Groups who wish to attend the course.

Places are limited for these events, so advance booking is essential.  If you have any queries, please contact Victoria Patton.

Call for Abstracts: ‘The Practical Handbook of Living with Distressing Voices’

We’ve been asked by Roz Austin and Mark Hopfenbeck to circulate the following call for abstracts:

The Practical Handbook for living with distressing voices is the third book in a series of ‘practical handbooks’ on different mental health issues, edited by Roz Austin and Mark Hopfenbeck. Current research suggests that as many as 500,000 persons in the UK experience distressing voices every year. The Living with distressing voices handbook will offer a unique range of perspectives on the interventions or activities that may help voice-hearers to cope better with their voices. The majority of its chapters will be co-written by a voice-hearer and a relative or mental health professional. This book will offer high quality, relevant chapters written by people who live with distressing voices, their relatives, and leading researchers, clinicians and therapists, and aims to improve understanding of practical ways of helping voice-hearers. The proposed publisher is PCCS Books.

The first book in this series of ‘practical handbooks’ is titled ‘The practical handbook of hearing voices’’ and will be published by PCCS Books in July 2020.

Themes for ‘The practical handbook of living with distressing voices’ include:

  • Lived experience of voice-hearers / relatives of voice-hearers
  • Working with voice-hearers who hear distressing voices (i.e. therapies, practical strategies)
  • Self-help approaches for voice-hearers who are distressed by their voices (i.e. arts, sport, hobbies)

If you’d like to contribute a chapter to The Practical Handbook for living with distressing voices, please email Roz a title and 200-word abstract by 31st January 2020.

Please note that this book is independent from Hearing the Voice. If you have any further queries, you should contact Roz.