Hearing Voices Cafe Toronto – Fall 2022


We’re back, in-person, and meeting in the cafe.

Coffee and All That Jazz

72 Howard Park Ave
Roncesvalles
T’karonto
Planet Earth

Right on the 506 TTC route.

4pm to 6pm

Big thanks to Su & David “The Jazz” for their ongoing support.



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Workshop: ACCEPTING VOICES Part 2 | Feb 2023


More Accepting

Heyo!
We’ve had a bunch of requests for more time and more stuff on what’s in our workshop that has to date been called

Hearing Voices
Workshop#1 |
ACCEPTING VOICES

So we’ve put together a sequel.

This is it

HV Workshop

ACCEPTING VOICES
Part 2 | More Accepting

THe Workshop Formally Known as
HV Workshop#1
ACCEPTING VOICES

is now known as
HV Workshop
ACCEPTING VOICES Part 1

Please notë
If you’ve not already participated in that workshop then you will need to do so first
or you’ll be wondrin’ like a wondrin’ thing:

“what the blimin’ ‘eck are they on about ?”

Are you ready for this ?

If you have already participated in out popular workshop ACCEPTING VOICES then you’ve been introduced to..


Introduction to Hearing Voices Approach

How difficulties with voices are linked with difficult life experiences

The Wormhole

A Map For Reclaiming our Power

and if you’re wondering: what’s next?

Then, you may be ready to explore more and take a next step-

HV Workshop
ACCEPTING VOICES Part 2 : More Accepting

Who is it for ??

Workers

If you work supporting people who live with difficult-to-hear-voices who are told what they experience is “not real” and who themselves are dismissed and dehumanized and called names like “difficult”.

Supporters and carers

If you support a loved one who struggles, and you struggle understanding ways you might best support them.

What if everything you’ve been led to believe about people hearing voices is mostly, well, “bollox”?

Or, if not completely bollox, then it at least limits your ability to:

  • understanding a person’s struggle with experiences like difficult-to-hear voices and others that get called “psychosis” and dismissed as “not real” ?
  • support them in navigating their struggle and finding ways they might heal, learn and grow?

Who this workshop is designed for…

Leaders

If you are in a leadership position and seeking ways to develop capacity at individual, team and organization level to support clients in ways that fully honors:

  • Truly understanding trauma and the many ways it can manifest, and in ways that are fully congruent with other approaches like harm reduction and health promotion.
  • Centering our interconnectedness and shared humanity; and drawing on them as resource and source of power and practical action for bringing change that supports community and healing.

Learning Objectives

After this workshop participants will be better able to play their role in creating spaces and relationships in which people hearing voices are more likely to find themselves…

  1. Meeting someone who takes an interest in them as a person.
  2. Amongst people who offer hope, show a way out and accept how I experience the world, and stand with me.
  3. Meeting people who accept voices as real.

And better able to form and maintain relationships with those they support rooted in healing, connecting towards finding health and learning and finding their place in the world.

What’s in it?

  • Explore more deeply into ways you can use ?The Wormhole and the Map for Reclaiming Our Power in your efforts to support individuals who struggle
  • Share resources that you can share with those you support, including..
  1. Who hears voices ?
  2. Talking With Voices
  • Introduce practices you can share and practice with those you support
  1. Managing interruptions from voices
  2. Talking With Voices
  • Share and learn together- stories and experiences you’ve already had from learning tp practice differently.
  • Connect with others learning to work in support of those who struggle to move towards healing, connecting and finding their place in the world.
  • Join with a community of practice that is informed by the International Hearing Voices Movement and individuals who experience voices.

REGISTER NOW

Register ONLINE NOW at our Eventbrite page.
You can use the direct registration box embedded from Eventbrite below..

Facilitators

Kevin Healey

…hears more voices than you can shake a stick at, so many that even his voices hear voices, and has done so for longer than either he – or they – care to remember but its over fifty years.Founder and coordinator of http://www.recoverynet.ca, Toronto Hearing Voices group, Anglophone Canada’s longest running, and of the Hearing Voices Café.Creates and delivers innovative, taboo-busting talks, trainings and workshops that enable people to find new language, and simpler ways to understand surprisingly common human experiences that we’ve made fearful and taboo, so making life even harder both for those who struggle and also for the rest of us to understand.Shows how we can make simple sense of trauma, pain, psychosis, taboo, and butt-hurt voices, and how they interweave and interconnect our inner-struggle with living in an outer-world that is fast becoming unfit for humans who built it and in which we keep creating results that nobody wants. After you’ve heard him talk you may join those who say they don’t hear voices but now wish they could.

Dave U

For many years Dave would only say only one word, now he authors articles at http://www.recoverynet.ca and moderates online support groups for voices to talk directly with each other round the world, he codesigned this workshop – in fact there’s a lot of Dave in this workshop – if you come you’ll get to meet him/ them.

Enjoys creating memes: out of things voices say, about living in a universe that mostly comprises what he refers to as The Weird, and his own wry observations on the human obsession with calling each other horrible names, categorizing and crushing each other into boxes that don’t fit.As Dave points out, voices have stories too.

Dave’s favourite pastime is pretending to be a jelly while swearing a lot.

Next is remarking upon how “voices” and “humans” behave in ways that are often very much the-one-is–like-the-other. Dave doesn’t really have a bio – like other superheroes he has an “Origins Story”, and like “The Truth…”, at least some of it, is already “ Out There…”

Venue

Please note:

The venue is 1st floor up two flights of stairs.

Accessibility will be difficult is stars are a challenge

There is a non-gendered disabled washroom facility on the ground floor.

Other washrooms are also available in the basement, down other flight of stairs.

_________________________________________________________________________

About “Hearing Voices”

Why we choose to use the term hearing voices, what we mean by it…

Hearing voices is intentional, ordinary language descriptive of a range of human experiences that in Western cultures has been mystified and made taboo, and that we have been taught to fear – and yet which are also remarkably common, likely much more common than you think. No everyone uses this language, all kinds of people live with experiences they might call voices, some choose other languages.

Hearing voices does not presuppose neither that a voice can only come from a human body, nor must be heard by more than one person, or more especially must be also heard by someone called a “mental health professional” .

Hearing Voices as Approach also refers to broadly emancipatory ideas and ways of working that accepts such experiences as very real and meaningful- if sometimes difficult to live with, and that seeks to share ways we can learn to live with such difficult experiences and support and connect with each other.

This approach also includes many other similar experiences that can be hard to live with and harder to talk about and make sense of.

When we learn to put aside our fear of both ourselves and each other we generate possibilities, to create new roles, to connect with each other, and to find richer experiences of being human and co-create a world that’s easier to live in for all of us.

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Workshop: UN_ESCALATE – Mon.27 & Tue.28 FEB 2023


Why “UN_ESCALATE” ?

A

As if it were not abundantly so before, the last two years has made crystal clear the extent to which just how stressed beyond limits are our systems and individuals who work in them and those they are intended to serve.

When most stressed we tend to default mode and talk of escalation – de-escalation, and place expectation on staff to be experts in deescalating those said to be in-need-of “de-escalation”.

We create a completely bonkers binary of escalate<>deescalate, in which we assume and expect that:

  • those we call “clients” [amongst other terms] will act in a way we get to call “escalate”
  • and those we call “workers” are then tasked “deescalate” them.

And, so doing, we keep creating results that nobody wants:

including but not limited to “burnout”, which in turn generates more “escalation”.

This is perhaps an unintended consequences a system strained beyond limits, and experienced as injurious and oppressive, and all this in a system espousing important principles of “anti-oppression” and “trauma informed”.

Q. How can we begin to question current practices and habits and the underlying assumptions they are built upon and limited by ?

Q. How might we stand back and examine eth mindset – habits of thinking – and the orthodoxy lays the foundations of this and thus creates the patterns we see repeated dozens of times a week, even each day ?

Q. How might we begin to look at how we design and deliver services?

Q How might we begin to build approaches and practices at individual team and organization level rooted less in fear, containment and control but in connecting and healing?

Please note:
If you’re looking for the kind of training that offers something like…
“Three easy steps you can use to deescalate anyone, any time”,
then UN_ESCALATE really is not it

UN_ESCALATE is…

  • Different, and intentionally so.
  • Starts in a different place and carves a different path.
  • Shares ideas, tools from many sources including: systems thinking and relational dynamics, peace building, peer support, health promotion.
  • Focused on ways we can critically examine how services are designed and operated , to not do – or to undo – some of the many things that get done to people who access services that lead them to react in ways that get called “escalating” and results in them being deemed a “person in need of de-escalation”. 

If we do this then, maybe, we’ll find ourselves thinking that we need to “de-escalate” another  person less often.

“Yeah, we do things round here all the time that ‘escalate’ people.”

UN_ESCALATE : Some basic assumptions.

  • No individual escalates all by themself. We each “escalate“: in response to [something in] our environment, and in context of our whole life experience.
  • Whatever a person is doing is both an expression of a deeply felt need, and a survival response.
  • Whatever survival response we tend to fall back on is likely one that we’ve learned from how life has treated us and one that’s worked so far… but is also not the only one and may not the best one for this moment.
  • The only person I can “de-escalate” is me. None of us can “de-escalate another”.
  • We can though, de-escalate the situation in which we both find ourselves.

Questions

  • Q. How might we draw upon experiences of being in the role of  worker required to “de-escalate” a person said to be “in need of de-escalation”?
  • Q. How might we draw upon experiences of having been that person said to be “in need of de-escalation”?
  • Q. How might we go beyond the operationalization, steps, and rules-based approach of  “de-escalation” and instead UN_ESCALATE?

This is a TWO DAY workshop.

Two full days

IN PERSON  

a WORKshop for WORKers…

Sharing ideas, thinking tools and practical stuff you can use so you can suck less.

This workshop is designed to share some ideas , tools and approaches we can use to examine how we can change the way we approach situations in which it is usually said that an individual is “in need of de-escalation”.

  • Shares and examines some ideas on how we might look upon and understand how escalation works and how power plays out in that.
  • Creates opportunity – to use some of these ideas, individually and or in combination, to examine how we work in services in ways that lead people to “escalate” and generate practical ideas for changing how we work in these situations, including systemic changes and also personal choices we make in how we go about the work.
  • Including generating ideas for change in our workplace individual, team and organisation level – or different choices we can make starting from our next shift.
  • Skills Practice. Working in small groups, you’ll create real scenarios you come across in your work and want time to practice: thinking, doing differently, using the ideas and tools shared in parts 1 & 2, feeling how it feels in your body, reflecting and building confidence.
  • Designed as small, interactive, participatory workshop .
  • Spaces are Limited [20 spaces]. 
  • IN PERSON
  • NO ZOOM!

Facilitator:

Kevin Healey

Location:

Church of The Holy Trinity

10 Trinity Square

[next to Eaton Centre]

REGISTER NOW

Register online now via Eventbrite using the checkout box below.

If you prefer to go to the full event page at Eventbrite use this link:


https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/un-escalate-feb2023-tickets-448635850907

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HV Workshop | ACCEPTING VOICES Part 1


The workshop formerly know as :
HV Workshop#1 Accepting Voices

We’ve now added a new follow-up workshop:

Accepting Voices | Part 2

Coming soon.!!

What if everything you think you know about hearing voices is wrong?

Or if not wrong, then it at least limits your ability to:

• understanding a person’s struggle with experiences like difficult-to-hear voices and others that get called “psychosis” and dismissed as “not real” ? 

• support them in navigating their struggle and finding ways they might heal.?

Who this workshop is designed for…

Leaders

If you are in a leadership position and seeking ways to develop capacity at individual, team and organization level to support clients in ways that fully honors:

  • Truly understanding trauma and the many ways it can manifest, and in ways that are fully congruent with other approaches like harm reduction and health promotion.
  • Centering our interconnectedness and shared humanity; and drawing on them as resource and source of power and practical action for bringing change that supports community and healing.

Workers

If you work in health or social services, and especially supporting those who have been pushed out to the margins of society, then you likely…

  • Meet many people who live with difficult-to-hear-voices are told what they experience is “not real” and many of those who struggle.
  • Know too how that can leave you feeling uncomfortable, confused, lost, or powerless.

This workshop is designed for you.

Supporters and carers.

If you support a loved one who struggles, then you likely do too: to understand the nature of their pain and ways you might best support them and support healing.

This workshop is for you too and you are welcome to join us.

This workshop will enable you to…

  • Offer yourself as a one-person safe space to those who struggle with painful experiences that get categorised and labelled as ‘psychosis” and dismissed as “not real”.
  • Understand what hearing voices can feels like to those who experience them, those around them.
  • Open options for support other than those rooted in fear and control and – put them into practice in supportive environments that promote connection and healing.
  • Free yourself from downloading thoughts, language, and acts of stigmatization used against those who hear voices that you don’t hear.
  • Join with a community of practice that is informed by the International Hearing Voices Movement and individuals who experience voices.

Workshop #1: Accepting Voices

When

  • Mon  23rd
    JANUARY 2023
  • 9:30am to 5:00pm

Note:

  • This is a full day workshop
  • IN PERSON
  • We take an hour interval for lunch.

Refreshments:

We’ll have coffee / tea / water available

  • Lunch is not provided.
    We do take 1 hr for lunch.

Where

Church of The Holy Trinity
Trinity Square
Toronto

[East Side of Eaton Centre]

Fees

  • Worker / Full $250
  • Family Member / Carer $150
  • Concessions From $100

REGISTER NOW

Register NOW online- via Eventbrite using the ticketing box below.

If you prefer to go to the full event page at Eventbrite use the link:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/hv-workshop-accepting-voices-part-1-tickets-448493274457


More About This Workshop

This introductory and foundational workshop will open doors of new understanding, in non-diagnostic, non-categorizing ways, of a range of human experiences that get called names like “psychosis”and dismissed as “not real”, when at least to the to the person experiencing them, they are very real indeed.

This workshop is designed especially for those who work in health and social services but is open to all who want to learn how they can better support a person who struggles.

Many who find themselves struggling to support loved ones who struggle and find themselves bewildered and frustrated by the help offered by services have also attended and found it useful for them. Indeed, we find it creates a richer experience when we can come together and learn with and from each other.

The world, society, and culture that we have created for ourselves and each other is not fit for humans. Join in co-creating one that is.


What Participants Have Said About This Workshop

“You gave me a whole new way of thinking about voices.”

“I’m not quite sure what I learned but I feel like my whole Universe has been tilted.”

“Eye opening, Stunned”

“Best workshop I ever attended”

“I learned more from one day with you and Dave than in seven years of training to be a psychologist”

Who needs to attend this workshop?

Really, whether you need to attend is your choice, the above is what some who’ve attended said, here’s another.

“Everyone working in mental health. Scratch that: EVERYONE !!!”

This workshop offers a beginning, an introduction to a non-diagnostic, non-medical, human experience perspective understanding of the kinds of experiences – like difficult-to-hear voices- that are often categorised as “psychosis”.

A key part is making connections between pain, trauma psychosis powerlessness and disconnectedness we can experience when we find ourselves feared and discarded by society.

Q. Do you…?

  • Work with people who hear voices and who struggle with their experience of that?
  • Have someone in your life who hears voices and struggles with difficult experiences that get called “psychosis
  • Feel limited in your ability to understand and support them?
  • Feel frustrated at how the story that voices must mean illness limits us – not only the lives of people who hear voices, but all of us?
  • Feel weary of the notion that we must fear ourselves and fear each other?
  • Want to understand connections between adverse events, trauma , injury woundedness, pain and difficult-to-hear voices.
  • Want to minimise the additional trauma generated by how services are typically designed and operated when working to support those who face being rendered powerlessness and disconnected from society?
  • Feel ready to learn more, and find you keep asking yourself “what else can I do?”.
  • Want to know more about how you can be part of creating the future, and join in with enacting a world that understands and is better able to offer real support?

Q. Are Ready to “tilt your universe”?

If so, then this workshop might help you tilt your universe and emancipate yourself with very simple and very human ways to understand and begin to act to support a person who struggles with difficult experiences that get called names like “psychosis”.

Our aim is that you can feel more confident in your ability to offer yourself as a one-person safe space to people who live with experiences that get called names like “psychosis” and that can be difficult to live with and more difficult to talk about.

Note: If you’re looking for a workshop on how to diagnose and categorise your friends, family and colleagues then please know that this workshop really is not that workshop.

Join us in enacting a world that understands voice hearing, supports the needs of people who hear voices and regards them as full citizens.

How this workshop fits with others we offer…

This Workshop is part of a structured and modular approach to learning ways of supporting people who struggle.

As a first step that is designed to offer a basic grounding but also foundation for further, deeper learning and practice in supporting people who struggle with experiences like difficult-to-hear voices that get called “psychosis”.

Participation in this workshop is step towards to other more advanced and learning opportunities, around Hearing Voices approach (sometimes called Maastricht Approach) to living with and supporting those who live with experiences that, though remarkably common, get dismissed as not real, mystified, made taboo and dismissed as “not real”.

  • Working With VoicesStarting and Sustaining Hearing Voices Groups In Your Community
  • Carnival des Voix [running your own]
  • Working with Maastricht Interview
  • Facilitating Voice Dialogue

What you can expect

This workshop is a whole day and a full one, too.

This unique and innovative workshop offers you a non-diagnostic understanding of the kinds of experience like hearing voices that are that are sometimes called “psychosis”.

We offer you simple, everyday language to show you how you can understand such experiences not as “disconnected from” but intimately connected with reality and in ways that can be overwhelming, painful, frustrating, sometimes terrifying response to the reality we share,

It also offers a framework – we call it “The Wormhole”- a heuristic that you can use to held you be more open to your own experiences draw from that to help you truly empathize and understand how better to support people who might be undergoing such difficult experiences.

You’ll leave feeling more at ease with both yourself and your ability to offer yourself as a one-person safe-space to people who struggle.

Join us in enacting a society that understands voice hearing, supports individuals who hear voices and views them as full citizens…

This workshop will enable you better to …

  • Understand hearing voices [and other experiences] as a normal human experience, that can become problematic when a person is left to struggle without support.
  • Share simple data and stories about just how common it is to hear voices – how it is not in itself a problem and many people do – some cultures regard it as bringing great benefit.
  • Peer through and beyond diagnostic frameworks – resist the urge to catalogue and categorize everything you witness as “symptom” and instead.
  • Take an interest in the person struggling with their experience of voices and other experiences called “psychosis” as a human being having a hard time.
  • Begin to accept even the most difficult of human experiences as something that can be understood, explored and even valued.
  • Look within your own experience and relate with different experiences like hearing voices, visions, unshared beliefs.
  • Explore how you can be at ease in your role and be more real with people who have difficult experiences.
  • Offer yourself as a one-person safe-space to people who struggle with experiences like hearing voices.
  • Connect yourself with a community of people doing just that.

We believe the hearing voices approach is part of broader human liberatory approaches around the world and is emancipatory for all. As Lilla Watson is credited with put it so wonderfully…

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Workshop design…

This is an intensive workshop covering a lot of ground, together we will :

  • Gain insights from people who hear voices, and from others who work with people who hear voices.
  • Learn how we can think differently about voices and other experiences that are sometimes called “psychosis”.
  • Explore how, as workers, we can accept ourselves and each other, relax and enjoy our work: the better to offer support for people who hear voices.
  • Interact – with deep personal reflection, shared sense-making and dialogue.
  • We will also share some simple, practical approaches that you can use in your practice on return to work.
  • Connect with resources and both local network and the global hearing voices community.
  • This workshop is designed to leave you feeling more competent and confident in your own ability to offer yourself as a one-person safe space for people who hear voices.

You will not become an expert in one day but you’ll have a good basis for starting and feeling more comfortable – and more human – as you do.

Please feel free to help us let other people know about this workshop by printing, posting, distributing, however you can with your networks…

About the Presenters, Facilitators, Designers

  • Kevin Healey 

hears more voices than you can shake a stick at, so many that even his voices hear voices, and has done so for longer than either he – or they – care to remember but its over fifty years.

Founder and coordinator of http://www.recoverynet.ca, Toronto Hearing Voices group, Anglophone Canada’s longest running, and of the Hearing Voices Café.

Creates and delivers innovative, taboo-busting talks, trainings and workshops that enable people to find new language, and simpler ways to understand surprisingly common human experiences that we’ve made fearful and taboo, so making life even harder both for those who struggle and also for the rest of us to understand.

Shows how we can make simple sense of trauma, pain, psychosis, taboo, and butt-hurt voices, and how they interweave and interconnect our inner-struggle with living in an outer-world that is fast becoming unfit for humans who built it and in which we keep creating results that nobody wants. After you’ve heard him talk you may join those who say they don’t hear voices but now wish they could.

  • Dave U

For many years Dave would only say only one word, now he authors articles at http://www.recoverynet.ca and moderates online support groups for voices to talk directly with each other round the world, he codesigned this workshop – in fact there’s a lot of Dave in this workshop – if you come you’ll get to meet him/ them.

Enjoys creating memes: out of things voices say, about living in a universe that mostly comprises what he refers to as The Weird, and his own wry observations on the human obsession with calling each other horrible names, categorizing and crushing each other into boxes that don’t fit.

As Dave points out, voices have stories too.

Dave’s favourite pastime is pretending to be a jelly while swearing a lot.

Next second is remarking upon how “voices” and “humans” behave in ways that are often very much the-one-is–like-the-other. Dave doesn’t really have a bio – like other superheroes he has an “Origins Story”, and like “The Truth…”, at least some of it, is already “ Out There…”

  • Mark Roininen

Mark has many years experience as “worker” with a major social services agency, and has worked with many who struggle with the kind of experiences that get called “psychosis”.

He shares his personal perspective of how being confronted with his own dark side enabled him to relate more simply and authentically with difficult experiences of the people he works with, in-process, freeing himself from merely following “the script” and playing “invisible worker” so that he can be both more professional and more human.

His ability to share stories of his own experience of learning how to do this work offers others hope that they can too.

_________________________________________________________________________

About “Hearing Voices”

Why we choose to use the term hearing voices, what we mean by it…

Hearing voices is intentional, ordinary language descriptive of a range of human experiences that in Western cultures has been mystified and made taboo, and that we have been taught to fear – and yet which are also remarkably common, likely much more common than you think. No everyone uses this language, all kinds of people live with experiences they might call voices, some choose other languages.

Hearing voices does not presuppose neither that a voice can only come from a human body, nor must be heard by more than one person, or more especially must be also heard by someone called a “mental health professional” .

Hearing Voices as Approach also refers to broadly emancipatory ideas and ways of working that accepts such experiences as very real and meaningful- if sometimes difficult to live with, and that seeks to share ways we can learn to live with such difficult experiences and support and connect with each other.

This approach also includes many other similar experiences that can be hard to live with and harder to talk about and make sense of.

When we learn to put aside our fear of both ourselves and each other we generate possibilities, to create new roles, to connect with each other, and to find richer experiences of being human and co-create a world that’s easier to live in for all of us.

POSTER

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the callers of names cannot see us – John Trudell


The callers of names cannot see us
but we can see them

John Trudell

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Drunk on Too Much Life (Movie)


Today, September 14th, is World Hearing Voices Day.

All kinds of people all round the world hear all kinds of voices that only they hear.

Three-in-four of us will have at least one period in our life where we do too, often around significant life events like major illness loss of a loved one.

About one-in-seven of us will be hearing a voice [at least one] that only we hear right now – so that’s about 1.4billion people.

We will likely be told that what we hear- what we experience – is not “real”.

People who live in different cultures will have different ways of making sense of, different beliefs of the meaning of such experiences – and so have differing experiences of what they do experience.

Even people born congenitally deaf who have never heard a human voice, hear voices too. I have met many.

Though we don’t hear much about it, and for obvious reasons: we have made a world for ourselves in which we can’t talk about what is a very common experience, most people who hear voices are fine, even find something meaningful, sometimes spiritual about their experience. And many who do struggle find ways and the support they need to find their way too.

Of course, some people do struggle, and some struggle greatly, with what they do experience and when they do find courage to share they find that other people don’t understand and that they can be shunned, vilified and treated as monsters, or otherwise very badly, so come to struggle more, and struggle alone.

More sadly, and for those who struggle most, often the voices that they hear and struggle alone with – often relate to difficult life experiences, and often difficult live experiences in childhood.

What voices say, when, how they say it, what they sound like, how we feel when we hear them often relates to those painful past experiences – the pain of which stays rooted within us and manifests in different ways unique to each of us.

“Trauma is not a story about what happened but what we hold inside in absence of empathetic witnesses.


When we cannot speak our pain, our pain finds its own voice – and speaks –
and only we can hear.



Hearing Voices Network

The Hearing Voices Network operates around the world in more than 30 countries on five continents and for well over 30 years to connect and support those who do struggle.

World Hearing Voices Day is about celebrating that.

If you want to do something to mark the day here’s a suggestion:
You can watch a movie documentary – made in Toronto – or free using your library card.
It’ll also be coming to TVO soon.


Be ye forewarned: I’m in it- but don’t let that put you off, and feel fee to fast forward, its not about me.



Drunk On Too Much Life follows a young woman in her search for support and understanding- and too their family’s search for the same. They came to a point at which they asked of the help offered by “the system”: “‘is that it ?”

And started to look outside of what was offered from health and other services and found other ways of understanding and making meaning. Thee movie shares some of that and some of the ideas and approaches they along the way.

This is an all too common experience. When we find ourselves struggle and seek help we often find the help offered isn’t very helpful, and doesn’t, cannot, does not how how to, or is unwilling to listen, let alone understand.

And, whether we find that what is offered to us is helpful or not, we will always benefit from asking questions like: “what else is out there?

We made the kind of very human struggle living in this world that we call “mental illness” all about half-truths, lies and drugs- and who has power to decide what is “normal”and what is not.

Its time we made it about people.

It is time for a different story .

FREE:
Watch Drunk On Too Much Life
at KANOPY.COM

https://www.kanopy.com/en/product/12506952

Sign up using your library card – or student / university login.

Drunk On Too Much Life – Trailer

Drunk On Too Much Life Documentary Trailer from Parallel Vision Pictures on Vimeo.




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Hearing Voices Cafe: Toronto | Mon 12.September.2022


All kinds of people all over the world hear all kinds of voices, and see all kinds of things, think all kinds of things that others don’t.

In this culture we’ve come to believe an orthodoxy that whatever you hear see, think or feel is not also heard seen or thought re we’ve come to believe that if whatever you hear is not also heard by a “mental health professional” then its “not real”.
Well that’s just bollox from the top draw of the special chest of drawers reserved for storing the most special very bestest bollox ever.

And it leaves people trapped, trying to figure just what it is they do experience, what words to use to describe it to others, and it leaves those trying to support them trapped in endless loops arguing about what is real and what is not. “Real” – and “reality” is just a word and will never be a big enough idea to capture the entirety and the variety of what it is we can experience as humans in the world..

And it leaves those who struggle in pain in an endless search of seeking finding the right expert to give them the right diagnosis and prescribe just the right amount of just the right the right drug(s) to fix them.

When we limit ou r understanding of human struggle to a problem of brain chemicals we limit our approach to supporting them to fiddling with chemicals.

Whether or not drugs help an individual, they can never be a simple fix, can never be teh onlyt thing a person might do to find a way – their way- to live in a world that invalidates their experience, invalidates their struggle, invalidates them.

What if, rather than engage in e for instance endless, futile, debates and arguments about what, for instance a “voice” is , whether it quali9fies as “real” if only heard by one person, we instead accept that hearing that voice it is real for the person hearing it and instead ask questions like:

What does the voice say ?
What does that mean for me?
What might it mean ?
What relationship does it have with my life experiences?
What relationship does it have with the way we feel about our life in this world?
What clues might it offer that can help me figure out what needs to change?

Many cultures see value in experiences that – in this culture – we dismiss as “abnormal”, “unacceptable”, “extreme”, “symptoms” of a disordered brain.

This, even when three-in-four of us will, at some point, experience hearing a voice that no one else hears. Over eighty percent of people in long term relationships will hear, see, or otherwise feel the presence of their lost partner after they have passed away. A small study in Spain showed that even 55% of doctors report hearing a voice no one else heard..

What if everything you think you know about people hearing voices is wrong?
or, if not wrong necessarily then a least a but more utter bollox than you thought.

Welcome to the Hearing Voices Cafe.

We invite you to a different kind of conversation about what it means to live as a human being in a world made unfit by humans for humans to live it.

Hearing Voices Cafe
Monday 12th September 2022
4pm to 6pm

72 Howard Park Avenue
Roncesvalles
Toronto

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Total Utter Bollox


Q: What is the evidentiary basis of the oft repeated story that “mental illness”is caused by “chemical imbalance” in a person’s brain ?

A: TOTAL UTTER BOLLOX.




If you didn’t know already, and plenty do, you do now.

All over the media this week is the story of the publication of a new study.

The study of studies led out of UCL- University College London – by lead researcher Joanna Moncrieff looked at dozens of studies mostly funded to demonstrate connection between “depression” and low serotonin.

Despite billions having been spent over five or six decades to demonstrate such a link, there is no evidence.
Not a snitch or whiff, except the whiff of stinky arses, of corruption, lies, self-interest and oppression.

Having a simple powerful story – that the kind of struggles that get call “mental illness” is caused by faulty brain chemicals and corrected with anti-faulty brain chemical drugs is very convenient – it means we don’t have to address the real problems face in their lives.

None of this is to say that some people don’t find taking those same drugs useful, somehow, for them, or that taking them helps them manage. That’s a different matter.

They do not correct a chemical deficiency. There isn’t one to correct.

If you do take them and find them helpful, please continue. Its your right and your right to choose. Anyone who thinks they know better than and have the right to tell you what you need and what you need to do is being more than a bit of a dick.

If you’re thinking of stopping, please know that doing so suddenly can lead to chaos and feeling worse than you ever have felt.

Many people do and most who succeed do it slowly- usually really slowly.

Not many doctors know how to support their patients in reducing meds- its just not part of their training.

There are some good resources led from peer support work, based in experiences of those who’ve tried.

If you don’t know where to start looking for information you can do a lot worse that the Inner Compass Initiative:
https://www.theinnercompass.org/



Now, if you work in any role in mental health, or health, or social services and you ever find yourself repeating this story then it is surely time you stopped.
Now.

If you choose not to, then you knowingly choose to participate in this system of oppression,
and that’s entirely on you.

You can find reportage on this at any major news outlet. this one is the Guardian, there’s no paywall.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jul/20/scientists-question-widespread-use-of-antidepressants-after-survey-on-serotonin

The article is pubished by Molecular Psychiatry Journal.

The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence

Joanna Moncrieff, Ruth E. Cooper, Tom Stockmann, Simone Amendola, Michael P. Hengartner & Mark A. Horowitz 

Molecular Psychiatry (2022)



You can read the original article/report here at the website of Nature Journal (open access)

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-022-01661-0




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Hearing Voices Cafe: Toronto | Mon 8.August.2022


All kinds of people all over the world hear all kinds of voices, and see all kinds of things, think all kinds of things that others don’t.

In this culture we’ve come to believe an orthodoxy that whatever you hear see, think or feel is not also heard seen or thought re we’ve come to believe that if whatever you hear is not also heard by a “mental health professional” then its “not real”.
Well that’s just bollox from the top draw of the special chest of drawers reserved for storing the most special very bestest bollox ever.

And it leaves people trapped, trying to figure just what it is they do experience, what words to use to describe it to others, and it leaves those trying to support them trapped in endless loops arguing about what is real and what is not. “Real” – and “reality” is just a word and will never be a big enough idea to capture the entirety and the variety of what it is we can experience as humans in the world..

And it leaves those who struggle in pain in an endless search of seeking finding the right expert to give them the right diagnosis and prescribe just the right amount of just the right the right drug(s) to fix them.

When we limit ou r understanding of human struggle to a problem of brain chemicals we limit our approach to supporting them to fiddling with chemicals.

Whether or not drugs help an individual, they can never be a simple fix, can never be teh onlyt thing a person might do to find a way – their way- to live in a world that invalidates their experience, invalidates their struggle, invalidates them.

What if, rather than engage in e for instance endless, futile, debates and arguments about what, for instance a “voice” is , whether it quali9fies as “real” if only heard by one person, we instead accept that hearing that voice it is real for the person hearing it and instead ask questions like:

What does the voice say ?
What does that mean for me?
What might it mean ?
What relationship does it have with my life experiences?
What relationship does it have with the way we feel about our life in this world?
What clues might it offer that can help me figure out what needs to change?

Many cultures see value in experiences that – in this culture – we dismiss as “abnormal”, “unacceptable”, “extreme”, “symptoms” of a disordered brain.

This, even when three-in-four of us will, at some point, experience hearing a voice that no one else hears. Over eighty percent of people in long term relationships will hear, see, or otherwise feel the presence of their lost partner after they have passed away. A small study in Spain showed that even 55% of doctors report hearing a voice no one else heard..

What if everything you think you know about people hearing voices is wrong?
or, if not wrong necessarily then a least a but more utter bollox than you thought.

Welcome to the Hearing Voices Cafe.

We invite you to a different kind of conversation about what it means to live as a human being in a world made unfit by humans for humans to live it.

Hearing Voices Cafe
Monday 8th August 2022
4pm to 6pm

72 Howard Park Avenue
Roncesvalles
Toronto

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Workshop: UN_ESCALATE – September 2022


Why “UN_ESCALATE” ?

A

As if it were not abundantly so before, the last two years has made crystal clear the extent to which just how stressed beyond limits are our systems and individuals who work in them and those they are intended to serve.

When most stressed we tend to default mode and talk of escalation – de-escalation, and place expectation on staff to be experts in deescalating those said to be in-need-of “de-escalation”.

We create a completely bonkers binary of escalate<>deescalate, in which we assume and expect that:

  • those we call “clients” [amongst other terms] will act in a way we get to call “escalate”
  • and those we call “workers” are then tasked “deescalate” them.

And, so doing, we keep creating results that nobody wants:

including but not limited to “burnout”, which in turn generates more “escalation”.

This is perhaps an unintended consequences a system strained beyond limits, and experienced as injurious and oppressive, and all this in a system espousing important principles of “anti-oppression” and “trauma informed”.

Q. How can we begin to question current practices and habits and the underlying assumptions they are built upon and limited by ?

Q. How might we stand back and examine eth mindset – habits of thinking – and the orthodoxy lays the foundations of this and thus creates the patterns we see repeated dozens of times a week, even each day ?

Q. How might we begin to look at how we design and deliver services?

Q How might we begin to build approaches and practices at individual team and organization level rooted less in fear, containment and control but in connecting and healing?

UN_ESCALATE is…

  • Different, and intentionally so.
  • Starts in a different place and carves a different path.
  • Shares ideas, tools from many sources including: systems thinking and relational dynamics, peace building, peer support, health promotion.
  • Focused on ways we can critically examine how services are designed and operated , to not do – or to undo – some of the many things that get done to people who access services that lead them to react in ways that get called “escalating” and results in them being deemed a “person in need of de-escalation”. 

If we do this then, maybe, we’ll find ourselves thinking that we need to “de-escalate” another  person less often.

“Yeah, we do things round here all the time that ‘escalate’ people.”

UN_ESCALATE : Some basic assumptions.

  • No individual escalates all by themself. We each “escalate“: in response to [something in] our environment, and in context of our whole life experience.
  • Whatever a person is doing is both an expression of a deeply felt need, and a survival response.
  • Whatever survival response we tend to fall back on is likely one that we’ve learned from how life has treated us and one that’s worked so far… but is also not the only one and may not the best one for this moment.
  • The only person I can “de-escalate” is me. None of us can “de-escalate another”.
  • We can though, de-escalate the situation in which we both find ourselves.

Questions

  • Q. How might we draw upon experiences of being in the role of  worker required to “de-escalate” a person said to be “in need of de-escalation”?
  • Q. How might we draw upon experiences of having been that person said to be “in need of de-escalation”?
  • Q. How might we go beyond the operationalization, steps, and rules-based approach of  “de-escalation” and instead UN_ESCALATE?

This is a TWO DAY workshop.

Two full days

IN PERSON  

a WORKshop for WORKers…

Sharing ideas, thinking tools and practical stuff you can use so you can suck less.

This workshop is designed to share some ideas , tools and approaches we can use to examine how we can change the way we approach situations in which it is usually said that an individual is “in need of de-escalation”.

  • Shares and examines some ideas on how we might look upon and understand how escalation works and how power plays out in that.
  • Creates opportunity – to use some of these ideas, individually and or in combination, to examine how we work in services in ways that lead people to “escalate” and generate practical ideas for changing how we work in these situations, including systemic changes and also personal choices we make in how we go about the work.
  • Including generating ideas for change in our workplace individual, team and organisation level – or different choices we can make starting from our next shift.
  • Skills Practice. Working in small groups, you’ll create real scenarios you come across in your work and want time to practice: thinking, doing differently, using the ideas and tools shared in parts 1 & 2, feeling how it feels in your body, reflecting and building confidence.
  • Designed as small, interactive, participatory workshop .
  • Spaces are Limited [20 spaces]. 
  • IN PERSON
  • NO ZOOM!

Facilitator:

Kevin Healey

Location:

Church of The Holy Trinity

10 Trinity Square

[next to Eaton Centre]

REGISTER NOW

Register online now via Eventbrite using the checkout box below.

If you prefer to go to the full event page at Eventbrite use this link:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/un-escalate-tickets-385224656317

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