Hearing Voices Group Toronto | Fall 2018

Ninth year. new location!
We’re moving downtown.

  • The Where
    Inner City Family Health Team – ICFHT
    4th Floor
    69 Queen St East 
  • The When
    Dates –  see poster
    Times-  6:00pm to 7:30pm

1. Take the stairs or the the smellyvator to 4th floor.

2. ICFHT operates a clinic on Thur eves which we’re not part of.  You’ll come through reception and sign in/out – be nice eh?

More about Inner City FHT : innercityFHT.ca

  • The WTF?
    What’s a hearing Voices Group?

    A Hearing Voices Group is not a clinic,
    not treatment,
    not a service,
    not a program,
    NOT an intervention.
    It is just people who get told their experiences are “not real”  Doin it for themselves… 
  • What you don’t need
    You don’t need a referral – because we don’t take them.

What do we mean by Hearing Voices?

Hearing voices as experience

“Voices” is sometimes literal – we hear voices you don’t- voices you might think are “not there” to be heard just because you don’t hear them does not make them “not there”, “not real”, it just means you don’t hear them.

Sometimes it’s metaphorical, or simply does not presuppose that voices must come from human bodies – the universe has many voices.

Hearing Voices as approach

Sometimes “hearing voices” is a broad term for an approach/ outlook/ worldview that can be used to embrace a whole bunch of experiences that have been made taboo and are often dismissed  as “not real” and/or “abnormal” but which are actually so common they are better / more usefully be classified as “pretty  bloody ordinary indeed”.

  • 75% Three-in-four humans will hear a voice no one else hears at least once – often around challenging life events, like loss of a loved one
  • 50% of people in long term marriage heard, saw, otherwise sensed the presence of their deceased spouse 
  • 22% of young people
  • About 10% of all people hear voices regularly
  • Two thirds of world leaders at the 1943 Quebec Conference did 
  • Even 38% of Doctors do it…

The majority of people who hear voices never need seek help: they find the experience valuable, useful, even enjoy it, and find it helps them in their life or work – eg many, many  writers do.

Culture shapes our experiences , research shows how people living on different continents experience voices differently.

In some cultures it is those who do not hear voices , and do not talk about it who are regarded as giving cause for concern.

In fact, if you don’t hear voices sometimes then maybe you’re missing out.

As for those who do struggle… it is often because they feel disempowered and disconnected from others , isolated. 

About 80% have experience adverse experiences like abuse, neglect, bullying in their youth.

A person given a diagnosis of “psychosis” is fifteen times more likely to have been abused as a child than a person with no psychiatric diagnosis.

sh!t is f#cked

The last two alone suggest how much this Sh!t is f#cked .

…and how much we need find our compassion.

Difficult-to-hear-voices always make sense in context of the whole-life of the person who hears them- so long as we make time and allow ourselves to really listen then we can understand.

Hearing Voices is not just about “voices”…

If you sometimes hear voices, hear other things, see things, smell things, feel things, think things that others don’t and when you try to talk top them about it they get their freak on, then give us a try because we do to.

We talk about “hearing voices” because it’s descriptive of the most common of the kind of experiences that get called names like “psychosis”. I hear voices [you don’t], its that simple.

It also tends to be the one that scares more people more shitless so they want to control and treat us like crap because they do.

Why do some people struggle? people who feel disempowered by their experience of voices are often disempowered in other aspects of their life. If we work on those, the voices can change. if we work with our voices, it can get easier to change things in our life we need and want to change.

Who can come?

if you hear voices...If you want to come, come.
If you’re only coming because someone else told you to come, then try asking them 

“have you realised how much you  sound like a ‘command hallucination’?

We are totally non-medical, non-diagnostic.

We’re a full charter hearing voices group.

The voices are real

The voices arereal
– as real as real can get.

We know that you don’t make ’em up and we know it can be a pain-in-the-ass –  almost as much of a pain-in-the-ass as pain-in-the-ass humans can be a pain-in-the-ass -or arse if you prefer.teh voices are real

We also know it can be valuable and funny and sad and insightful and scary and everything else that life can be.

If you’re struggling and want to try something new
we can share some stuff that you can try – some is really simple, some bloody hard, some might work for you, some might not. Nothing works if you don’t try it.

The only way to find out what works for you is if you try it .


Voices change

You can, if you want to, change how you experience whatever you experience, that includes voices. 

The Hardest Thing…

the hardest thing...

The hardest thing that people who hear voices have to deal with…

Our Hearing Voices group is one place you can find we try hard to not treat each other that way.

We choose not to …
-use diagnostic or medical language
-tell you what’s wrong with you, what to call yourself,  or who you are

We choose instead …
-to listen,
-to share what works for us, how we make sense of our own experience.

we envision a society that understands

We envision and enact a society that understands voice hearing, supports the needs of individuals who hear voices and views them as full citizens.
This type of society is not only possible it is already on its way.

We believe all  human experience is meaningful and understandable – if only we make time to listen, and to figure out what it means to us.

We believe the hearing voices approach is emancipatory…

Emancipatory for people who hear voices…

If I hear voices they are “my” voices: mine because it’s…

  • me who gets to hear them
  • me who gets to choose what they mean to me  
  • me who gets to choose what I do about what they say

Emancipatory for people who support loved ones who who hear voices and emancipatory for workers and for clinicians too…

seriously-folksFree yourself from the doctrinaire nonsense that says the people you care about hear voices because they haven’t taken enough tablets,  or had enough chemicals injected into their buttcheeks, that they can’t do anything for themselves, that they can’t learn and live a life worth living, and that that your role is confined to sneaking around their back and checking up on them to make sure they take their drugs.

“Hearing Voices” is not about “mental illness”

Hearing Voices is not about “mental illness” – whatever that is.
It’s not even really about illness.

It is a global emancipatory human rights movement, in 35 countries on all continents…
but mostly it’s about being human.

Heck, Canada even has a voice hearing former Prime Minister on its money…


Here’s our charter – what we’re about.

Print pdf: hvn-toronto-group-charter





Big Tom Hanks
Big Up and Big Thanks to Houselink Community Services for granting us use  of their spaces  for eight years!

please feel free to print share our poster .
Printer friendly version here: HV Group Toronto-Poster-FALL2018

About recoverynetwork:Toronto

We believe people can and do recover from "mental illness" - because we are living it. We believe in the power of supporting each other: learning from and with each other. You are welcome to join us..
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