ACB – an “evidence based practice”

ACB – an “evidence based practice”

Assertive Community Borrowing

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Spot The Difference: Sewage and Mental Health

The language we use is powerful.

The language of mental health and the language of sewage treatment ar euncannily similar.

Can you spot the difference?

Here’s one observation:
It could be said that that the first is about treating shit from humans…
and the second is about treating people like shit.

Posted in bollocks, Ideas

That’s not ‘trauma’ that’s ‘traumatic’…

We have come to think and talk of “trauma” as evil things that happened to us, perpetrated by evil people.

That’s a fairly new way of thinking about it, made up on the back of an envelope by a small number of people, as a way through specific circumstances to meet a specific need of three powerful institutions, in a weird, weird time.

And if you’re one of the many who think and talk of trauma as shit-that-happened or as its refered to in some quarters, “trauma-as-event”, then you might be surprised where it actually comes from.

And you might begin to see how mistaken it is and how unhelpful it can be too for so many, and how its even at root [together with other bad ideas] of why services often suck so much.

“Trauma” is ancient Greek  for “wound” and is – even today – a direct synonym.

Trauma is not a story of what happened, it is the effect left within us.

…particularly when we’re left to deal with it alone.
…and the more so when we’re constantly inured, cajoled and conned and coerced into telling over, and over, and over, our story of what happened…
…so others can tell themselves they’re helping us…
…and tick boxes on management reports to demonstrate whatever it is they need demonstrate so they can keep getting funded
…to tick boxes.

If you want to understand better how trauma really works then here’s a simple thing you can try:

Try this: whenever you talk of trauma switch out “trauma” for “wound”, “injury”, “pain”  and see if your sentence makes sense, see if it sounds grammatically correct.

If it does not then, as Gabor Mate says…

“That’s not trauma that’s traumatic” [events].

Posted in Colonialism, Emancipate yourself..., Healing, Ideas, Trauma | Tagged , ,

Hearing Voices Workshop #1 Accepting Voices – Thu, 02 May, 2019

Limited Spaces Available.

Tilt your universe blowing your mind and / or gaining a whole new perspective on experiences that we’re taught to fear and to believe that we can’t possibly understand in simple, human terms.

We’ll be joined by some cool folks working at the intersections of trauma, psychosis, homelessness and in a system that many can see is overwhelmed and creaking at the seams.
More of the same will never be enough so how do we do different?

You can start here.

Pleased to announce, in community partnership with Inner City Family Health Team, this special opportunity to participate in our highly valued “liberating” , emancipatory”,  even “universe-tilting” Workshop #1: Accepting Voices.

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

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.

Hearing Voices Workshop#1

Accepting Voice
Thursday  2nd May  2019

9.30am to 430pm
69 Queen St East

Spaces are limited
and registration is required.

Worker          $150
Community  $125

Register Now

Online at Eventbrite:


Full description below. There’s also a [pdf] printer friendly version.

Full Workshop Description

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 diffcult-to-hear voices.
  • Want to minimise the trauma you deepen or generate in your work with those who face being rendered powerlessness and disconected from society?
  • Feel ready to learn more, ask yourself “what else can I do?”.
  • Want to know more about how you can be part of the future, join us in enacting a world that understands ?

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 hear voices and struggle.

Note: If you’re looking for a workshop on how to diagnose and categorise your friends, family and colleagues and what dehumanizing names to call yourself and them, then know that this is not that workshop.

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.

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


This Workshop is part of a structured and modular approach to learning, and is 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 prerequisite to other more advanced and learning opportunities, eg…

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

Note: If you prefer a print version of this description, try the pdf version:

Full Workshop Description

Workshop #1 Accepting Voices

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 you can use to connect and draw from your own experiences 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…

What you can expect and connect yourself with a community of people doing just that.

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.

Who this workshop is designed for…

We believe the hearing voices approach is emancipatory for all.

If, in your work, you work with you come into contact with people who hear voices and who struggle with that; and you have experienced how that can leave you feeling uncomfortable or worse, then we think you’ll find this one day workshop useful.

So, if you’re a doctor, nurse, social worker, community worker, housing worker, peer support worker, psychologist, therapist, police officer, etc. then it may be for you.

Families, carers, everyone. 
The workshop is also highly suitable for you if you love, live with, care for people in your life who hear voices and struggle with that – and you have come to realise the limitations of an approach that limits understanding to illness-brain chemicals and you are curious about how else you may understand, and what else you can do…

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 people know about this workshop by printing, posting, distributing, however you can with your networks…

Or, hand to your worker, colleague, or boss, and ask…

“Q. When are you going to do this training?”

Printer-friendly poster [pdf]
HV Wrkshp#1-Accepting Voices-Poster-02MAY2019



About the Presenters, Facilitators, Designers

Kkevin-healey-action figureevin 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.

Founder and coordinator of, 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.

Also Coordinator for the Toronto branch of ISPS-US International Society for Social Psychological Approaches to Psychosis.

Picture1Dave Umbongo
For many years Dave would only say only one word, now he authors articles at and moderates online support groups for voices to talk directly with each other round the world, and he coaches and co-presents in workshops for approaches like voice dialogue.

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.

Voices have stories too: His favourite pastime is pretending to be a jelly bean, 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 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

  • 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.
  • 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.


Posted in Event, hearing voices, psychosis

Wide Open- Chemical Brothers ft. Beck

Wide Open

The Chemical Brothers


I’m wide open
But don’t I please you anymore?
You’re slipping away from me
You’re drifting away from me
I’m wide open
But don’t I please you anymore?
You’re slipping away from me
You’re slipping away from me
Slow me down
It’s getting away from me
It’s getting away from me
It’s getting away from me
Slow me down
It’s getting away from me
It’s getting away from me
It’s getting away from me
I’m wide open
But I couldn’t see it anymore
You’re drifting away from me
You’re slipping away from me
I’m wide open
I’m wide open
I’m wide open
One day just gonna see me
Look back and forth from the ceiling
(I’m wide open) some day love’s gonna hurt me
Turn back and soon I’ll believe it
Posted in Ideas, music

Patient Medicated is NOT a Health Outcome

You wouldn’t know it sometimes, but…
Patient Medicated is NOT a Health Outcome.

Whetever else it might be, “PAtient MEdicted” is not a health outcome.

Even if services are designed to ensure workers can write, or tick the box for “patient medicated” that really is not enough
it will only ever be one step, one offering  that might be helpful.

What else can we offer ?

Even for those individuals who do find the drugs they are offered useful, it can only ever be one step.

Whetere we determine that something works or not for us, it can only be a prelude to the next question:

What else can I do?

Posted in Ideas, making sense of "mental illlness"

Is Vic There? Department S

Is Vic There?
Deptartment S

The night is young
The mood is mellow
And there’s music in my ears
Say, is Vic there?

I hear ringing in the air
So I answer the phone
A voice comes over clear
Say, is Vic there?

The night is young
The mood is mellow
And there’s music in my ears
Say, is Vic there?

I hear ringing in the air
So I answer the phone
A voice comes over clear
Say, is Vic there?

The night is young
The mood is mellow
And there’s music in my ears
Say, is Vic there?

Is Vic there?

Is Vic there?

Is Vic there?

Is Vic there?

Is Vic there?

Posted in music

MADx: Alive n Kicking – Fri 1.Feb.2019

Alive n Kicking
Friday 1st Feb.2019
9pm to midnight*
The Imperial Pub
Downstairs bar,  the back room.

Free – We welcome and appreciate your donations to our fundraising.

MADx is ..

A Celebration

  • Of what it takes to free ourselves form others ideas of who they would have us be.
  • Of life and human spirit.
  • Of people finding and using their voice.

A Performance night.

  • All kinds of performance…
    Short Stories | Spoken Word | Stand Up | Song | Stuff not beginning with S

Call For MADx Performers

We welcome new performers including first timers.
MADx Not [quite] an open mic…
If you’ve a performance in you and you’d like a slot [typically 2 to 10mins] on the MADx stage – or if you know someone who  might –
then get in touch via the website…

More Info on the website…


Old Skool- Print n Post a MADx  Poster
Printer Freindly version  [pdf]
madx alive and kicking fri 01.feb.2019.poster

More links than a sausage machine..
Facebook :
Fbook event:

Please, feel free to share this wherever you share cool stuff with cool people…


Posted in Event

Do Something. This is an emergency.

Street Nurse Roxie Danielson RN speaking at vigil for Toronto homelsss woman struck and killed by garbage truck in the early hours while sleeping in a grid in the heart of Toronto’s financial district.

Three people without homes and living on Toronto streets died in one week.

Declaring an emergency will enable officials to additional resources,  but of course it might make it look like city hierachy are not in control of the situation.

Dear Toronto,
Letting people die on your streets already looks pretty bad on you.
Letting people die on the richest streets in the country makes it look pretty bad on you to, Canada.
Do Something.

Homelessness can happen to anyone.

It happens disproportionately to people who have already been marginalised and discarded by this society – us –  for any or many of the multitude of excuses we use to justify doing that. We do it to people we regard as not like us, for reasons of  ethnicity, race, gender, poverty, ill-health and especially to those who have already experienced enough hostility since they were young.

Two people each week…
City of Toronto’s  official website reoprts deaths of people experiencig homelessness. People experiencing homelessness live on average 20 to 30 years younger. Die from causes related from living outdoors or in indequate shelter and inaboity to acckess healthcare.
For some time now two people die each week, with peaks in the heat of summer and cold of winter.

Do Something.
This is an Emergency.

Do something.
Demand your elected officials so something.
Do it now.

Do Something.
Demand Toronto declares the emergency.
Do it now.

Do Something.
Demand Toronto Mayor John Tory declares the emergency.
Tweet him.

John Tory: you’re a decent man, do the decent thing.
Do Something.
This is an emergency.
Declare it.
Do it Now.

News Report from Global News, including short Video from which this is taken…



Posted in Uncategorized

Mind, Mindfulness, Meditation and Bollocks

If you’ve been told “you should nmeditate”- you’ve been fed some right ol’ bollocks.
If you’ve been told meditation is about quieting your mind, you’ve been fed a special kind of bollocks.
Anyone who tells you that knows knob all.
But then…
Bolloxmongers will feed you any ol’ bollox.
Especially if it means they get to tick a box saying they andvanced you towards your goals and get a pat on the head and get to sneak off work early on a friday.

Now, dont get me wrong.
Testicles are tasty.

But there aint alf a right load of ol’ bollocks being put about about mind, and mindfulness and meditation .

Here’s Sahdguru busting a few myths .


How do you stop the mind’s chatter?
Why would you want to?
Billions of years have left you a mind that can do what a mind can do
and you want to shut that down?

Go ahead, try.

You can, however, stop letting it bug the freeken ass off you.
That’s entirley different.
… and its entirely do able too.

All together now…
Do do doo doo…

Sadhguru’s sitdown standup routine…

Free your mind…
[from the asshole who wants to control it]
and your ass will follow.

D’Umbongo has left the building…

Posted in bollocks, Ideas, mental illness? or..., mental skillness, Umbongoism | Tagged , , , ,