Hearing Voices Cafe – Mon 14th Sep 2020

Hearing Voices Cafe

Mon Sep 14th
2pm to 4pm

Cafe & All That Jazz
72 Howard Park Ave 

Roncesvalles,  Toronto

TTC routes: 506, 501, 504 


pdf:  Hearing Voices Cafe Toronto – Sep 2020


For those willing to open themselves to listen, willing to be changed by what we might hear, and to learn from and with each other.

Please note:
If you re looking to be told what to
or for solutions or fixes…

We don’t “advocate” anything, except maybe, this:
listening to many different perspectives
and making your own choices about your own life
– and having the grace to allow others space to do likewise.

If you come to preach or judge or proselytize or victimize then…
please, save your breath, there are plenty of other places you can do that.

We especially welcome those struggling to support loved ones who from time to time finds themselves overwhelmed by life, and struggle in ways that get called “psychosis”
you’ll be able to connect with others in a similar place.

Please help us share our Poster below.


pdf:  Hearing Voices Cafe Toronto – Sep 2020

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Qallunaat ! – Why White People are Funny

Qallunaat – the Inuit word for white people, refers not so much to skin colour but to a state of mind .

In this documentary, Inuit peoples, who have had anthropological gaze cast upon them over many centuries, turn the tables and cast an anthropological-kinda lens and share their observations from their long history of encounters with peoples embodying the Qallunaat state of mind or worldview,  or way of thinking, acting and being reveals them to be, well, more than a bit odd.

From NFB Canada Website…

“This documentary pokes fun at the ways in which Inuit people have been treated as “exotic” documentary subjects by turning the lens onto the strange behaviours of Qallunaat (the Inuit word for white people). The term refers less to skin colour than to a certain state of mind: Qallunaat greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain about being cold, and want to dominate the world. Their odd dating habits, unsuccessful attempts at Arctic exploration, overbearing bureaucrats and police, and obsession with owning property are curious indeed.

A collaboration between filmmaker Mark Sandiford and Inuit writer and satirist Zebedee Nungak, Qallunaat! brings the documentary form to an unexpected place in which oppression, history, and comedy collide.”


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Jarvis Cocker keeps hearing that voice

Excellent interview with Jarvis Cocker about living at home, writing songs, writing and going to your room and trying to not make too much noise, and …

“But then the voice in my head wouldn’t give me any peace.”

“I always felt, whilst doing these things, like I was cheating. I started work on this record maybe seven years ago.

Then I was asked to play a concert in Reykjavik in 2017. I was going to turn it down, because I didn’t have a band, but the voice spoke to me again and said, Say yes. ”

I had to learn to play the songs with a band and present them to an audience, and by doing that, finish them off.”

And another voice that he hears telling him he’s too old to be a rock star…

“Oh I hear that voice all the time”

Jarvis Cocker is releasing a new album with Jarv Is, the electronic successor to Pulp, which he led for more than 30 years.
Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Jarvis Cocker Keeps Hearing That Voice

By July 6, 2020

“Here’s one of the most exciting things that’s happened to me recently,” said Jarvis Cocker, British rock’s foremost chronicler of hedonistic urges among the educated classes. One leaned in, expecting a rollicking anecdote. “I was given a membership to the London Library,” he revealed. “It’s a private library, in London, surprisingly, that’s been there for about 300 years.” (He was only off by 122 years; it was founded in 1841.)

Cocker was in New York in late February to promote “Beyond the Pale,” a seven-song album by his new band Jarv Is …, the more diffuse and electronic successor to Pulp, which he led for more than 30 years. (After the extent of the pandemic became clear, the release date moved from May to July.) He had chosen to meet in the cafe at McNally Jackson, the SoHo bookstore. Music and books meld in Cocker’s mind — a question about touring leads him to mention Richard Brautigan, and one about living part-time in France brings his thoughts about Michel Houellebecq and Emmanuel Carrère.

In 1996, when Pulp was in the midst of a run as one of Britain’s most popular and interesting bands, a Guardian writer described Cocker as “a young, gawky, bespectacled oddball” who was also the “finest wordsmith of his generation.” He’s now 56, and still has the physique of a pencil. On that February night, he was wearing burgundy corduroy pants on top of thick-heeled beige boots, below a fabulous Savile Row blazer. He spoke quietly, just above the store’s playlist of Lloyd Cole and the Blue Nile, and maintained the most assiduously unkempt hair in rock music.

While drinking green tea and pinching bits of a scone, Cocker discussed whether lyrics are important in music and how David Bowie saved him from prison, and opined on Steely Dan, Bryan Adams and broken crockery. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Is “Beyond the Pale” partly about the shrinking relevance of white people?

I hadn’t thought about that. Somebody told me the origins of “beyond the pale” is to do with when the English were occupying Dublin, and they had a section of town that was the Pale. That was where you were safe. If you went beyond the Pale, you were in the danger zone.

England is in a kind of complete nervous breakdown at the moment, with Brexit — which shouldn’t be called Brexit, because it’s really about an English myth of identity. That idea of paleness that’s represented by the things that have caused Brexit is something I would very much like to move beyond. So, yeah, I think there’s some of that.

Your mother is a councilor who supported Brexit. How did her conservative views influence you?

I’ve accepted from an early age that I’m very different from my mother. It makes me realize, there’s more to life than your political persuasions. I was loved in my household. Although I disagree with my mother, there was never really any animosity. I still love her. She embarrasses me a lot, but I’m not going to ban her from talking to me.

In a way, it might’ve been good preparation for being in a band, where you don’t agree with everyone’s opinion, no?

Yeah. I’m writing a book at the moment, and it’s sent me back to the roots of when I started writing songs. That thing of going to your room and trying to not make too much noise, but wanting to have something of your own, and inventing something that you can be the master of. When you’re living at home, you’re not a master of anything, really. You start to invent your fantasy world, which conforms to your rules. That’s like what a band is.

“The first point of contact with a song is the sound of it, or the melody,” Cocker said. “Everybody realizes that when you sing karaoke.”
Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

What kind of a book are you writing?

About 11 years ago, a festival in the U.K. invited me to do a talk. I did a PowerPoint presentation with slides, to illustrate my view of what makes good lyrics, and whether lyrics are important to songs. That talk has evolved over the past decade. The book is called “The Book Is a Song.” The conceit of it is that during the course of the book, we write a song together.

So what’s your answer? Are lyrics important to songs?

No. [laughs] I really do think that. One example is “Louie Louie” [by the Kingsmen]. In the ’60s, people thought it had obscene lyrics, but the reason why there was an F.B.I. investigation was that you couldn’t hear the lyrics. That didn’t matter, because the feel of the song was exciting.

The first point of contact with a song is the sound of it, or the melody. Everybody realizes that when you sing karaoke. The words come up on the screen, and you think, “Those are the words?” You know the chorus and two lines from the verse, but the rest is a fog. So I don’t think lyrics are that important.

Cocker onstage in Brooklyn in 2009.
Credit…Justin Maxon/The New York Times

So if “Louie Louie” is a dirty song that doesn’t have dirty lyrics, then lyrics aren’t paramount?

They are important. The written word is the nearest we can get to being inside someone else’s head. That’s kind of a magical thing, and it’s part of the magic of books. So yeah, I’ve contradicted myself. I’ve been reading lots of books that tell me that, for any statement, the opposite is also always true.

You’ve hosted a radio show for the BBC, directed videos, done a bit of acting, worked as an editor at Faber & Faber. Was there a point when you thought, “Maybe music isn’t the right job for me anymore”?

I wondered about that. But then the voice in my head wouldn’t give me any peace. I always felt, whilst doing these things, like I was cheating. I started work on this record maybe seven years ago. Then I was asked to play a concert in Reykjavik in 2017. I was going to turn it down, because I didn’t have a band, but the voice spoke to me again and said, Say yes. I had to learn to play the songs with a band and present them to an audience, and by doing that, finish them off.

The voice was telling you to get back to songwriting. But it sounds like there was another voice, telling you rock music is no place for a middle-aged man.

Oh, I’m always getting that voice. If an idea keeps coming back again and again, you have to go with it.

Thematically, “Beyond the Pale” sounds like the thoughts of a middle-aged man who was once at the center of cultural trends, no longer is and is trying to deal with that. Does that description resonate with you?

I have, in my previous musical incarnations, done pop music, which as a child was my fantasy. Like some kids dream about being a spaceman or a fireman, I thought about being a pop star. I achieved my childhood ambition and found that it didn’t give me what I hoped would come from that. To go back into making music again, I had to find a different focus.

The other thing that gets repeated through the record is an idea of going back to a basic, beginning state. The song “Must I Evolve?” came from reading a book, “The Mind in the Cave” [by David Lewis-Williams], which is about the dawn of human creativity — the first cave paintings — and an attempt to say what kind of mental change happened in Paleolithic man. Creativity is a fundamental part of being human. I guess I was trying to tap into that.

So if being a pop star is no longer appealing, what new motivation did you find?

I’ve not climbed a mountain. I haven’t discovered a new species of plant. But a song is an adventure you can have with yourself.

I should’ve known all this, really. When I went to college in London, to St. Martin’s [School of Art], I wrote a thesis about outsider artists. And then I made a TV series for Channel Four in the U.K., traveling around to speak with outsider artists. There’s a guy called Leonard Knight who built Salvation Mountain, a big, kind of psychedelic mound in the Salton Sea. There was also a guy in France who covered his house in broken crockery.

My question was always, “Why did you make this?” And they never had an answer, which was frustrating. But eventually it clicked. It had never crossed their minds to ask why. They got so much pleasure that they couldn’t stop.

Your new album is seven songs.

So many good albums are: “Fun House” by the Stooges. “Aja” by Steely Dan. There’s more than you’d think.

Is putting out only seven songs an acknowledgment that the album is dead?

No! Because I care about albums. I never made the flip to digital. I would never say, “We’re working on a new CD at the moment.” A vinyl album is the perfect form for listening to music. A side of a record, 18 to 20 minutes, is perfect. A CD, with 15 or 16 songs, is too much time. Half the day’s gone if you listen to it.

When you went to St. Martin’s, Pulp had already made two albums. Why did you put off the dream of being a pop star to attend college?

We were deeply unsuccessful. What happened was, Pulp were offered a John Peel session [for the BBC in 1981]. I’d listened religiously to John Peel from the age of 13. That was like heaven. OK! Pop stardom is just around the corner.

Right there, I decided I wasn’t going to college. I’d got a place at Liverpool University, to read English, and I deferred it. But the rest of the band, their parents were strict, so they had to go to college. The band disappeared. I was on my own in Sheffield. Pop stardom wasn’t around the corner.

Lots of people in Sheffield were joining a charismatic Christian cult. The city was falling apart, all the industries closed down, and I thought, if I don’t get out soon, I’ll end up in that cult like everybody else.

I’d been buying stuff from jumble sales, where people take unwanted clothes and household items to a church hall. I bought an old Super 8 camera and started making little films. I applied to St. Martin’s, and that was my escape.

“I’ve not climbed a mountain. I haven’t discovered a new species of plant. But a song is an adventure you can have with yourself."
Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

So when you started at St. Martin’s, you thought Pulp was finished?

Yes, I thought, bands are over, filmmaking is in. But again, the voice was still there. Steve Mackey, who became the bass player in the band, moved down from Sheffield to London, and said, if you want to play concerts, I’ll do it. The first two years, maybe we played one concert. Then toward the end of college, we got asked to play, and suddenly, people clapped. [laughs] It was like, wow, what’s happened?

Will Jarv Is … play any Pulp songs in concert, when concerts return?

We’ve done “His ’n’ Hers,” which is a pretty obscure song. We might do a couple more of the same level of obscurity. I wouldn’t want to play the ones that are really well known, because, um, I’m really mean.

No, the sound of those songs is a product of all five people in the band, attempting to stay in time with each other. It wouldn’t feel right to play “Common People,” or something like that.

In 1996, you infamously climbed onstage during Michael Jackson’s performance at the Brit Awards in order to, you said, protest the way Jackson “sees himself as some kind of Christ-like figure with the power of healing.” Did you watch “Leaving Neverland,” the recent documentary about two men who say they were sexually abused, as children, by Jackson?

I kind of purposely didn’t watch it. You know, that incident happened and changed my life forever, because of the fallout.

Do you mean negative fallout?

In the U.K., suddenly, I was crazily recognized and I couldn’t go out anymore. It tipped me into a level of celebrity I couldn’t ever have known existed, and wasn’t equipped for. It had a massive, generally detrimental effect on my mental health.

I was saved by David Bowie. There was an accusation that I’d knocked some kids off the stage. I’d been arrested. The only footage that’d been released was like a CCTV camera, and you couldn’t see what was happening. That year, David Bowie was getting a lifetime achievement award, and he had his own camera crew there. After two or three days, they released their footage, and then the charges were dropped straight away. Among many other things I’m grateful to David Bowie for, that was amazing.

There are a few lyrics on the new record that made me laugh out loud.

[Raises arms in triumph] Good. Humor is important to me, as a way of dealing with life and making it bearable.

“A vinyl album is the perfect form for listening to music,” Cocker said. “A side of a record, 18 to 20 minutes, is perfect.”
Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

One lyric, in “Swanky Modes,” was “Some still scoring cocaine/Some laid up with back pain.” That’s the one that made me think it’s an album about being middle-aged.

Especially when you come from a musical background, you hang out with people who don’t look after their health like they should. You have a group of friends, and as time goes on, some people keep drinking, some people stop drinking, some get into yoga. That’s what that song is trying to get at.

Some people make it through life and some don’t. That’s horrible. I know people laid up with back pain. Unfortunately, I know one or two people still scoring cocaine. [laughs] Those two things are both pretty tragic.

You appear to have the same waist size you did 25 years ago.

You say the nicest things.

Are you naturally thin, or do you have to work at it?

I’m not as thin as I was. I do exercise occasionally. Sometimes a bit of Pilates, a bit of yoga, a rowing machine. Don’t want to be laid up with back pain.

Given all your other media enterprises, how committed are you to music?

Without wanting to sound dramatic, I feel like it’s my calling. Even just the way I remember events, it always, like, What was in the charts at that time? I make connections to songs. If I’m running for a bus, I’ll probably be going [sings to the tune of Bryan Adams’s “Run to You”], “I’m gonna run for you.” I always have a song going through my head to the activity I’m doing. I accept the fact that that’s my thing.

Pulp hasn’t performed since 2012. Do you get information about how much money you’ve been offered for a reunion, or have you told your agents to not even mention it?

I might’ve said, “Don’t mention it to me unless it’s above a certain amount.” [laughs] There might be a reason why it would be a good idea, but I was very happy with our reunion shows. Why risk spoiling that? In five years, I might not say the same thing.

© 2020 The New York Times Company

Original: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/arts/music/jarvis-cocker-jarv-is.htmlaction=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Music&fbclid=IwAR3f0fX7hCrvZswXUFBjJX0Tvb7HdVvuhk6BXTEyJVsnShRX40LoxMkMuL8


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The origins of psychiatric diagnoses – James Davies

Ever struggled with a psychiatric diagnoses given to you?

Ever been curios about where mental illness categories come from?

ever been curious about the process by which came about a way of categorizing, talking about and thinking about human struggle and human distress?

Curious about the power that the language of mental illness holds our our lives, our discourse about human and response to human struggle?

James Davies tells the story of how he went about uncovering just how the compendium of mental disorders -DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)- was generated and the rational for the approach

“Agreement does not constitute scientific proof”.

Voting is not science.

Evidence of a majority vote in a committee of nine to twelve people in the minutes of that committee is evidence of how the members of that committee voted. It does does not by any stretch qualify as “scientific evidence”.

When James Davies went to talk with Robert Spitzer, who headed the task force of nine people driving the project to great the new diagnostic system, he asked Spritzer…

“what led you to believe you could do it this way?”

Robert Spitzer:  “Because we could”.

Not evidence of evil or evil intent, and for sure not evidence of any science or even science-y-ness, but it is the language used and the very way of thinking found at the root of all evils perpetrated and imposed by the institutions and structures we create.

How can we participate unknowingly in systems of oppression?
Because relying on our unknowingly participating and our willingness to not question and to just-go-along-with the orthodoxy is exactly how systems of oppression do work.

James Davies…

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We have had enough – Michael Jordan

I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry.
I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration.
I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism
and violence toward people of color in our country.
We have had enough.

– Michael Jordan

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COVID-19 in Toronto Shelters: Publicly Reported Numbers of Residents Who have tested positive

There is much reporting of numbers COVID-19 numbers.

REcent weeks have rightly seen a focus of attention on teh unfolding tradgedy in lon term care homes. the province of Ontario made it a priority- one of four. At eth same time it made another population a priority yet that has mot seen a similar focus of attention.

People who have been rendered  homeless, of whom Toronto has about 7,000 registered as living in homeless shelters , there are others who are without homes and live outside the shelter system and outside.

What does it look like if we plot the numbers that have been made publicly available?

Well, it looks like this…

It looks like that all-too-familar curve we’ve seen now from all those other places where officials and politicians waited for too long for data to come in telling them what they and we already know: that they should have been acting and acting decisively long ago.

Its not like there are not plenty of examples to learn from- what not to do.

Pretty scary?

No wonder folks are currently leaving shelters in droves because they don’t feel safe there and they can see too little progress, too little action and too late.

Even where numbers are reported, such a measure – of people who have tested positive – is always a lagging indicator – it can only paint a picture of what was happening  some time ago.  This is especially important since in  recent weeks we’ve learned how people don’t need to be symptomatic to transmit COVID-19.

Indeed we’ve learned in the news how  post-mortem testing has revealed that the earliest cases in both California and France occurred at least a month earlier than local public health officials had previously declared.  A month is a long time in the face of an exponential death-curve of a deadly virus.

Of course testing can only reveal if people are COVID positive if  testing is offered or available and actually conducted. People who are homeless or in shelters or living outside shelters cannot  test positive if they can’t get tested at all.Yet long after the Province of Ontario officially declared homeless persons  a priority group for testing – one of only four such groups –  when folks who are homeless go to a testing and assessment centre they more often than not get told:

“I’m not going to test you today”

While we’re all itching for uncle Doug [Ford] to let us out to play, and while distancing  rules are already being flouted everywhere by those who think the rules don’t apply to them or who have the privilege of knowing  enforcement officers will  leave them alone,  its worth bearing in mind that  unless we get this  sorted we’ll be stuck back inside in a few weeks .

To paraphrase Marvin Gaye:

What [The Fuck] ‘s Going On?

The numbers plotted in the chart below  numbers are those released officially bu City of Toronto, in the public domain.
It is true that a sizable chunk of the totals relate to one shelter where there has been a large outbreak, we only think that’s not the case on others because we have not been testing there.  It is also true that people who are homeless and not registered in shelters don’t get reported in these totals at all – even when they do get tested.

Could it be that we don’t count people when we’ve already decided as a society that [these]

people don’t count?

No two ways about it this is a fuck up, and by design by neglect or both and , dear Toronto, that’s on you, and not holding officials to account is just not good enough.

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Running The World – Jarvis Cocker

Running the World
Did you hear? There’s a natural order
Those most deserving will end up with the most
That the cream cannot help but always rise up to the top
Well I say, “Shit floats”
If you thought things had changed
Friend, you’d better think again
Bluntly put, in the fewest of words
Cunts are still running the world
Cunts are still running the world
Oh yeah
Now the working classes are obsolete
They are surplus to society’s needs
So let ’em all kill each other
And get it made overseas
That’s the word, don’t you know
From the guys that’s running the show
So let’s be perfectly clear boys and girls
Cunts are still running the world
Cunts are still running the world
Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Feed your children on crayfish and lobster tails
Find a school near the top of the league
In theory…
Source: LyricFind
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#WeApplaud #OnApplaudit: Millions pay tribute to hospital workers from their balconies

Millions of citizens in countries across Europe step out of the front door, onto the balcony or lean out the window to applaud the work of healthcare workers who  care for us and others who work in other essential services  .

What started in Italy and Spain, reached France on Tuesday  and on on Thursday evening the UK too.

From: France24.com
By: Sam BALL

On Tuesday evening, people across France gathered at their balconies and windows to clap for the country’s health workers battling the coronavirus pandemic as the country went into lockdown.

The applause was triggered by calls across social media throughout Tuesday, as the country headed towards its first night under a government enforced lockdown that has seen people prevented from leaving their homes other than to work, excercise, shop for food or get medical treatment.

Using the hashtags #OnApplaudit (We Applaud) and #TousAlaFenêtre (All at the Window), French people were asked to start applauding en masse at either 7pm or 8pm and to continue doing so at the same time every night.

It is an initiative that first started in Italy and Spain, both under lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak, and has since spread to other countries including Greece, Portugal and Switzerland.



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Reality – objective, cultural, shared and unshared

Some ideas on reality by Seth Godin: shared, unshared, objective and cultural; also context, bananas and bicycles.

Reality used to be a friend of mine.
Sometimes we impose our version of reality upon others. Sometimes others use their power to impose theirs on us.

Like when we’re told that what we’re experiencing is
“not real”.

Shared objective reality

by Seth Godin

That’s not the only way we experience the world, and until relatively recently, it wasn’t even the dominant one.

The sun rose this morning. You don’t have to agree with me, but a stranger to our disagreement would confirm that it happened.

Objective reality is measured. It’s not based on talking points. It’s repeatable and verifiable.

When humans share an understanding of how things are objectively, we’re able to make enormous progress, because this objective reality is consistent. It doesn’t matter which group we’re in, or who our leaders are. We don’t have to check with someone else before we can decide if what’s in front of us is true or not. So we can work together to build roads or bridges, to cure an illness or make an omelet.

Much of our life is actually driven by shared cultural reality instead. This is what happens when ‘we’ all agree that brides wear white, or that squirrel isn’t worth eating. There isn’t a universal ‘we’, simply groups that define themselves that way. Shared cultural reality is essential to create harmony within groups, but it can drift over time, sometimes erratically, because the compass can change. It can change when leaders insist it does, and it can change in the face of other changes in the culture.

Our cultural and our objective realities overlap and often conflict. For example, too often, we’ve made the cultural decision that people of certain races, backgrounds or genders are somehow inferior. In the face of objective reality, the cultural reality is (too slowly) changing. Shared cultural reality can stick around for a long time, again because there’s no agreed-upon compass to point to. It’s surprising but likely true that the most devout cheerleader for a given cultural tribe would have been stoned as a heretic by that same group a hundred years ago. The context shifts.

Amplified by the media, divisions over this cultural reality are getting worse. Spin, widely spread, not only seeks to divide us on cultural issues, but resorts to insisting that the objective reality that is challenging those issues isn’t real. By seeking to deny the things we ought to be able to agree on, it sets us back.

The other two corners of 2 x 2 grid are:

Unshared objective reality. This is the scientist or scholar we call a genius. Someone who sees the objective truth before the others, who is pilloried and then celebrated for challenging the status quo we all will be abandoning one day soon.

And unshared cultural reality. This is the artist, the poet or the offbeat person who is living with a different set of cultural rules than the rest of us.

The conflict of our time is between people who are challenging our shared objective reality by claiming that their shared cultural reality takes precedence over what we’ve discovered. And vice versa–objectivists who insist that cultural reality doesn’t matter. It does. It makes us human and helps us find meaning.

They’re different, but we need them both. One way to accomplish this is to not confuse them.

The banana is not a threat to the bicycle.


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Hearing Voices Group Toronto | 2020

Now in our Tenth Year !

The Mar 19th 2020 HV Group Toronto mtg
will be going to the MOVIES

6pm to 9pm
@Robarts Library, UofT


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, ask for the HV  Group or ask for Kevin
We keep a simple list- just so we know who’s ine th building-  there are no records kept.
And, 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: 
Hearing Voices GROUP Toronto-Poster-2020

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