The basic assumptions of HVM are:
- Hearing voices is a normal though unusual and personal variation of human experience.
- Hearing voices makes sense in relation to personal life experiences.
- The problem is not hearing voices but the difficulty to cope with the experience.
- People who hear voices can cope with these experiences by accepting and owning their
- A positive attitude by society and its members towards people hearing voices increases
acceptance of voices and people who hear voices. Discrimination and excluding of people hearing voices must stop.
Our aims are to:
- show that hearing voices is a normal though unusual variation in human behaviour
- show that the problem is not hearing voices but the inability to cope with the experience
- educate society about the meaning of voices so as to reduce ignorance & anxiety and to ensure this innovatory approach on voice hearing is better known by voice hearers, families, professionals and the general public
- demonstrate the wide variety of voice hearing experiences and their origins, and peoples’ approaches to coping
- increase the quality and quantity of mutual support available to all people and organisations involved in hearing voices work across Manchester
- make our work more effective and develop more non medical ways of helping voice hearers cope with their experiences
We seek to
- Improve awareness of the civil rights of people who hear voices.
- Emancipate voice hearers and people who support them.
- Educate society about the meaning of voices so as to reduce ignorance & anxiety and to ensure the innovatory approach on voice hearing is better known by voice hearers, their carers, professionals and the general public.
- Demonstrate the wide variety of voice hearing experiences and their origins, and peoples’ approaches to coping and recovering from overwhelming voices.
- Increase the quality and quantity of mutual support available to all people and organisations involved in hearing voices work.
- Develop effective and respectful ways of helping voice hearers to cope with and recoverfromdifficult voice experiences.
- Have a strong impact on mental health practice towards positively supporting people hearing voices.
- Train voice hearers and professionals in alternative approaches that serve recovery
HVM is part of INTERVOICE, an international movement, a close and respectful partnership between voice hearers – who are experts by experience, their carers and mental
health workers, academics and activists – who are experts by profession. INTERVOICE both promotes the emancipation of voice hearers and the development of best practice in working with those that hear distressing voices.
Do you hear voices?
Although it is estimated that 5-28% of people experience voices, negative community attitudes and stereotypes result in feelings of shame, fear of being ‘different’, and experiences of stigma, and staying silent about hearing voices can lead to isolation, loss of social support, and distress.
Our peer to peer group provides a safe space for people who hear voices to share their experiences within a supportive community.
Welcome to our Hearing Voices Group
Before Covid – 19 lock down we used to have a Hearing Voices and Unusual Experiences Group meeting on Wednesdays at 14.00 at Niamos.
Since the beginning of April 2020 we have been running the group online and meet on Zoom, every Thursday at 15.00.
The Group is a space where we can share our experiences and benefit from the support we can offer each other.
Although meeting online is not the same as meeting in a room together, it does have other advantages such as not having to travel to the meeting!
If you would like to join or find out more contact us here
Here are some useful links and resources that you may find helpful:
National Paranoia Network Summer Newsletter 2020: With articles about personal experiences (including from Grainne Breene and Kate Crawford from our group); stress busters and relaxation exercises etc, go here to see the newsletter
Hearing Voices England Website of the English Hearing Voices Network. One of many similar networks around the world. If you’re looking for support in your own country check out Intervoice’s National Network list. The USA network can be found here: HVN USA
Intervoice Working across the world to spread positive and hopeful messages about the experience of hearing voices. If you hear voices, know someone who does or want to find out more about this experience – then this site is for you.
Understanding Voices a website that will make it easier for you to find information about different approaches to voice-hearing and ways of supporting those who are struggling with the voices that they hear.
National Paranoia Network a voluntary organisation established to support people who express paranoia and unusual beliefs. The organisation is run by people with self experience of paranoia and hearing voices.
Strategies for coping with voices: Download Sheet The sheet lists suggestions for coping with the experiences of hearing voices, and seeing visions and having tactile sensations. It is hoped some of these ideas can help you, or someone you care about, towards living positively with these experiences and to maintain a sense of ownership over them. Remember that you are not alone: Research shows that 4% of people hear voices, this is the same number as have asthma. Voice hearers throughout history have included a great many influential people: religious prophets, doctors and psychologists, philosophers, artists, poets, explorers and politicians. This list was compiled by the Manchester Hearing Voices Group.
Strategies for Coping with Distressing Voices: Hearing Voices Network Australia Download Sheet A list of ideas for coping with difficult voices compiled by people who hear voices from the national network in Australia.
Whilst every person who hears voices is different, and finds different strategies useful, we hope this might give you some ideas to work with.
Better Sleep for Voice Hearers York Hearing Voices Group Download Sleep Booklet Many voice hearers report problems sleeping. Poor sleep can mean not being able to fall asleep in the first place, waking during the night, waking up too early or not feeling refreshed on waking. It is common for voice hearers to report that their voices are worse at night, and that the night time means they cannot use their usual coping strategies such as going for a walk. People are also often alone at night, lacking distraction, and in trying to unwind for the night, their lack of occupation may bring on their voices. This booklet, written by voice-hearers for voice-hearers, provides some tips and guidance on how people manage difficulties sleeping because of voices, visions or intrusive thoughts.
Voices & Visions #1: A straight talking introduction for parents and carers of children and young people who hear voices Voice Collective, 2012 Download Booklet No. 1 A pdf booklet aimed at parents/supporters, but also suitable for anyone else who wants to understand a bit more about voices and visions. Includes an overview of the range of experiences people can have, how this can affect them and basic tips on how to speak with your child about them.
Voices & Visions #2: A guide to coping and recovery for parents and carers of children and young people who hear voices Voice Collective, 2012 Download Booklet No. 2 A pdf booklet aimed at parents/supporters, but also suitable for anyone else who wants to understand more about how young people can learn to cope with difficult voices and visions. Includes a range of strategies, including finding safety, expressing yourself and taking the power back.
Understanding Psychosis & Schizophrenia: British Psychological Society, 2014 (Updated 2017) Download BPS Report Published by the British Psychological Society, this booklet presents “an overview of the current state of knowledge in the field, concluding that psychosis can be understood and treated in the same way as other psychological problems such as anxiety or shyness”. Read more about the report here
Power Threat Meaning Framework Johnstone, L. & Boyle, M. (2018) Download PTMF Overview Published by the British Psychological Society, this document is an overview of the PTM framework. Drawing upon a variety of models, practices and philosophical traditions, its aim is to inform and expand existing approaches by offering a fundamentally different perspective on the origins, experience and expression of emotional distress and troubled or troubling behaviour. It is the result of a working group consisting of people with, and without, experience of psychiatric diagnosis. Read more about the publication/project here