Welcome and Introductions
We are a collective of people who have found support through the Hearing Voices Movement that is beginning to find a home here in the United States. Many of us take part in the Hearing Voices Groups that have been springing up across the country. Others of us hope to have a group near us soon, to support voice hearers or to have many other and varied connections to the movement. We all want to have places where we can share our stories.
The Hearing Voices Network (HVN) began nearly 30 years ago in Europe. A voice hearer, Patsy Hage, and her psychiatrist, Marius Romme, were not finding that traditional approaches to what was labeled as schizophrenia were helping her at all. In fact, things were getting worse. Some of the things that were not helping included being told that the experience was not real, that the medication was the only answer and that what the voices had to say should be ignored because they had no meaning. While this approach is helpful for some, Patsy was not among them. Instead, space was created for voice hearers to speak to one another about their voice hearing experience and…anything else. What resulted put into question treatment protocols and led to a movement that understands voice hearing as:
- not necessarily a symptom of illness
- a normal part of human variation, common to between 5 and 15% of people
- not necessarily an experience that everyone wants to have ‘go away’ or stop
Things got better for Patsy once she began spending time with other voice hearers. These were people who took her stories seriously, validated them with their own experiences, shared how they have come to understand what happens for them and how best to negotiate these kinds of unusual experiences.
OurVoicesRaised was conceived as a place on the internet where we can gather to share what voice hearing (and the rest of our lives) is like across far flung parts of the United States. Its main component is a forum that is designed both for HVN groups and for individual voice hearers and their allies. Its creation is a response to the many voices who have asked for a place like this. The US lags far behind other countries in the development of Hearing Voices groups, and while the number of groups is growing larger by the day, there are still many requests from people who do not have a group nearby. OurVoicesRaised is intended to help “fill the void,” bringing us all closer together and inspiring the further growth of groups across our nation.
OurVoicesRaised understands that:
- We are the experts of our own experiences (even if we don’t always feel that way)
- Sharing our experiences, and what they mean to us, in a space that is accepting and supportive can lead to greater insight and healing
- There are many ways to understand what happens for us and none is more or less valid than another
Given that the primary purpose of OurVoicesRaised is sharing our stories, you are likely to find many links to resources and sites other than this one. We hope to focus on this one purpose and not duplicate the efforts of other great sites like HearingVoicesUSA.org, for instance.
In addition to the community OurVoicesRaised is launching, we’re also proud to announce a research initiative that has a shared purpose with the site, itself. The questionnaire we have designed offers an opportunity to tell our stories, to share our understanding of why Hearing Voices groups are useful to us and to offer a picture of what it is for us to hear voices, see visions and/or have other unusual or extreme experiences. If we've piqued your curiosity, please consider becoming involved by following the links near the top of this page!
In the days and weeks to come, this site will continue to develop. Get involved, contribute often, tell everyone about it and be a part of its growth and success as voice hearers in the US share their voices and create strong connections across the miles!