What is a Hearing Voices Training?
This month, New Narrative hosted a Hearing Voices Facilitator Training. This training offered opportunities to connect with, support, and understand people through the experience of hearing voices. Additionally, it focused on the experiences of seeing visions, holding unusual beliefs, multiplicity, and other sensory occurrences. The training also provided those involved with the tools to advocate for, facilitate, and sustain Hearing Voices groups in the Portland area. These groups provide non-pathologizing spaces for persons who have the sensory experiences described above, and can be found in growing numbers in the United States and abroad.
Building Connections While Reducing Stigma
New Narrative Director of Peer Support Services Kells Perry focused on some ideal outcomes from the training. “My hope is that we will use the person-centered skill sets to support our participants and larger community with an experience that is often marginalized and misunderstood,” they said. “Instead of treating this experience in a pathologizing way we can now approach with validation, curiosity, vulnerability, and community, upon which the Hearing Voices model is based. This gives us a new way to explore what the experience means for the individual in a way that is supportive of the whole person and normalizes their experiences while also helping to reduce stigma in our community.” Persons with lived experience were encouraged to attend this training, in accordance with New Narrative’s emphasis on the peer support model.
When recalling some of the major takeaways, Director Perry proudly stated, “With this training completed, we now have more than 19 Hearing Voices facilitators at our agency, including staff and participants, as well as one of our community partners, Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon (MHAAO).” This training is also part of a larger dream. “Our hope as an agency is to one day create a coalition of mental health providers who will lead with this model and create new paradigms of care, in which hearing voices is representative of a spectrum of experiences, not just a diagnosis on a paper,” Director Perry noted.
Support for this training also comes from the Wildflower Alliance. Wildflower Alliance is an organization which “supports healing and empowerment for our broader communities and people who have been impacted by psychiatric diagnosis, trauma, extreme states, homelessness, problems with substances and other life-interrupting challenges.”
New Narrative continues to create spaces to amplify underserved and marginalized groups through advocacy and training. When you financially support New Narrative, you are providing necessary funding for initiatives which transform lives. Consider making a donation today.