All about the Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa NZ

The Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa NZTe Reo Orooro is an Independent Registered Charity made up of:

  • Voice Hearers
  • Friends and Family
  • Caregivers
  • Mental Health Workers
  • Concerned Citizens

As an incorporated Society we have established rules and aims, and are run by our members voted in committee. Membership is available to anyone who would like to be part of our network. It is a small fee of $20 for waged, and $10 or services for the unwaged. Membership is not compulsory for anyone wishing to attend our events or support groups.

WHAT IS THE HEARING VOICES NETWORK?

  • We are part of an international organisation co-ordinated by INTERVOICE.  See www.intervoiceonline.org
  • The term "Hearing Voices" also includes, visions, tactile sensations and other sensory experiences.
  • It was inspired by Professor Marius Romme and Sandra Escher, authors of "Making Sense of Voices" and "Accepting Voices" and their work with the Dutch self help group "Foundation Reasonance".

A quote from Marius Romme conveys the purpose behind the setting up of the networks:

Groups need to be established in each country where people can talk about hearing voices…it takes groups of people with the same experience to change attitudes…in America and England at the moment, psychiatrists are conducting themselves as parents. My goal is not to change psychiatry, not to change parents but to offer the hearers of voices an organization through which they can emancipate themselves.”                                                           (Romme 1990)

Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa NZ Inc provides:

  • Information
  • Research
  • Resources
  • Peer Support groups
  • Public awareness events
  • Workshops and trainings 

HEARING VOICES NETWORK AOTEAROA NZ SUPPORTS RESEARCH INTO NON-MEDICAL ALTERNATIVES AND EXPERIENCED BASED RESULTS

By sharing the experience of voice hearers that have recovered, we listen to what they say has worked for them on their journeys. Giving credence to the voice of experience. The Hearing Voices Network supports research into non medical alternatives. We let our members decide what works and what doesn’t.

Coming together to share ways in which people can work to help themselves. For some it may be a simple regime of exercise that helps, others nutrition, others changing their point of view of the voices. In our groups we may discuss, meditation, acupuncture, reiki, or any other area of interest.

THE HEARING OF VOICES IS NOT AN ILLNESS, BUT A NORMAL VARIATION OF HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

Many people hear voices and lead normal lives. It is estimated that 2-5% of the population hear voices, yet less that 1% are diagnosed as unwell.

Research by Marius Romme, has shown that many voice hearers have similar content and experiences. It is how people respond to the voices that causes the distress, not the hearing of voices.  We believe that hearing of voices is not an illness but a variation of human experience. There is no scientific test that can be taken to prove schizophrenia. Despite the plethora of information of biological causes to the contrary.

Voice Hearing in bereavement is considered a normal experience. 

WE VALIDATE VOICE HEARERS BELIEFS AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO EXPLORE THEM FURTHER

We believe that voices have meaning and encourage people to look for the meaning within their voices. Often it is not literal, it may be metaphorical, or symbolic. We may discuss looking at other writings and discuss how people found the meaning in theirs.

Rather than telling people to ignore their voices we encourage exploration into all aspects and experiences of voice hearing within our support groups and in our network.  Discussing religious aspects of their voices and experiences can be a relief. 

PEOPLE HAVE ALWAYS HEARD VOICES, HAD VISIONS, AND EXPERIENCED OTHER REALITIES

People throughout history have always heard voices and had visions. There are examples in all religions and cultures in all countries. Often sharing information of these beliefs can help to normalise experiences. Examples:

  • The Aboriginal Dreamtime visions;
  • Krishna fighting the serpent Kaliya;
  • The Maori God sticks, used to invoke the presence of the Gods during rituals;
  • The false (Ka) door in Ancient Egyptian tombs, to allow the spirits to leave and enter as they wished.
  • Krishna battling kaliya the serpent
  • False (ka) doors in Ancient Egypt for the spirit to leave and enter the tomb through
  • Maori God sticks, used for the various gods to “inhabit” during important rituals. 
  • Kachina of the Zuni bear used by a Shaman 

CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS

Many cultures do not discount the experience of voice hearing, visions, etc, but deal with them from within their own basket of beliefs. These can provide important insights when learning how to deal with ones own experiences.

In other cultures voice hearers are not seen as unwell, but special members of the community. Examples shown:

  • Native Americans use sweat lodges to induce visions;
  • Blackfeet shaman, and other shamans, often perform "power dances, drummings", or dress as their power animals, journeying to the otherworlds to find their answers;
  • Christians have their own rituals and ceremonies, histories of prophets and visions within the bible that were rich in symbols, and fights with otherworldly forces;
  • In India, sadhus are treated with great respect, and use meditation and yogic exercises to have better control of their visions.

WE PROVIDE POSITIVE EXAMPLES OF VOICE HEARERS 

Within our network we like to encourage and share positive stories and examples of voice hearers. We do this by:

  • Providing Positive Role models such as Saints, Leaders, Philosophers and Artists.

St Teresa of Avila, saw visions of heaven and hell. Padre Pio had a vision of a heavenly being who thrust a lance into his soul causing agony. Winston Churchill, Socrates, Donna Summer, Sara Maitland, all have said that they have heard voices.

  • Bring together voice hearers that are not distressed together with those that are.

Looking at positive examples of voice hearers helps to remove the stigma that voice hearers feel and encourages them to see the experience as a journey rather than a destination.

We are an society run by volunteers, independent from medical services. Our committee is voted in every year at our AGM.

If you would like to see a set of our rules, please contact us and we will send you a copy. 

 

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