Paris: Hearing Voices Conference

Written on by Mary Angela Yancy

Thirty years ago, I minored in French as an undergraduate at Temple University. I have been dreaming of visiting France for decades. I decided to pursue an opportunity to lead a workshop at the 2023 World Hearing Voices Congress in Paris. However, I did not know how to fund this endeavor. About the same time my workshop proposal was accepted, a local organization awarded me a scholarship so I could go to Paris in October 2023. The blessing of being able to give a presentation on an international platform filled me with great joy.

The World Hearing Voices Congress offers individuals who hear voices, mental health professionals, family members, and academics an opportunity to share their knowledge and experience. 

The Hearing Voices approach originated through the work of Marius Romme and a woman to whom he was providing treatment, Patsy Hage, in the late 1980s in the Netherlands. Their collaboration was the foundation of this International movement. Now, there are 20 nationally-based hearing voices networks around the world. (Hearing Voices USA, 2024)

Locally, there is a Montgomery County Hearing Voices Network, which was the first county in Pennsylvania offering mutual support groups with individuals who hear voices.

The workshop I led discussed fruitful conflicts and finding comfort beyond fear utilizing the H.A.N.D® (Hope and New Directions) process developed and trademarked by Voice and Vision. The audience members appreciated the strengths-based aspect of H.A.N.D® which notes the dreams, gifts, and supports that an individual possesses.

Mary Speaking

A participant stated, “I appreciated your examples of how we can live peacefully with different perspectives and how not recognizing and accepting that we see things differently often leads to confusion and unnecessary conflict.” (Workshop Participant, 2024)

I really enjoyed attending the presentations held at the conference. In particular, the workshop led by Art of Voices, which is a West Balkan hearing voices network organization, was quite compelling. During their presentation, I engaged in a group art project. This collaborative effort enabled the participants to realize that our life experience is not solitary. That we are part of a larger community.  

In addition, I was moved by a film shown during the conference entitled The Voices Within. This film explored the resilience and insights of Marianne, a woman who hears voices. To learn more about the experience of those who hear voices please watch this film, which is found at https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x71tt3j. (This video is in French but you can click to see English subtitles.)

I also attended a workshop led by Dr. Seetha Subbiah regarding children who hear voices. I highly recommend her book entitled, “Did You Hear That? Help for Children Who Hear Voices.”

Attending this conference was a great experience. I eagerly await the announcement regarding when and where the next World Hearing Voices Congress will be held.


Resources:

Hearing Voices USA. (2024). https://www.hearingvoicesusa.org/about-us

Les Voix Du Dedan. (2019). Elina Chared. Film Documentaire.

Workshop Participant (2024). Paris World Hearing Voices Congress

The Montgomery County Community for Hearing Voices https://www.mchvn.org/about-mchvn

Workshop Photo by Tracey Riper-Thomas


Mary Angela Yancy

This blog was written by guest author, Mary Angela Yancy who is the Program Development and Research Associate for Voice and Vision, Inc.  She received her Master of Social Work degree from Temple University and volunteered as a Certified Peer Specialist at Norristown State hospital and Abington hospital’s Behavioral Health Unit. Dedicated to facilitating recovery and building resiliency with members of her community, Mary is passionate about people having an opportunity to grow and explore life regardless of their challenges.

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