Ron Bassman, a psychologist in Boulder is coordinating a Hearing Voices event in Boulder on Thursday February 4th that seeks to engage people who hear voices in their head. In traditional western medicine, particularly mental health care people who hear voices are pathologized and labeled as having a mental illness. Bassman and a growing number of mental health workers are trying to flip that paradigm for voice hearers and to help them find a way to live with the voices.
“The idea of these groups is a way for people who hear voices who don’t have problems with it and for people who do have problems with it, is to redefine their relationship with their voices.”
Bassman says that for the last several decades, the traditional medical approach to this issue is to try to eliminate the voices through medication “that’s not worked, and what has been found to work in various countries and is starting to come to the United States is the idea that the voices are part of a person’s unique experience and the only one that can really define their relationship to a voice is the person themselves.”
Bassman says that those who hear voices often feel isolation due to the stigma attached to the condition. “Many people who hear voices have learned very wisely not to talk about it, but if someone is having a painful experience, an emotional experience, they may want somebody to hear everything that is going on with them and once you tell somebody that you’re hearing voices then the person distances themselves, but in our Hearing Voices groups, people are free for the first time in a safe setting to talk about voices as much as they want and to listen to other people’s experiences.”
There will be a Hearing Voices informational event on Thursday January 4th from 6-8pm at the Unity Church, 2855 Folsom Street in Boulder, presented by The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care and is co-sponsored by the Center for People with Disabilities, Colorado State University Department of Social Work and Mind Freedom . Thursday’s event is the culmination of 3 days of trainings for people who have traveled to Boulder to learn how to create and facilitate a Hearing Voices group in their own area. Find out more about the Hearing Voices Network in the USA here.