What is a Hearing Voices Group?
Hearing Voices Groups are peer support groups which provide the space to talk about experiences which may be difficult to talk about elsewhere. Everyone who attends our group, including the facilitators, have personal experience of unusual sensory perceptions.
We are interested in how each person understands their own experiences; without judgement.
Hearing Voices Groups don’t see unusual sensory experiences as a problem in themselves and recognise that some people find their experiences have a positive impact on their life, while they can cause some people significant distress.
Together the group can explore ways to learn to live well with voices and visions.
Is it group therapy?
Hearing Voices groups are peer support groups not therapy groups, although some people find being part of a group can give a sense of belonging and acceptance that can be therapeutic.
I don’t hear voices but I see/smell/taste things others do not, is the group for me?
Although the the Hearing Voices Movement started with a focus on voices, it has expanded to include other unusual sensory experiences. Our group is for people with all different kinds of experiences and understandings.
I have not had any unusual sensory experience, can I still attend?
We want to encourage inclusivity, however it is important to us that those attending have had personal experiences as it makes it easier to feel safe in opening up.
Most people will have had the odd experience under certain circumstances (bereavement, sleep deprivation, drugs). If you feel that you have had an experience you wish to explore than please do come along. It’s important that everyone is part of the group, even if it’s not something they have considered before.
We may host an open group in the future, with express consent of everyone in the group, so please contact us if you’d like to be informed if that happens.
The only exclusion to the personal experience rule is for carers/PAs supporting voice hearers to attend or take part.
Where do you meet?
We meet in a private community hub at the Canvas Cafe, which is just off Brick Lane. It’s got excellent transport links
- Aldgate East Station (District and Hammersmith & City): 7 minute walk
- Shoreditch High Street Station (Overground): 8 minute walk
- Liverpool Street (Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Overground, TfL Rail, National Rail): 10 minute walk
- Aldgate (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan): 12 minute walk
The following buses stop nearby: 67, 25, 205, 254
Is it confidential?
We aren’t huge fans of rules and regulations but this one isn’t up for debate. People sometimes discuss personal things in Hearing Voices Groups so it is important people feel safe to share. As we are a peer group, we do not need to keep notes or report anything to professionals.
Do I have to use mental health services or be referred to attend?
There are no referral criteria. Our groups are open to anyone who has ever had unusual sensory experiences, whether they have used mental health services or not. Send us an email to let us know you are coming or just rock up at 7pm on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month.
Do I have to talk?
We think people get the most from the groups when they share as well as listen, but we understand sometimes people are shy, scared or just aren’t in the mood. No-one will have to talk unless they want to.
Is the meeting open to any age group?
The group is for anyone over 18. Voice Collective site has a great site full of information for young adults and children who have experiences of voices and visions. They also have a listing of available peer support groups.
I have accessibility requirements, will you be able to meet my needs?
We really want to make our group as accessible as possible so please contact us and we will see if we can work out a way to meet your needs.
Is the venue suitable for people who use a wheelchair or have reduced mobility?
Unfortunately the Canvas Cafe is not ideal for people with mobility difficulties as it has a few stairs down to the private space we use. If this prevents you attending please let us know and we will try help you find another Hearing Voices Group that suits your availability and let you know if we find a more accessible free space.
Can I bring a carer/PA?
You are welcome to bring a carer/PA/friend to support you to attend or take part. While our general rule is all attendees should have personal experience of unusual sensory perceptions, this doesn’t apply to people attending to support a voice hearer.
I’m D/deaf, can you make any adjustments?
Please contact us to let us know what adjustments you need. Unfortunately we don’t speak BSL but we are happy for you to bring a PA or friend who can translate. We can also change the layout of the room to make it easier for you to see everyone’s faces.
I identify as LGBT+, will I be welcome?
We want our groups to be a safe space for everyone, whatever their sexuality or gender. Relationships (or lack of relationships) are often important parts of people’s lives and we want people to feel comfortable talking about their lives. We will not accept any discriminatory language or attitudes in the group.
How much does it cost?
You don’t have to pay to attend, though we encourage you to try the tasty cakes the cafe has! We have also recently drafted a constitution as an unincorporated association and are applying for funding.