As the weather gets colder here in the UK, I’m gearing up to head to warmer climes. Next month I’m lucky enough to be spending a few weeks in Australia – Melbourne and Sydney, more specifically. Whilst it’s primarily a trip to introduce my daughter to some of my closest friends, it would be weird to visit and not link with the wider voice-hearing, survivor and Open Dialogue communities. So, as well as a bit of networking I’m also going to be providing a few workshops and taking part in some dialogues as I travel.
If you, or someone you know, is based in Australia – it might be interesting to know what I’m up to. Here’s a run down of the different parts of the trip. If you’re around, feel free to book in to one of them and say ‘hi’. It’s always good to connect.
mon11feb9:30 am4:30 pmRethinking 'empowerment' & 'recovery'Aka Overcoming disempowerment and oppression9:30 am - 4:30 pm AEDT University of Melbourne, Level 7 room #704, 161 Barry Street Event Organized By: Centre for Psychiatric Nursing
In modern mental health care concepts of ‘empowerment’ and ‘recovery’ have become buzzwords, littering the pages of policies, reports and service descriptions. Over time these once radical ideas have lost
In modern mental health care concepts of ‘empowerment’ and ‘recovery’ have become buzzwords, littering the pages of policies, reports and service descriptions. Over time these once radical ideas have lost some of their zing and, at worst, become associated with experiences of individualisation, pressure and blame when recovery becomes yet another thing someone can ‘fail’ at. This workshop looks critically at the way empowerment, recovery and similar terms are used within mental health services.
Taking inspiration from civil rights movements, we will explore some of the ways in which services – and the language used – can be disempowering and oppressive for consumers, family members and practitioners who want to support people in their lives. Importantly, we will look at ways we can work together to reclaim our experiences, narrative and lives – creating opportunities for meaningful empowerment and connections.
(Monday) 9:30 am - 4:30 pm AEDT
Centre for Psychiatric Nursingcpn-info [at] unimelb.edu.au
thu14feb10:00 am12:00 amKeeping It RealFinding ways of being authentic when we speak, or work, as a survivor10:00 am - 12:00 am AEDT VMIAC Building, 1/22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East Event Organized By: VMIAC
One of the brightest and most engaging voices for change in the UK mental health system Rachel Waddingham is visiting Melbourne
One of the brightest and most engaging voices for change in the UK mental health system Rachel Waddingham is visiting Melbourne early in February and will be speaking at the VMIAC’s Offices on Feb 14 from 10.00 am to 12.00
Rachel will be speaking about the challenge of staying real to your own lived experience of recovery when sharing your personal stories with others. (see flyer for more info)
This event is free and open to all mental health consumers but please RSVP a place for catering purposes by calling VMIAC reception on 9380 3900 or emailing reception [at] vmiac.org.au
(Thursday) 10:00 am - 12:00 am AEDT
1/22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East
VMIACreception @ vmiac.org.au
tue19feb6:30 pm8:30 pmLearning from Overwhelming ExperiencesCritical Perspectives on Madness Reading Group6:30 pm - 8:30 pm AEDT Humanist Society of NSW, Australia, 10 Shepherd Street, Chippendale Event Organized By: Off The Wall
PLEASE READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY TO RECEIVE ALL THE INFORMATION. Please note: this is a READING GROUP (not a talk, lecture or support group) Critical Perspectives on Madness Reading Group invites
PLEASE READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY TO RECEIVE ALL THE INFORMATION. Please note: this is a READING GROUP (not a talk, lecture or support group)
Critical Perspectives on Madness Reading Group invites you to:
INTO THE LIGHT: CREATING A SPACE TO EXPLORE, VALUE AND LEARN FROM OVERWHELMING EXPERIENCES – with UK-based guest author RACHEL (RAI) WADDINGHAM
“I have many sanitised narratives… Each time I tell a part of my story, describe the things I hear or talk about the beliefs that have guided me, I am aware of the people listening and mindful of not being ‘too much’. Even when I share my experiences of taboo and violent voices in workshops, I use carefully crafted excepts that dance on the edge of what I think people can hear. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to explore the impact of the different narratives that I’ve lived by – the medical one as the ‘schizophrenic’, the survivor, the voice-hearer – and be curious about the bits of my experience that resist definition. The bits that feel too powerful, painful or messy to word. The bits that don’t fit neat medical categories, or even step out of sync with the survivor narratives I often hear.
In this discussion, I’m interested in exploring how these experiences can get left behind, and what we might do to create spaces where they can be acknowledged and – perhaps – learnt from. How do we free ourselves from the language of distress that we’ve been indoctrinated into?”
RAI WADDINGHAM combines personal experience of trauma, psychosis and hospitalisation with experience gained through training and practice,including working in the first UK Open Dialogue team. A voice-hearer, Rai’s work is based in the principles of the Hearing Voices Movement. She has created and managed innovative projects supporting children, young people, families, adults and people in prison who hear voices or have unusual beliefs. Rai is an international trainer and spokesperson, promoting ethical and creative responses to people in severe distress. She is a trustee of the English Hearing Voices Network and Vice Chair of ISPS UK. www.behindthelabel.co.uk
Please come prepared by reading the following texts:
1) http://www.behindthelabel.co.uk/does-language-matter/ – Symptom or Experience: Does language matter?
2) Bad Me? Learning from, and living with, toxicity (accessible when booking with trybooking)
3) On The Edge? Working With Taboo & Violent Voices: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUFin5AZzX0
Please RSVP by clicking the trybooking link above. RSVP VIA TRYBOOKING is compulsory to secure your spot and receive the texts for this month.
Tickets: $ 5-15 sliding scale. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, please email us on c[email protected] , we will find a solution!
If you’re dealing or living with restrictions (e.g. physical, intellectual, sensory or psycho-social differences) or neurodivergencies, have concerns about aspects of the workshop and would like to come, please contact us to discuss ways in which we might assist.
+++This is a READING GROUP, not a talk or lecture. We read and discuss texts together. So please come prepared by reading the papers which will be sent to you upon booking.
+++It is also NOT a support group. While sharing of personal experiences is not discouraged, the focus remains on the text and on intellectual engagement.
++Please read the texts before the meeting if you can and bring copies with you for close reading. If you’d like us to provide extra printed copies for you, let us know via email in advance.
*If you’d like to volunteer to bring snacks, tea and soft drinks, let us know – it’ll make us very happy.
Critical Perspectives Reading Group is offered monthly and facilitated by Natalia and Sarah from Off The Wall Inc. It is for anyone interested in the topic of politics and philosophy of mental distress and difference and the debates around madness. Service users, consumers, survivors of psy-care, people who assist others in professional or non-professional capacities, researchers and other enthusiasts are all welcome to attend.
Find out more about who we are on: www.offthewall.net.au
(Tuesday) 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm AEDT
Humanist Society of NSW, Australia
10 Shepherd Street, Chippendale
wed20feb5:00 pm9:00 pmDialogical approaches to supporting people, families and networks in crisis5:00 pm - 9:00 pm AEDT Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, 88 Mallett Street, Camperdown Campus Event Organized By: inside out & associates australia
Open Dialogue combines a way of understanding mental distress, a therapeutic practice and way of organising mental health and social care services. Originating in Western Lapland, and supported by an
Open Dialogue combines a way of understanding mental distress, a therapeutic practice and way of organising mental health and social care services. Originating in Western Lapland, and supported by an emerging evidence base that demonstrates exciting recovery outcomes, Open Dialogue is being implemented in a range of settings across the world (including the USA, Denmark, Italy, Australia and Japan).
The approach is systemic at heart, working with the person and those who are important in their lives (e.g. family and/or friends). Its commitment to dialogue, valuing different perspectives, transparency and continuity has inspired passionate support from consumers, carers, clinicians and managers alike – leading to its implementation in a number of NHS Trusts and gaining funding for a large RCT in England.
In this evening dialogue, supported by inside out and associations, I will be exploring my experiences of the implementation of Open Dialogue approaches in England alongside trainers-in-training on the current Sydney-based Open Dialogue course. We will explore some of the challenges in developing Open Dialogue approaches in practice, as well as some of the things that have worked. I’m hoping it’ll be an authentic and honest discussion that maintains a sense of optimism that we can work together to transform mental health and social care services. Rather than having those of us with lived experience as an ‘add on’, I’ll also be making a case for the importance of survivors being at the heart of any Open Dialogue development.
Tickets $5 (concessions), $20 (full)
(Wednesday) 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm AEDT
Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney
88 Mallett Street, Camperdown Campus
Join inside out & associates and Hearing Voices Network NSW for a one-day workshop and learn creative ways of of working with voices with Rai Waddingham! Cost… $185.00 Some subsidies are available (see registration
Join inside out & associates and Hearing Voices Network NSW for a one-day workshop and learn creative ways of of working with voices with Rai Waddingham!
Some subsidies are available (see registration form for application details)
About this workshop…
Research suggests that hearing voices is a fairly common human experience that isn’t, in itself, a sign of a mental health problem. If we know where to look, voice-hearers can be found in history books, spiritual traditions and popular culture. However, when someone feels overwhelmed by the power and intensity of the voices they hear, knowing that Gandhi and Lady Gaga heard voices doesn’t always help. Equally, a standard list of coping strategies can leave people feel isolated and hopeless rather than empowered.
Whether people feel unable to speak about the voices they hear, are afraid of sharing the details, feel stuck and talking just doesn’t seem to help or simply want to approach things from a different angle – working creatively together can provide some alternative ways to connect. Whether it’s finding a symbolic language that doesn’t trigger difficult voices, creating a playlist to communicate how it feels to hear the voices or drawing on mythology, film or literature to express experiences that are bigger than words – creativity goes beyond artist talent to thinking outside of the box. These strategies can be useful for those supporting adults, young people and children with their experiences.
This workshop explores: a relational approach to voice-hearing; ways of nurturing your own creativity as a supporter; strategies for exploring different aspects of the voice-hearing experience; strategies for coping with distressing voices, emotions and beliefs; ways of using creativity to improve people’s relationships with their experiences and feel more empowered.
About Hearing Voices Network NSW…
Hearing Voices Network NSW is part of the wider Hearing Voices Network a movement of voice hearers, professionals and carers that operates hundreds of self-help groups all around the world. Together, we are united in our mission to promote recovery and reduce the stigma associated with voice hearing voices. More information at www.voicesnsw.com.au
(Friday) 9:00 am - 4:30 pm AEDT
Croydon Health Centre
24 Liverpool Road, Croydon
Aside from that, I’m hoping to introduce Thea to some Wombats and clear out the winter cobwebs – ready for the Spring and the challenges ahead.
This year I’ll be running course in the UK, Israel, Czech Republic and Croatia … so I’m hoping for some interesting chats, challenging ideas and learning a lot from the people I meet.