Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hearing Voices - Workshop

Last week I went to a fascinating workshop called "Hearing Voices that are Distressing". It's based on the idea that a person can experience hearing voices, as someone with schizophrenia might, the same way a person can experience a physical disability by being in a wheelchair for a day.

The first part of the workshop was general discussion/information about schizophrenia/psychosis and the organization which held the workshop. Next though, was the really interesting part.

Each person put on a pair of headphones and pressed play on a tape. The tape mimiced the voices that the workshop creator has experienced in her life. Then we were put through a mock psych assessment at a contrived psychiatric hospital. We had to do a mini mental status exam, a cognitive assessment and a reading comprehension test. The "staff" (workshop leadership) behaved in a very cold and clinical (old school clinical) way. We also had to go on a "errand" out in the community and write down some information, all while wearing the headphones and hearing the voices. I was definitely a one of a kind experience.

I found that all I wanted to do was sit down and listen to the voices. I didn't want to do any of the other stuff at all, for me, it really opened my eyes to why someone hearing voices might isolate themselves. Other people found themselves listening to the directions of the voices (stop it, put your hands down etc...) while others found themselves very frightened and frustrated. And we all knew that the voices were a tape!

Afterwards there was a debrief time, and even though I'm normally a very talkative person all I wanted to do was go home and rest. I felt soooooo over stimulated. Of course I had to work though, and go to a goodbye party...

Overall, it was a great workshop, and if you ever have the chance to do something similar I would highly recommend it!

6 comments:

antiSWer said...

I love this program. Patricia Deegan and Daniel Fisher have done some amazing work. I have a great Deegan article that really inspired my interest in working with people with mental illness. I love their empowerment approach.

Bethany said...

Wow, that's completely fascinating...

cb said...

It sounds really interesting - I think I'd like to do a course like that. The only courses I've done recently are IT ones though!

talesofacrazypsychmajor said...

Wow, what a really interesting and clever workshop approach.

Reas Kroicowl said...

Fascinating indeed. I would love to do that workshop but I guess I have to be *Canadian*. =)

Still Dreaming said...

Oh Reas, you know I think you should be a Canadian :P