Supportive homes and communities

hearing voices workshop

what is it?

Hearing Voices That Are Distressing is an experiential workshop during which participants use headphones to listen to a specially designed recording. During this simulated experience of hearing voices, participants undertake a series of tasks including social interaction in the community, a psychiatric interview, cognitive testing, and an activities group in a mock day treatment program. The simulation experience is followed by a debriefing and discussion period. The workshop also includes a one hour recorded lecture, during which Dr. Patricia Deegan explores the literature and the experience of hearing distressing voices.

The curriculum for this workshop has been developed and piloted for a wide range of mental health professionals including: inpatient/outpatient psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, social workers; psychologists; direct care workers in residential, day treatment and psychosocial rehabilitation programs; mental health administrators, policy makers; and police officers, academic faculty and students.

Patricia Deegan, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and developed the workshop as part of her work with the National Empowerment Center. She also publishes and lectures internationally on the topics of recovery and empowerment. Pat is a person with a psychiatric disability, who also has experience hearing voices that are distressing.

learning more about the workshop

Dr. Pat Deegan, developer of the workshop


Dr. Pat Deegan, who developed the workshop, and Tom Grauman, the executive director of Columbian Centre (now called Vancouver Island Mental Health Society), appeared together on the CHLY radio program People First Radio (a Vancouver Island Mental Health Society initiative in partnership with Radio Malaspina Society) on April 16, 2009. You can listen to the interview or download a copy.

LISTEN  (15:24)

The workshop materials are available online at the National Empowerment Center.

attending a workshop

If you are interested in attending the workshop, contact Vancouver Island Mental Health Society to arrange to book a space. The workshop is offered on an occasional, ongoing basis.

Hearing voices that are distressing resources

The Voice Inside: practical guide to coping with hearing voices by Paul Baker

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