Hearing Voice Cymru have put together a list of the many people who make up the hearing voices movement. They have done this in recognition of the significance of their work and lives. We are grateful to them for allowing us to share their hard work by reposting the list on our site. The original list, and much more is available on thier site at http://hearingvoicescymru.org/.
This list is an acknowledgement of the many individual contributions that have been made since 1987 to improve the the lives of people who hear voices and see visions.
We have provided a photograph and a short biography of each individual listed, unless we have been unable to find one.
This is by no means a completed list and you are welcome to nominate yourself or other people you know.
We have dedicated this page to the many people, the voice hearers, experts by profession, friends and family members, known and unknown, who have played and continue to play an important role in the development of the worldwide hearing voices movement.
Last updated 1st December 2014.
Michaela Amering is a longstanding supporter of INTERVOICE. She is currently a member of the International Research Committee. Michaela is Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of Vienna, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy.
Her focus of interest is on psychosis, and the development of the families and the users movements. Her experience also includes work in community psychiatry and research in the UK and USA.
She is currently serving as secretary of the European Pyschiatric Association Section on ‘Womens’ Mental Health’ and as secretary of the World Psychiatric Association Section on ‘Public Policy and Psychiatry’. She is an executive board member of the World Association of Social Psychiatry.
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Angelo is from Italy. He is a voice hearer. He is a member of the Italian Hearing Voices Network. He has translated materials from English into Italian for publication on the Parli con Voci website. He has also translated “The Voice Inside” into Italian and this will be available soon as an e-book published by Working to Recovery Ltd.
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Paul is one of the founding members of the Hearing Voices Network in England and INTERVOICE, the influential coordinating body for the international hearing voices movement He is currently the honorary executive officer and the social media coordinator. He specialises in assisting organisations in harnessing and developing online communities to complement and support their work.
Paul is a community development and group worker. He has worked in the health care and education sectors for the last 30 years. He has a special interest in working with groups of people to find ways of help themselves overcome difficulties and problems. He has a strong commitment to forging international partnerships in the development of progressive and effective mental health services. Paul has published books and written chapters and articles for many publications on mental health issues. He provides consultancy services, lectures and trains on empowerment and recovery issues and the relationships these have to effective mental health service delivery. He works closely with the International Mental Health Collaborating Network, Hearing Voices Cymru and Working To Recovery Ltd.
Ivan Barry is from England. He is an occasional consultant, sporadic trainer, workshop facilitator & presenter in the field of hearing voices, a practitioner with 17 years experience in mental health recovery roles and patient advocacy in psychiatric settings and community landscapes.
He has worked alongside health professionals and healers as well as clients in the U.K , Egypt and the U.S.A in helping to plant plant the seeds of recovery and promote positive mental health.
He has presented and lectured in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt in 2010 and Madison, Wisconsin USA in 2011 and has helped set up and run hearing voices support groups in hospital and community settings in Coventry, England, Edinburgh , Scotland and Madison, Wisconsin USA.
Ivan has also lectured and presented on the spiritual, cultural and metaphysical aspects of hearing voices and seeing visions at Mind Body Spirit events in the UK, Egypt and the USA.
He has 6 years of providing patient representation and advocacy in various hospital settings throughout Scotland and he has presented and spoken at conferences and seminars on recovery and policy planning.
Accredited and trained in Independent Mental Health Advocacy and in person centred planning tools.
He has worked with individuals and groups as diverse as: young people in psychiatric settings, adult acute admissions into psychiatric hospitals and forensic psychiatric hospital clients in restricted environments
Dr Vanessa Beavan is a senior lecturer in the School of Psychological Sciences at the Australian College of Applied Psychology and a clinical psychologist in private practice. Her Masters thesis investigated the psychological factors associated with chronicity in people diagnosed with psychotic disorders and her PhD was a general population study exploring the experience of “hearing voices.”
She is an active committee member of the New South Wales Hearing Voices Network and of ISPS-AUS (Australian branch of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis). She is the book review editor for the journal Psychosis: psychological, social, and integrative approaches.
Sarah is from England. Sarah is a voice hearer. She established and supported the Oxford Hearing Voices Group in the 1990’s. Sarah wrote and published “Hearing Voices” an explanatory booklet and coping guide, one of the first to be written by a voice hearer.
Philip is from Australia. He is a mental health nurse and member of the INTERVOICE board. He has been a passionate advocate of the Hearing Voices approach for many years and has been able to attend all the World Congresses apart from Cardiff, where he found many kindred spirits and friends. Through his passion for advocating for a genuine human approach to voices among hiscolleagues from many professions, He has been working to establish a branch of the ISPS in Australia, which will culminated in its first AGM at WHVC in Melbourne, and has been able to contribute in a limited way (from 2000 Km away, via Skype) He was on the World Hearing Voices Congress 2013 clinical experts and advisory committee.
Philip knows and counts as friends many of the people associated with organising events and coordinating Intervoice. Recently he has been more and more involved in the Dialogical Practices movement, and is keen to explore links between the various forms of dialogical practices emerging and being adopted within the recovery and early intervention approaches – he believes these practices could form a bridge between the so far separate, and in some ways, competing, approaches for newly emerging voices and psychosis and recovery for those struggling with voices, psychosis and the effects of institutional ‘care’ – abuse, invalidation, stigma and low expectations.
He has had a long relationship with the hearing voices movement. With Gillian Haddock he carried out some of the first research in England into the hearing voices experience and worked with the Manchester Hearing Voices Group in considering ways of coping with voices outside of the medical model.
He has presented at INTERVOICE meetings and congresses and worked alongside Marius Romme and others, especially in challenging the validity of the schizophrenia construct. He also had played a leading role in the reconsideration of the meaning of psychosis and ways of assisting people with this experience.
In 2004, Bentall, wrote “Madness Explained”, in which he argued that hearing voices, hallucinations and other symptoms of “severe” mental illness are just exaggerations of quirks experienced by us all. In the book, Bentall also argues that no clear distinction exists between those diagnosed with mental illnesses and the “well”. While this notion is more widely accepted in psychiatry when it comes to anxiety and depression, Bentall insists that so called “schizotypal” experiences are also common. The publication won him the 2004 British Psychological Book Of The Year award.
He is well known as a critic of traditional western psychiatry and his latest book “Doctoring The Mind: Is Our Current Treatment Of Mental Illness Really Any Good?” (2009) explains and justifies this position.
Egan Bidois is from New Zealand and is supporter of the Hearing Voices network. Egan hears voices and sees visions, he has “embedded them” and come to peace with them in his head/life/spirit. He incorporates Maori Cultural aspects that he values, and perceives hid voice experiences in relation to Maori cultural definitions in ways that secure and cement his ongoing wellness.
He says “I do not see myself as experiencing a Mental Illness. That in some form may be interpreted as ‘a lack of awareness’. That interpretation however would be flawed. I do have awareness. A very good level of awareness. I know myself and what I experience. And that knowledge and experience is merely inconsistent with the generally accepted Clinical/Pathological interpretations of ‘Mental Illnesses’.
What I will however concede is that IF I do not manage what I experience it has the potential to create some ‘unwellness’ within me.
What do I experience? Something that I’ve experienced as a child, something that has matured as I have matured, something that was seeded within me from the beginning – even before me. In some ways I am experiencing inevitability. I am experiencing Whakapapa. I am experiencing what others before me have.
In a nutshell I see things. I hear things. I feel/sense things. On a daily basis.
Those things could be interpreted as Auditory/Visual/Tactile Hallucinations. They could be interpreted as Delusion. As Psychosis.
The fly in that ointment comes when what I experience ‘checks out’ with other people. Which it does regularly.”
He works in specialist Maori mental health services as part of a group called Whakapai – He Whakarito, for Capital and Coast District Health Board (in and aroundWellington). Whakapai are involved with delivering Cultural Training within the DHB, and with ensuring that Quality Improvement, Policy and Procedures are also inclusive of Maori perspectives and adequately reflect how we as Maori view health and healing.
Egan is also involved within a number of Tangata Whaiora circles on both a local and national level. Tangata Whaiora translates to ‘people seeking wellness’, and is a term that some Maori (and, increasingly, non-Maori) use instead of such phrases as ‘people with experience of mental illness’.
Lisa is from England. She is a pioneer. She has been developing the area of body-studies at the Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, since 1994. Her work in the area of embodiment and voice-hearing has been recognised and commended for its innovative approach to mental health research. It has been acclaimed by the Hearing Voices Network, Intervoice, and taken up in professional psychiatric contexts. She makes a substantive contribution to the fields of critical psychology and body-studies.
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Wilma is a social scientist. She is Professor of Recovery at the Hanze University of Groningen, an active member of the Dutch user-movement in psychiatry and board member of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP). She is based in Utrecht at the Trimbos-Institute (the Dutch Institute of Mental Health and Addiction). She is the leader of a user-led training and consulting company in the area of recovery, empowerment and experiential expertise of persons with psychiatric disabilities. Since 2006 she has been the Chair of Stichting Weerklank, the Dutch organisation of people who hear voices and have psychotic experiences. Publications include Samen werken aan herstel, Van ervaringen delen naar kennis overdragen (Working Together on Recovery: From Sharing Experiences to Implementing Knowledge), co-author, 2002; Stories of Recovery: Working Together towards Experiential Knowledge in Mental Health Care, editor, 2006; Lijfsbehoud, levenskunst en lessen om van te leren HEE-gesch(r)ift (Survival, life-art and lessons to learn – TREE-document), author, 2009
Marit Borg is from Norway. She is active in a European Union funded project, which involves users in training professionals about user perspectives. It is a project involving six countries. The project includes INTERVOICE members, Mervyn Morris from Birmingham, Harrie van Haaster & Sandra Escher from Holland and Alain Topor from Sweden. The project is called EX-IN (Experienced Involvement). There is a Norwegian website dedicated to the project Prosjekt brukermedvirkning (EX-IN)
Jenney is from the USA. In 1998 she assisted in coordinating a Hearing Voices Network training in Madison Wisconsin, one of the first times the hearing voices approach was introduced into the US of A.
After spending time in England to give a presentation and learning more about the Hearing Voices Network, Branks returned home and advocated for the creation of a Hearing Voices Group whose facilitator was paid by SOAR.
Since leaving SOAR in 2001, Branks has been working for herself coordinating progressive groups, innovative projects and assisting others in coordinating their own recoveries/lives.
In 2002, she was invited back to facilitate Madison Voices Group as a contractor. She has been facilitating and coordinating this group since.
In October 2006 Madison Voices group became independent from SOAR and is now a fully self-run group. Branks is still the coordinator and a facilitator.
Berta Britz is a courageous, thoughtful and compassionate leader of the recovery movement in Montgomery County, Pa, USA. She provides mentoring and fellowship to those who have been discriminated against and stigmatized because of their mental health conditions. Her most outstanding leadership role has been in developing an initiative to help people who, like her, “hear voices”. She has changed lives through her ministry, Hearing Voices and Healing, supported by Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. She advocated for and helped initiate mental health system training in the hearing voices approach. She facilitates Hearing Voices Network peer support groups and is a founding member of the Montgomery County Hearing Voices Network. She also developed and coordinates an internship for certified peer specialists (CPSs), and has mentored more than 25 CPSs, many of whom had been repeatedly refused employment opportunities and some who did not feel themselves to be ready for work; more than half are now employed.
Christine is from Scotland and is a long time supporter of INTERVOICE and has played a key role in establishing. supporting and developing of the Hearing Voices Network in Scotland.
Christine works as a psychiatric nurse (RMN) and is based in Aberdeen.
Peter Bullimore is from England. Peter is a voice hearer who spent ten years as a psychiatric patient enduring many bouts of severe paranoia. Through learning holistic approaches and with support of the Hearing Voices Network he was able to reclaim his life from the system. He facilitates a hearing voices and paranoia support group in Sheffield.
He is the co-chair of Hearing Voices Network England and business manager for Asylum Associates. He is the co-founder of the Sheffield-based UK National Paranoia Network, a self-help organisation for people experiencing extreme paranoia and delusions. Peter is a Trainer and Educator and consultant to the UK Mental Health Services. Across the UK and internationally Peter uses his experiences with madness (he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia) to provide frank and enlightening training.
Peter delivers teaching on hearing voices and paranoia internationally. He also teaches on the COPE initiative at Manchester University and currently undertakes a research post at the university looking at a collaborative working between voluntary sector organisations and the university. He is undertaking research into what recovery means from a service user’s perspective. He co-authored the workbook Asking the Questions with Paul Hammersley and Professor John Read, a guidebook around childhood trauma.
Joe Calleja has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Richmond Fellowship of Western Australia since July 2005 and has thirty years experience working with the community.
Joe has been a longstanding supporter of the hearing voices movement. He played a crucial role in the foundation of Hearing Voices Network West Australia and in introducing and supporting the hearing voices approach in Australia.
He is currently on the boards of Community Employers WA, the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Advisory Board (UWA), Institute of Public Administration Australia WA and was recently appointed to the Mental Health Advisory Council in WA. He was previously a non-government representative on the Project Steering Committee for the development of the WA Mental Health Strategic Plan 2010 – 2020. He was a high school teacher for five years before retraining as a Social Worker at the University of WA in 1980.
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John Casson carried out a groundbreaking study where he showed how dramatherapy and psychodrama could be safely and effectively used by people who hear voices. His book “Drama, Psychotherapy and Psychosis: dramatherapy and psychodrama with people who hear voices” is based on this research and is published by Routledge. He has written a five act play “Voices and Visions” also based on his research and invented the Communicube.
Jointly qualified in dramatherapy (1983) and psychodrama (1991), John is one of the most experienced British therapists in his field. During a decade in NHS adult mental health (Tameside, 1984-94), he set up the largest team of Arts Therapists in the North of England. He established a service for women survivors of sexual abuse (Casson & Corti, 1990). He later ran the first groups for male survivors of sexual abuse in Huddersfield NHS Trust (with Madeline Andersen-Warren, 1999-2000). Throughout this time he has worked with people who struggle with serious and enduring mental health problems including psychotic experiences. He registered for a doctorate at the Metropolitan University of Manchester in 1996 and completed his PhD research in 2002.
Jim Chapman is senior lecturer at Birmingham City University, England and co-ordinates a module entitled ‘Recovery Based working with Voice Hearers’. He is interested in how students acquire new skills and begin to make use of them in their routine clinical practice. Through the module, Jim has encouraged students in Birmingham to challenge their existing beliefs about ‘schizophrenia’ and helped them to begin to work with voice hearers in the way advocated by Marius Romme and Sandra Escher, and others. Jim is currently extending this work to other parts of the UK. He continues to work clinically with voice hearers within the local mental health trust.
Oyrx is from the USA an is a co-founder of the Hearing Voices Network USA. He is a leader in the international consumer/survivor/ex-patient (c/s/x) movement. Currently he is the Director of the National Empowerment Center’s (NEC’s) Technical Assistance Center. Among other responsibilities, he assists States that have an underdeveloped consumer/survivor voice to find that voice. He then works toward transforming the mental health systems in those states to become peer-driven and recovery-oriented. Prior to joining NEC, Oryx was Co-Director of the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. He helped to spearhead an innovative peer-run approach focusing on recovery, healing, and community. Oryx is also the co-founder ofFreedom Center an independent peer-run support/activist organization. Freedom Center’s purpose is to empower and support people with psychiatric labels while challenging oppressive mental health policies and practices. Oryx serves on several boards and committees internationally, nationally and regionally, including the International Network Toward Alternatives for Recovery (INTAR). Oryx volunteered for several years with MindFreedom International, directing its Oral History Project.
He is an inspiring public speaker, trainer and ambassador for the Hearing Voices Movement.
He has been active in the field of mental health since 1991, when affecting his own recovery from mental illness, he used his experiences to develop his ideas for recovery centered treatment of others. Since then he has written numerous books and papers on the subject.
Ron now works with his wife Karen under the banner of ‘Working To Recovery’, a company providing training and consultancy services in mental health a continued focus on further development of recovery based services.
Kellie Comans is from Australia, at the time of this entry (May 2014) she is 26 years old. Kellie is an expert by experience and sees herself as a change agent and advocate. Kellie is currently working at Gateway Community Health as a Community Support Worker and Group Facilitator for two young people’s innovative recovery programs.
Kellie was an instrumental part of a small working group who has developed a Community based Hearing Voices group and educational outline. It moved two service run Hearing Voices Groups into the community.
Kellie also speaks about her experience, her recovery and the Hearing Voices Network. Kellie gave a key note address at the 2011 World Hearing Voices Congress in England and at the 2013 Congress in Melbourne, Australia. She has been published in The Journal of Psychosis.
Kellie first heard voices as a small child and her experiences with voices were mostly positive until a series of traumatic experiences and hospitalisations. Heavily medicated, suicidal with no appropriate support Kellie became extremely disengaged and isolated. After a lot of trial and error Kellie’s mother finally found a service Gateway Community Health and a worker Ros Thomas who believed in recovery. More importantly they believed in Kellie.
During this time Kellie was exposed to the Hearing Voices Network and heard a lot of amazing and inspiring stories. She finally had confirmation that hers was a completely normal human experience. Hearing voices was not a sign of an incurable illness.
Kellie firmly believes that people can and do recover, that people are not defined by illness nor limited by diagnosis. Kellie was told that she couldn’t have the life she wanted, that she would need medication for ever, she was never told she could recover.
Kellie is dedicated to helping create the paradigm shift in mental health.
Cristina is from Italy. She has been a voice hearer for over 25 years and went through a period of psychiatry and medication. In 2005 she came out of that and now she is working with people who hear voices.
One of the things she does is Voice Dialogue with an organization called the Inner Team. Voice Dialogue is a conversation method in which one individual can go into a dialogue with different parts of another individual’s personality. This way the feelings, ideas and wishes of the different parts can be expressed and integrated. Voice Dialogue can also be done with people who hear voices. In this case one individual talks with the voices of a voice hearer and the voice hearer tells what the voices say in return. A lot of people find this type of Voice Dialogue very useful. You can find more info about Cristina www.cristinacontini.it and about the Inner Team on www.innerteam.it.
He is a social psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He is educated in cognitive, psychodynamic and systems therapy, Transactional Analysis and Voice Dialogue work.
Dirk has been collaborating with the Hearing Voices Project of the University of Maastricht and with Prof. Marius Romme and Dr Sandra Escher for many years. He is closely involved in working with voice hearers. Dirk developed the recovery programme, ‘Working with Voices’. He is currently preparing research on this subject. You can find out more about Dirk by visiting his website here
After her mum died she was placed in children’s homes. In later years she became homeless, she then met a man who she fell pregnant to. Kate now has four children.
Through abusive relationships and constant pressure from social services, she felt she couldn’t take anymore and made a suicide attempt. She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and given a diagnosis of post traumatic paranoid schizophrenia.
Kate facilitates and supports the Hearing Voices Group in Manchester, England
Things that help her now are working for the paranoia network, sharing her experiences with other voice hearers and people who experience paranoia.
Getting involved in a hearing voices and paranoia support group changed her life.
Michelle is a 25-year-old Irish Artist, Voice Hearer and Survivor of abuse living in Cork, Ireland. She is one of the main people involved in setting up the Hearing Voices Network Ireland. Michelle is a self-taught Mixed Media Artist as well as singer, guitarist, writer, concert curator, founder of the “Music for the Mind” Festival, social entrepreneur, spokesperson for Mental Health and Recovery and Human Rights Activists in Ireland.She is currently working on the area of understanding Voice Hearing outside the Bio-Medical model.
Michelle was a patient of the psychiatric services from the age of 17 to 23 and was admitted 17 times into psychiatric units during a time period of 6 years with the diagnosis of being a “Chronic Schizophrenic.” Along with several other unhelpful diagnoses but recently has achieved recovery without medication through educating herself on various alternative perspectives in regards to trauma and psychosis, Mental Health in general and through doing intense analytical work on herself and finding meaning in madness especially in comprehending her voices and especially through creative mediums.
Michelle has integrated a lot of approaches based on creativity and the use of the creative arts in helping people understand their experiences as well as her own and founded an organization that brought creative workshops and music concerts into psychiatric wards here in Cork. “Music for the Mind” was Ireland’s first Music Festival for Mental Health and gained national and international attention.
Michelle has done a lot of media representation in the past few years around Mental Health and has publically used her story to promote the normalization of madness and the reduction of stigma and advocating the rights of those with mental health difficulties both on radio, print, documentaries and television as well as speaking at various conferences, educating mental health teams/organizations and individuals on the Hearing Voices approach, giving lectures within Universities etc.
Michelle was also involved in setting up the very first Hearing Voices groups here in Ireland. She has worked in groups both within the psychiatric system and outside, but is mainly passionate about setting up groups that are open to everyone who hears Voices and that are within the community. She has also worked with Voice Hearers in high security settings and forensic psychiatric wards. She has established two new groups both open community groups one in West Cork and a new group in the City Center as well as helping other groups nationwide.
Michelle will be launching the Music For the Mind Festival again but this time in aid of the Hearing Voices Network Ireland and will continue to help the network evolve in Ireland as it is only starting out. Currently she is working on a new Art Exhibition based on Voice Hearers across the world and will produce 15 life sized pieces, entitled “Portrait of a Voice Hearer.” Which hopefully will be exhibited at one of the Intervoice conferences in the coming years.
Hywel is from Wales. He is a voice hearer, having heard voices since his childhood. He is particularly interested in exploring the religious and spiritual significance of the experience.
Hywel was a linguist and teacher by profession and is now retired. He has a love of the sports and arts, especially music, theatre and writing poetry.
He is the chairmand of Hearing Voices Cymru (Wales) an organisation he helped to set up in 2001. He also helped to found the Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group in 1997. Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group continues to meet to this day.
The Pembrokeshire Hearing Voices Group published Hearing Voices: An Information Pack in 1998, Mental Health Factfile in English and Welsh (1999) and Hearing and Belonging: The Newsletter Pack 2000. All of these continue to be available from Pembrokeshire Mind.
In 2002 Hywel wrote a chapter entitled “Hearing Voices Past and Present – A Users Perspective” that was published in the book “Psychosocial Interventions for People with Schizophrenia: A Practical Guide For Mental Health Workers” (edited by Neil Harris, Steve Williams and Tim Bradshaw, published by Palgrave MacMillan, 2002).
He is an honorary member of the INTERVOICE board. He has played a significant role in assisting the establishment of the international hearing voices movement. Without his support INTERVOICE would not be the organisation it is today.
Hywel supports the development of new national networks and spreading information about the hearing voices approach through the Hearing Voices Resource Pack Fund and the Hywel Davies Awards. He is also a public speaker and poet.
Brian Dawn is from England. He is the Director of Mind in Camden. His organisation with his active support has played a vital role in supporting the development of the hearing voices approach in London through the London Hearing Voices Support Project and by developing and managing the innovative Voice Collective Project for young people who hear voices and see vison. Mind in Camden also runs the Hearing Voices Prison Project. Brian and Nind in Camden have supported the establishment and development of International Hearing Voices Projects, the coordinating and charitable body that is the official organisation of the hearing voices movement and INTERVOICE.
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Indigo is from Australia. She is a recovery expert by experience. After years of life as a revolving door psychiatric patient – heavily medicated, unemployed and without hope – Indigo finally found a therapist and a keyworker who saw her potential rather than her limitations. From here the real recovery work began. Indigo’s experiences have taught her that hope is never unrealistic.
Indigo has seven years’ experience working in the community mental health sector as a facilitator, keyworker, arts program coordinator, and is currently the project manager of Voices Vic – an award-winning, state-wide recovery program for people who hear voices or have unusual experiences. Ind igo is also an independent mental health trainer, speaker and consultant, specialising in group work, art and recovery, innovation and consumer-led approaches. She mentors and trains other experts by experience to work in the sector and has spoken at many mental health conferences and public events.
Indigo also has almost a decade of experience working in the corporate sector in project management, product management, marketing and human resources. She has a PhD in Madness (University of Life) in addition to her more traditional qualifications of a Bachelor of Business, Diploma of Management and Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment. She is currently completing post-graduate studies in Psychology.
In 2013 Indigo help to organise and chaired the World Hearing Voices Congress in Melbourne. This congress was attended by over 800 people.
Senait Debesay is from Germany. Senait a member of the The efc Instituteteam, which is strongly associated with the international Hearing Voices Movement. She is a trained learning disability nurse as well as a state-recognised therapeutic educator (Diplom-Heilpädagogin (FH)).
Her special interest is in empowerment. She works in a community-based psychiatric clinic for children and young people in Hanover, Germany. Her special focus in her work with children, young people and familes are developmental issues.
She is also specialised in the topic of selective mutism.
Debesay has delivered important pioneering work in recent years as she has been applying the efc counselling approach.
Senait Debesay is also a member of the trialogical group in Hanover, as well as an efc counsellor for adults. She is also a trainer and supervisor in efc.
Yann Derobert is from France. He is a psychologist. He currently earns his living as a consultant working to establish a cooperative providing training and therapy directed toward recovery. His encounter in 2009 with members of Intervoice changed his conception of mental health and his life. Since then, he argues for a humanistic social psychology to meet the needs of people with psychological disorders. He is the initiator and coordinator of the French Hearing Voices Network. With Sonia Johnson, he initiated and co-facilitated a group of voice hearers in Mons-en-Baroeul at the end of 2010.
Yann organised a 4 day event that took place in Armentières, France on 31th January to 3rd February 2011 entitled “Travailler et parler avec les voix: Créer le rétablissement pour les personnes qui entendent des voix” This was very successful and led to the establishment of a Hearing Voices Network in France.
In 2013 Yann helped to organise and chaired the first national meeting of REV France the French Hearing Voices Network in Nancy, France.
Mickey de Valda was from Manchester, England. He was the husband of Sharon De Valad. He died in 2007. He was the former chairperson of the English Hearing Voices Network. He was a voice hearer activist and steadfast supporter of fellow voice hearers.
He wrote “Hearing Voices: My own experience“.
His long term campaigning work on behalf of the hearing voices movement will never be forgotten.
Sharon is from England. She is a voice hearer. She was the wife of Micky DeValda. Sharon is a longstanding supporter of the hearing voices movement. She played a key role in supporting and developing the Manchester Hearing Voices Group. She was a public speaker and trainer.
The BBC made a TV programme of her experiences in 1994 called ‘Video Diaries’, (BBC 2, 9.30pm, Wednesday 14 September). The Independent reported “In her video diary, Sharon sometimes breaks down before the camera turns and doesn’t want it to carry on. But she does, and she has finished it. And she now has a title for it. ‘You can call it the Diary of a Nutter,’ she laughs.”
Jacqui is from England. She is a writer, campaigner, international speaker and trainer and the co- chair of the Hearing Voices Network in England.
She has personal and professional experience, awareness and skills in working with trauma and abuse, dissociation, ‘psychosis’, hearing voices, healing and recovery.
Jacqui has lectured and published worldwide. She is a skilled facilitator in complex learning environments. Jacqui has a track record of creating and sustaining user centred initiatives and of affecting change at all levels. Jacqui is also a voice hearer.
See her website here.
Julie Downs is from England. She had a long association with the Hearing Voices Network starting in the early 90’s as a member of the HVN Steering Group. Working voluntarily, Julie who was a creative therapist facilitating women’s and art groups. She later went on to become a hearing voices trainer and organiser of Hearing Voices Conferences.
Based in Manchester, she was the National Co-coordinator of HVN from 1999 during which time she helped to set up many groups and support the inauguration of HVN networks in other countries including Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the USA.
Julie was editor of Voices, the HVN newsletter and several publications; Starting and Supporting Voices Groups, Coping with voices and Visions and Basic Information About Hearing Voices and has written material for and facilitated training on many aspects of hearing voices. She retired in 2008.
Carol is from England. She has been a stalwart supporter of the hearing voices movement from the early days. She worked with the first hearing voices group and network established in Manchester in the 1990’s.
Carol is a spiritual healer and astrologist and has focussed her role in supporting people who hear voices and are experiencing a spiritual breakthrough or crisis.
Since 2012 Carol has been supporting and facilitating a hearing voices support group in Stretford, Manchester.
He is an existential psychoanalyst and psychotherapist in the Scranton/ Wilkes Barre area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He is a frequent speaker to various support organizations and conferences. Dr. Edmunds’ is a leading expert in existential/relational approaches to extreme states of mind and autism/developmental differences.
Dan is the founder of the International Center for Humane Psychiatry, an emancipatory movement for human rights in the mental health system and the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Autism Acceptance Project. Dr. Edmunds is the author of “The Meeting of Two Persons: What Therapy Should Be” This book addresses the need to validate experience and explores the role of oppression and the social, familial, and political factors leading to distress. Dr.Edmunds is also the author of “Being Autistic: An Approach Towards Understanding and Acceptance.” Dr. Edmunds has spoken on a number of radio and television programs on existential and critical psychology, human rights in the mental health system, autism acceptance, and social justice issues. Dr. Edmunds is Board Certified in Sexual Abuse Issues via the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and is a Diplomate of the American Psychotherapy Association.
Suzanne is from the Netherlands. She is an active member of INTERVOICE. She is an expert by experience and works in the Netherlands. Amongst other initiatives she works for Weerklank(Dutch Hearing Voices Network) and the TREE project. The TREE project works towards recovery, empowerment and experiential expertise.
Suzanne is also well experienced in giving lectures around Europe (Belgium, Germany, Scotland, Denmark, Bulgaria, Albania, Spain). She is a trainer for the EFC Institute.
Sandra Escher is from the Netherlands. She lives in Belgium. She is the co-founder of the hearing voices movement. She was trained as a science journalist and worked as a senior researcher at the University of Maastricht. Her work focuses on children who hearing voices. She is now an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Community Mental Health, Birmingham City University.
She has worked together with Marius Romme on the hearing voices project since 1987. With Marius she has written four books which have been translated into several languages and numerous papers and articles
Together they developed the Maastricht Interview schedule for Voice hearers and a further interview on Self harm.With Romme and Peter Bullimore she designed the interview on paranoia. All these interviews are based on the experiences themselves and not on professional theories.
Sandra is a board member of Intervoice, the international organisation for training, education and research on voices for voice hearers and professionals.
She is an editorial member of Klankspiegel, the magazine of Stichting Weerklank (Resonance), the Dutch voice-hearing organisation.
Sandra gives training and lectures on several aspects of voices all through the year. You can find out more about Sandra here
Jørn is from Denmark. He is a member of the INTERVOICE board. Jørn was the initiator of the Danish Voice Hearers Network. He has been on their board since its inception. He was also in the initiative group that founded the Danish Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation.
His entire working career has been centred on psychiatry in areas such as social psychiatry, district psychiatry, psychotherapy, alcoholism and adolescent psychiatry. He originally trained as a nurse. Afterwards, he took a diploma in management and a professional diploma in Human Resource Development.
Currently, he is a director of the social psychiatric services in Lyngby –Ttaarbæk Municipality. These services include housing, support at home, an acute service, self-help groups, supported work, social firms, and educational programmes. In the Danish context the service in Lyngby – Taarbæk Municipality is pioneering recovery-oriented work (www.slotsvaenget-ltk.dk).
John is from England. He is a voice hearer. He was born of working class parents, did extremely well in the 11+, but experimented with drugs in his teens, he was 18 in the magic hippy summer of ’67, and ended up in Mental Hospital, diagnosed with Schizophrenia. In his late 20’s, he returned to college to study Architecture, his childhood ambition, gaining an Honours degree and post-graduate diploma and then worked in Architecture. He is now retired at the age of 65, in the year 2014. He presently does voluntary work, helps run a Hearing Voices Group, sculpts, writes and paints.
Trevor Eyles is from Denmark. He is a longtime supporter of INTERVOICE. He works as a psychiatric nurse at Aarhus municipality in Denmark with a focus on working with people who hear voices. He specialises in utilising cognitive therapy.
Trevor has been key to the establishment and support of many self-help groups.
Trevor is a Board Member of the Danish Hearing Voices Network.
Charles is from England. He is a Professor in the Department of Psychology of Durham University. He has a background in developmental psychology, with a particular focus on social, emotional and cognitive development. Through theoretical and empirical work, he has contributed to the understanding of how language and thought are related in child development and beyond.
The focus of his recent scientific work has been in applying ideas from mainstream developmental psychology to the study of psychosis, particularly the phenomenon of voice-hearing (in which individuals hear voices in the absence of any speaker).
He has developed a new model of voice-hearing and inner speech, and conducted empirical studies testing aspects of the model in clinical and healthy samples. This work culminated in 2012 with the award of a £1m Wellcome Trust Strategic Award to the interdisciplinary Hearing the Voice project, on which he is Project Leader.
To be completed.
Lisa is a voice hearer.
She is a board member, group facilitator and trainer for the Hearing Voices Network USA.
She is also the Director of Community Supports at the Western Mass Learning Recovery Community.
She works as an individual in this community to advocate for change both within our society and within the mental health system so that individuals who experience emotional distress can seek support in a respected manner with their human rights preserved. She provides administrative, creative, leadership, mentoring and support opportunities.
She is an activist.
Geir is a psychodrama therapist from Norway. He has over 20 years experience of working in in health and social sectors. He is currently working as an individual and group therapist at the Hjelset Psychiatric hospital in Molde.
He has written articles and developed information services on Hearing Voices. He has been on several long study tours to England to become familiar with the research and methodology about Hearing Voices. He has a Master degree in voice hearing and has written a book “Mestringsbok for stemmehørere”. He workswith voice hearers, in groups and individually. He runs courses and training events in the hearing voices approach for professionals and users. Visit his website here.
Tilly Gerritsma is from the Nethelands. She co-wote a book entitled “It’s Really Rather Normal” with Titus Rivas. In the book she shares her experiences of hearing voices and related phenomena and describes how she learned to deal with them, helped by her main, positive voice.
In the book she shows that hearing voices may offer a potential for psychological, emotional, and spiritual growth. You can find out more about Tilly’s book here.
She is the current secretary of the Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa NZ, a registered charity providing support and resources for people who hear voices and have visions. She sends out the email newsletter, and designs and collates the printed one. She deald with all correspondence. She designed and runs the website, facebook page, facebook group, blog. She also organises events in conjunction with other committee members, bring speakers from overseas, and help co-ordinates the facilitators of the Hearing Voices Support groups.
Adrienne co-facilitates 2 support groups. An open one in the public arena. The second is at the Mason Forensic Clinic, and is a structured 8 week program using a course I have designed. She also speaks about hearing voices at events and to organisations to raise awareness and better understanding of this experience.
She is interested in mythology, ancient religions, philosophy, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, archaeology, anthropology. She enjoys exploring mystical and religous concepts, other dimensions and realities and what their meaning is in relation to the SELF and consciousness.
She likes seeing and exploring concepts that expand her view of the Universe and of life itself. She has a blog where she collects research on esoteric and mystical matters here.
To be completed.
For Intervoice she wrote a chapter for a book. She is part of the Italian Hearing Voices Network. She is a public speaker, mostly giving testimony that recovery from ‘schizophrenia’ is possible and to fight against the stigma of mental illness. In January 2009 she wrote, together with her psychiatrist, an italian article for the psychiatric review ‘Psichiatria di comunità’, around the possibility of recovery from ‘schizophrenia’
In Holland she qualified as a primary school teacher, while in Italy she became a working student and graduated in pedagogy, but never used this study for a job. She always worked with her knowledge of the languages in offices, in an industry or like a free lance translator.
Before 1999 she suffered for at least 4 years a ‘delirious paranoid schizophrenia’, but with the help of years of a psychodynamic psychotherapist she is fully cured. She believes this is thanks to a human psychiatric approach ove years. In 2002 she stopped taking medication.
Lia’s has written a book about her experiences entitled ‘Healing from schizophrenia: A personal account’, published at Lulu.com, and available on Amazon and other libraries online (ISBN 9781446787748).
To be completed.
To be completed.
Professor Gillian Haddock is from England. Her professional experience is primarily in the field of mental health with particular expertise in psychosis, learning disability, forensic and substance use areas. Her main research interests are in the developments of psychological treatments for psychotic symptoms, the cognitive processes associated with psychosis and the measurement of psychotic symptoms.
Gillian published some of the early research into hearing voices.
Gillian is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. Gillian is the Section Head for Clinical and Health Psychology here at the University, and leads the Centre for New Treatments and Understanding in Mental Health (CeNTrUM), a joint centre with the Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health. She is also the Manchester Director of the North West Mental Health Alliance, a joint initiative with the Universities of Liverpool and Lancaster to enhance mental health research and treatment in the North west of England. She holds Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychology appointments in National Health Service mental health trusts in the North West of England.
She completed her undergraduate psychology degree at the University of York, her PhD and her professional Clinical Psychology training at the University of Liverpool. Her professional experience is primarily in the field of mental health with particular expertise in psychosis, learning disability, forensic and substance use areas. Her main research interests are in the developments of psychological treatments for psychotic symptoms, the cognitive processes associated with psychosis and the measurement of psychotic symptoms. She has numerous publications in this area and is the editor of two books.
She was president of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies from 1999-2000 and in 1998 was awarded the May Davidson Award given by the Division of Clinical Psychology of the British Psychological Society for contribution to British Clinical Psychology in the first 10 years since qualifying.
Patsy Hage is from the Netherlands. She hears voices and was a patient of Marius Romme. It was Patsy who started the whole investigation into the meaning of voices in the Netherlands. Patsy’s was hearing voices that gave her orders, or forbade her to do things. There were times when they could dominate her completely. Patsy, who was 30 years old at the time, had already been hospitalised several times and was diagnosed as suffering from a schizophrenic psychosis.
Marius gave Patsy a book by the American psychologist, Julian Jaynes “The origins of consciousness and the breakdown of the bicameral mind”. From the text she concluded that there were times when to hear voices was normal.
She did not believe that her voices were part of an illness and they were so real to her that it she did not regard them as hallucinations. She was angry that Marius did not ask about what the voices said to her, as this was what made the voices so stressful for her and was why she suffered from them. She was also angry with Marius at this time as he did not really believe that she heard voices. She pointed out the contradiction between societies acceptance in the belief in a God that we could not hear, whilst not believing in the reality of her voices that she heard quite clearly. As Patsy said to Marius; “You believe in a God we never see or hear, so why shouldn’t you believe in the voices I really do hear?”.
Marius like many other psychiatrists he had always dismissed voices as being part of the delusional and hallucinatory world of the psychiatrically ill. It made sense to Marius because it was certainly the case in our society that to believe in the existence of God, in spite of the lack of any physical evidence, is acceptable and no one who believes in this is thought of as mad, yet the same acceptance is not extended to those who psychiatry regards as hallucinators.
Later they explored why the voices started, Patsy explained to Marius, it was her opinion that the voices were not part of an illness neither were they hallucinations, for they had been with her since she was eight years old, appearing shortly after she had been badly burnt. At first the voices were friendly and helpful and for a long time they caused her no problems and it was only when she was fifteen years old that the voices became unfriendly and angry.
Subsequently it has been shown that up to 70% of voice hearers first hear voices after a major trauma. This relationship was first established from the results of a questionnaire that was distributed after a Dutch TV talk show that featured Patsy and Marius discussing the hearing voices experience. The finding of this questionnaire were published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin in 1989.
This was a big step, as it began the journey away from the accepted mainstream medical view of that voices were meaningless hallucinations. Marius Romme took his lead from Patsy, a diagnosed schizophrenic, because what she had said made more sense then any other theory he had heard. Thus began a journey that continues to this day, a journey that crucially has always involved voice hearers and others finding out together what this experience might mean and how it might be overcome.
Will Hall is a from the USA. He is the co-founder of the Hearing Voices Network USA. In 2009 he co-founded Portland Hearing Voices.
He is a mental health advocate, writer, and counselor.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he is recognized internationally as a leading organizer with the psychiatric survivors movement.
In 2001 he co-founded the Freedom Center and in 2005 became a co-coordinator of The Icarus Project. He has consulted with Mental Disability Rights International, the Family Outreach and Response Program, and the Federal Office on Violence Against Women.
Will hosts the FM radio program Madness Radio, syndicated on the Pacifica Network.
He lives in Portland Oregon, where he studies Process Oriented Psychology and has a counseling practice.
Prior to that he worked in NHS mental health services in the North West of England for over ten years.
His research interests are in critical psychology and social constructionist approaches in mental health, particularly in relation to psychosis.
Brian founded the Hearing Voices Ireland (HVI) in 2006 for people like himself who hear voices. In 2009 he helped form RENEW which promotes the idea of well being as being a balance of mind, body and soul.
In 2003 he became the Midlands Regional Peer Advocate for the Irish Advocacy Network (IAN). In 2006 he became the Advocate for the Clare / Limerick / North Tipperary Region.
He is based in Limerick. He visits hospitals and day centres on a regular basis providing support, encouragement and peer advocacy services for his clients.
In this interview on Limerick City Community Radio (LCCR) Brian talks about HVI and his viewpoint on hearing voices. Listen here
Peter is from Australia. He is a voice hearer and glass artist. He tried to kill his brother and multiple other family members. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and spent 15 years in the mental health system, in and out of the psychiatric ward. Believed to be homicidal his treating team recommended he spent the rest of his life at Thomas Embling Forensic ward. It was only when he got out of the system and began looking within himself and getting his voices under control did he realise he had an anger and rage problem that was the cause of his so called homicidal tendencies.
Learning to control his anger/rage and dealing with the past traumas in his life that spanned from being raped, operated on 28 times, emotionally and physically abused and bullied did Peter began his recovery journey. Out of the system and getting involved with the Hearing Voices Network, he is now a public speaker and mental health trainer on recovering from hearing voices and visions and other mental health issues. Peter has recently published his first book and is managing Voices Inc Horsham and initiating other centres around Australia. These centres are aimed to help those in mental and emotional distress where individuals work on recovery methods and produce art. Peter also train those in the mental health system and psychiatrists on better ways to help those in distress.
Peter is also a small business owner and well known artist where his main medium is glass, which he implements into his recovery practice.
Peter works very hard on rewriting the way mental health is perceived. He does not believe in labeling people with diagnosis but believes in mental distress, emotional distress, trauma and learnt behaviour as a response to a traumatic experience in that persons life. He believes strongly that recovery is possible in all forms, if you are willing to put in the hard work.
Mark works as a Clinical Psychologist in England. His academic remit includes lecturing on the Doctoral Programme at the University of Sussex.
Within the NHS he works as Director of Research within the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
His specialist interests and publications span three areas: the experience of hearing voices; the involvement of service users and carers within training and research; and training in psychological understandings of psychosis and psychotic experiences.
His work with people who hear voices has spanned several years and has recently focussed on the exploration of voices within a relational framework – acknowledging the voice as an interpersonal ‘other’ and researching differing aspects of the relationships that people develop with the voices they hear.
These relationships are currently the subject of therapeutic scrutiny as a new form of individual therapy (‘Relating Therapy’) that seeks to assertively engage with the voice and transform distressing relationships into those that are experienced as more balanced and less intrusive.
In collaboration with Professor Paul Chadwick (University of Southampton), a contrasting form of group therapy is being developed that draws upon relational and mindfulness frameworks to enable the hearer to disengage from distressing voices.
You can see Mark’s academic bibliography and published research here
Kevin Healey lives in Canada. He hears voices and has done for over thirty years and is a survivor, as he says “mostly of his own mis-steps, mistakes and misdeeds but also of a life of never quite fitting in: anywhere”.
He learned very early on not to let others, especially medical professional, know about what they did not understand, and so found and created his own ways to live with experiences that others just don’t get and are afraid of.
Ten years ago he was called to North America where he discovered he didn’t fit in even more than ever, needed to draw on everything he’d already learned and to reach out for help.
He discovered how little medicine understands and came upon ideas of recovery, eventually meeting Ron Coleman and Paul Baker and found the courage to no longer hide that he hears voices.
Kevin is now a lead activist for recovery, and especially hearing voices in Canada.
He believes that the whole range of categories of “mental disorder” are nothing more than the best attempt looking through a narrow, foggy and cracked lens at the whole variety of ways people can struggle with life.
To be completed.
Monika Hoffmann is a psychologist from Berlin, Germany. In 1998 she co-founded th NeSt, the German Hearing Voices Network.
In explaining why she became part of the hearing voices movement she says:
“I realized that psychiatry and psychology textbooks were transporting myths when talking about hallucinations. Using the term “auditory hallucination” does not make allowance for the fact, that voice hearers actually do hear voices. They do not only feel accused of imagining something, but they are left alone with their experiences.
The unjust persistence over the last hundred years to attribute hearing voices to always be a symptom of a severe mental disease does not make it easy to talk with patients about their voices.”
Crow was from England. He died at age of 57. He was a voice hearer, painter, visionary and teacher. He was co-founder of the Exeter hearing voices group.
Here is an article about Crow from the Guardian, November 2000.
Jan is from England. She hears voices and uses her experiences both as a mental health worker and a service user to develop “Learning from Psychosis” an approach to training using experiential exercises and visual stimuli to give a deeper understanding of the experience of psychosis.
She wrote an article with J.Thomas in Open Mind in 2000. You can read it here.
Jan facilitates and supports hearing voices groups in London.
Douglas is from New South Wales, Australia. He is a founder member of the New South Wales Hearing Voices Network based in Sydney.
Douglas is a consumer participation officer with St Vincent’s Mental Health Services in Sydney.
He has used different media including Journalism, Public relations, Films, Internet, Mobile, Publishing, Magazines, Newspapers, Mass wire media and “Personal” Media to promote hearing voices in New SouthWales & Australia.
He has been working on this project for at least 13 years since first hearing Pat Deegan speak publicly about her own experience with voices while attending the a conference in Brisbane in 1996.
Gail A. Hornstein is from the USA. She is a co-founder of theHearing Voice Network USA.
Gail is a professor of psychology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Her research spans the history of 20th century psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis. It has been supported by the National Library of Medicine, the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities inter alia.
Unlike most scholars who study mental illness, Professor Hornstein has always been as interested in patients’ experiences as in doctors’ theories. Her Bibliography of First‐Person Narratives of Madness in English (now in its 4th edition) lists more than 700 titles and is used by researchers, clinicians, and educators across the world.
Her recent book, Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness, shows how the insights of those diagnosed as “schizophrenic,” “bipolar,” “depressed,” and “paranoid” can help us to reconceive fundamental assumptions about madness, treatment, and mental life.
For information about Gail visit her website here
Mike is from Wales. He is a Consultant Psychologist and Academic Lead for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities. He is also Assistant Director, Research and Development, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Bangor University, Hergest Unit, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor. He specialises in psychosocial treatments for the psychoses.
Adam James is feom England He is author of Raising Our Voices: An Account of the Hearing Voices Movement, published by Handsell in 2001. He brought both the philosophy and struggle of the Hearing Voices Network to life. In the book, the history of the Network from Julian Jaynes’ work on the bicameral mind to the development of the UK Hearing Voices Network as a pseudo mainstream up to 2001.
He was awarded Mind Journalist of the Year 2001 for his coverage of mental health issues.
Marlene Janssen is the director of Hearing Voices Network Australia. Richmond Fellowship of WA, a non-government mental health service, set up the Hearing Voice Network Australia in 2005 to provide support and community education to people hearing voices. Support groups in Perth and Western Australia have been established to help people.
He was a civil servant working for the Ministry of Health in the UK and a consultant to National Institute of Mental Health in England (UK) and was a director for the World Health Organisation Mental Health Programme. He is principally concerned with the development and implementation of Community Mental Health Services and Networking around the world. He has helped to development national policies and their implementation in the Balkan (Kosova, Albania, Macedonia, inter alia) He provides advice and Consultancy to various Mental Health Providers in many countries.
Maths Jesperson is a long-time psychiatric survivor activist and leader from Sweden. He has been a long term supporter of INTERVOICE and of the Hearing Voices Network in Sweden.
Maths was born in 1954. He was an inmate of an old mental hospital from 1980 to 1981. From 1982 to 1988 he was the producer at the theatre company called Mercuriusteatern, as well as local politician of the Green Party in Lund, Sweden. In 1984 he converted to Catholicism.