Through the award-winning Voices Vic program, our team delivers support services to improve the wellbeing and recovery of people who are hearing voices and other sensory experiences.
We define ‘hearing voices’ as an umbrella term used to refer to auditory, visual, olfactory sensory experiences that people, and beliefs that people around you do not experience. Hearing voices is not specifically a sign of mental illness, as not everyone that hears voices or is experiencing other sensory events has a mental illness- one in ten of us will experience hearing voices or have unusual sensory experience at some stage in their life.
“Auditory hallucination” is commonly used to describe hearing voices. Some people experience other hallucinations such as seeing, smelling, tasting, or feeling things that do not exist outside of an individuals personal experience. Whatever you are going through, you’re not alone.
Hearing voices and unusual sensory events is a different experience for everyone. The voices can vary in how often they’re heard, what they sound like, what they are and whether they’re familiar or unfamiliar. Some people can find their voices irritating or distracting, while others can find them frightening or intrusive. The voices might:
Some people find hearing voices a positive experience as the voices may be encouraging or comforting, allowing them to have a deeper understanding of their emotions.
However, sometimes hearing voices can be upsetting and distressing. They can talk about very personal matters and say hurtful things. They can threaten or someone you know, which can be quite frightening.
Hearing voices is often assumed to be a symptom of a mental health condition. However this is not always the case, up to 1 in 10 people hear voices, making it not an uncommon human experience.
There are multiple reasons as to why people may hear voices:
Everyone’s voices and sensory experiences are different and may need to be approached in different ways. Some everyday strategies that can be good for coping include:
Understanding your relationship with your voice or sensory events and how it connects with your personal history and/or correlates with your life.
Concentrating on more positive voices and developing strategies to choose when to pay attention to them and when to ignore them to help you feel more in control.
Eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, controlling stress, and spending time outside are ways that you can look after yourself. Although difficult, it may be a rewarding experience working towards personal wellbeing.
With the stigma surrounding hearing voices and other sensory experiences, it can be hard to open up and talk about what you’re experiencing. Support groups can provide a non-judgemental space where you can feel heard, accepted and not alone.
The renowned Voices Vic program, a space led by peers with lived experience in hearing voices, seeks to improve the lives of people who hear voices, see visions or have other sensory experiences. Through the Voices Vic program, our team offers recovery groups, mentoring and one-on-one support across Victoria.
The aim of the group is to spread positivity about the experience of hearing voices, and to develop skills to change an individual’s relationship with the voices. Based on mutual respect, empathy and belonging, the group also offers an opportunity for people to accept and live with their experiences in a way that helps them regain some power over their lives.
Our team also facilitates training across Australia for organisations and individuals, including family, carers and supporters, who work with voice hearers.
We can support you if you are:
We believe everyone can recover. Contact us to find out how.
Voices Vic has been delivering training, workshops, information sessions and providing support to the voice hearing community in Australia for over ten years. Our team of peer work professionals both have lived experience of hearing voices and recovery, and are highly experienced within the facilitation field. We offer a range of training programs for individuals, mental health professionals, peer workers, voice hearers and family members. We also offer specialised external trainings for clinics, hospitals and other health organisations.
‘The Hearing Voices Approach’ training is endorsed by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) for contribution towards professional development.
To enquire about Voices Vic Training please contact: [email protected].
Our training programs are delivered both in person and online.
We provide peer led recovery groups for voice hearers to share their experience, learn new coping strategies and explore ways to grow and change the relationship with their voices. The groups give a sense of hope and possibility and provide an open space for voice hearers to feel comfortable.
Our Hearing Voices Groups are delivered in person in St Kilda, Prahran and online. We offer:
Please contact Voices Vic or [email protected] if you:
The Voices Vic Youth Program improves the wellbeing and recovery of young adults who hear voices aged 16-25 across Melbourne and regional Victoria. Offering support groups, training, mentoring, info sessions to individuals, mental health professionals, peer workers, voice hearers and family members.
To enquire about our Youth Program please contact: [email protected].
We offer sessions of individual peer support with a highly experienced trained peer worker who also has lived experience of hearing voices and recovery.
We offer mentoring to those who have completed our Hearing Voices Group Setup Training and want ongoing support to set up and facilitate a hearing voices group.
Our team members regularly get invited to speak at conferences and events to share their recovery journey and raise awareness of the Hearing Voices Approach.