Intervoice Congress 2021

The 12th World Hearing Voices Congress, 1 – 3 September 2021.

“Solidarity in Times of Adversity:

The Global Voice Hearing Community Reconnecting”

Congress Theme

Over the past 18 months, the Covid-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented challenge across the globe, which many of us will have experienced as disconnecting, isolating, frightening, chaotic, overwhelming, and, at times, unbearable. However, the pandemic has also shown the power of solidarity when communities come together to offer each other support in times of adversity.

This year’s Congress created spaces for voice hearers, family members, carers, practitioners, academics, and all those interested in the principles and values of the International Hearing Voices Movement, to connect and/or reconnect with one another in a post-pandemic world, online across the globe. Drawing on two ancient Irish traditions, the Congress organisers aimed to provide a platform (ardán*) to focus on the ways in which many voices can work together, supporting each other in difficult times (meitheal**). 

*Ardán (pronounced ar-dawn) is an Irish word meaning platform, stage, but it is also used in the context of ‘raising one spirits’! **Meitheal (pronounced meh-hill) is the Irish expression of the ancient and universal appliance of cooperation to social need, referring to the co-operative labour system in Ireland where neighbours help each other in turn with farming work, such as harvesting crops. It establishes community unity through cooperative work and mutually reciprocal support.  

Reflections on the Congress by Eoin Toomey

The Congress was online this year obviously due to covid. 300 people registered for it and there were two themes in addition to the theme of the title. These were: Ardán (Platform) & Meitheal (old Irish custom of helping others in the community).

There were breakout rooms,  which was good. It would’ve been nice to have been there in person but online, despite its limitations, opens up the Congress to people who might not otherwise get there. There were bursaries for people who couldn’t afford the registration fee (£45). A three-day event.

Rai Waddingham,  Kelling Stastny, Jacqui Dillon, Cindy Hadge, Adi Hasanbašić, and others gave keynote talks, which were good and there was a good selection of concurrent sessions on the Thursday and Friday.

Some of the themes and subject-matter of concurrent sessions were: women’s affairs,  living with unusual and overwhelming beliefs, Open Dialogue; Mary Farrelly gave a talk on the Irish HVN; Listening to Voices Theatre (Australia); HVN Athens; Peter Bullimore; working with young people who hear voices; an introduction to The Practical Handbook of Hearing Voices (PCCS Books, check them out!); art & voices; peer support; dual diagnosis with addiction; delusions of grandeur or spirit healing (Mike Ryan); the problem with the word ‘psychosis ‘; Sweenet: The Power of Myth in Madness etc.

They’re my reflections on the HVN Congress.

Go Raibh Mór Maith Agat.

Watch the Recordings of the Congress Proceedings Below

(Keynote Speakers followed by Concurrent Presenters)

Intervoice Day Congress Welcome- Kellie Stastny

Solidarity In Times Of Adversity-Jacqui Dillon

(How) Does Meaning Matter – Rai Waddingham

The Search Of Meaning Purpose And Connection In Pandemic Times – Cindy Hadge

Working Through The 3 Stages Of Hearing Voices Using A Profiling & Focussing Approach – Pete Bullimore

Networks, Movements, Emotions and The First Poetry of our LifeHearing Voices Network Athens (Greece)

Human Dignity And Creativity In The Times Of UncertaintyAdi Hasanbasic

Listening to Voices Hero of MyselfThe Listening to Voices Project

Friend Or Foe- Reflections On Facilitating A Hearing Voices Group With A Psychiatrist-Fauzia Khan And Samina Allie

Her Voice First – Emma Tseris And Scarlett Franks

The Magician-Memoires Of A Fool-Vincent Swierstra

Veteran Voices And Visions- Kalofonos, Laprade, Brown, Fletcher, Hill

The Psychic-The Spiritual And The Process Of Purification- Diana Bella

On Being Synthetic – Living With Unusual And Overwhelming – Rachel Waddingham

The Hearing Voices Network In Ireland – Mary Farrelly

The Transformative Potential Of Psychosis – Robyn Thomas

Building A Hearing Voices Network  In Your Community- Supporting Stronger Community- Edwin Herzog

Listening to Voices Hero of Myself – The Listening to Voices Project

Why Do Voices Say Bad Things To Do Good – Oana-Mihaela Lusco

It All Starts With Connection The Transformational Power Of Intentional Peer Support – Lisa Archibald

A Shared Experience The Virus And The Voice – Paulann Grech

Ancient Irish Stories Of Madness & I – Eoin Toomey

The Development Of Hearing Voices Network Family And Friends Groups In The United States – D Adams, C Hadge & E Herzog

Inspirational Insights From “The Practical Handbook Of Hearing Voices” – JSchnackenberg, IParker & MHopfenbeck

“The Call” – Exploring Voices Collaboratively Through Art – Douglas Ross & Elisabeth Svanholmer

Documentary Voices Of Vincent – Vincent Swierstra

Engaging The Margins Integrating Critical Perspectives And Bioethics – Kathleen Lowenstein

Delusions Of Grandeur Or Spirit Healing – Michael Ryan

The Physicists And Voice Hearers Meet To Explore Dark Energy & Matter – David Hallsted

Intentional Connections Exploring The Breadths Of Togetherness – Victoria Price

Queries to Harry Gijbels at

Useful Links:

Supported by University College Cork, Cork Convention Bureau, and Onlinevents