About Rai

About Rai Waddingham

Your trainer and community host

Rachel (Rai) Waddingham is an international trainer, Open Dialogue practitioner and has experience of creating, establishing and managing innovative peer support-based projects in a range of contexts, including: developing Voice Collective, a London-wide project supporting children, young people and families who hear voices, see visions or have other similar experiences; Introducing and embedding ‘Hearing Voices Groups’ as peer support opportunities within prisons and secure forensic mental health hospitals; Developing networks of support for facilitators of Hearing Voices and Paranoia groups.

Each of these projects involved building capacity in statutory organisations, encouraging collaboration with NGOs and other local resources and supporting the implementation of values-based practice. Rai also supported the development of the first UK Open Dialogue Team to work in the NHS crisis situations through to recovery, both working within the team as a practitioner and supporting the inclusion experts by experience.

Rai is part of the ‘survivor’ movement, blending the knowledge gained from lived experience with that of practice. Prior to completing the 3-year Open Dialogue training in London, she had over 10 years of experience in facilitating dialogic spaces (including peer support groups and reflective practice spaces). As a trainer, Rai has facilitated courses and workshops in many countries, including: USA, Italy, Australia, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Prague, Slovenia, Israel and France. She is a sessional lecturer at a number of UK universities, covering topics such as psychosis, trauma, dissociation, self-harm and relationships with medication. Rai is also currently reading a PhD in survivor knowledge at Nottingham Trent University.

Moving away from binaries of recovered-ill, Rai is, like many of us in this world, still working through some of the stuff that has sent her 'mad'. This world is not an easy place to live in sometimes, and - for Rai - madness is a meaningful response to that.


Rai is the Chair of the English Hearing Voices Network and Vice Chair of the UK chapter of International Society of Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. She trades under the name 'Behind The Label Training & Consultancy' and as one half of a dialogic training collaborative called 'Dialogue (R)Evolution.

She is passionate about nurturing ethical and creative spaces that can respond to people’s crises – honouring the wisdom gained through personal experience and supporting people and their social networks to navigate their way through difficult times.

Oh, and she finds joy in dying her hair bright colours, her daughter - Thea, spending time by the sea and in nature, enjoying real ale, music and connecting with loved ones (old and new).

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Behind The Label's Learning Community, promoting creative & ethical responses to distress