A Fresh Approach to Living with Voices

A Fresh Approach to Living with Voices

A relational approach to working with voices

About The Course

Research suggests that hearing voices is a fairly common human experience that is not, in and of itself, indicative of a mental health problem.

If we know where to look, voice-hearers can be found in the history books, spiritual traditions and popular culture. However, when someone feels overwhelmed by the power and intensity of the voices they hear, knowing that Gandhi and Lady Gaga heard voices doesnít always help.

This course offers you the opportunity to understand more about the experience of hearing voices, and learn how thinking about voice-hearing as a relational experience can help people find new ways of living their lives. It is based on the principles of the Hearing Voices Movement.

Course structure:

The course comprises of four modules.

  • Module One: Hearing Voices: an introduction
  • Module Two: Hearing Voices: a relational approach
  • Module Three: Finding Ways of Coping with Difficult Voices
  • Module Four: Changing our Relationship with Voices

Each module contains:

  • a series of videos
  • a page of suggested reflective learning tasks

The course also includes:

  • a list of useful resources and additional reading

Fees:

All Growing Pearls courses are offered on a PWYC (pay what you can afford) rate, so that lack of financial resources are not a barrier to learning. See the ethos section for more information on our approach.

FAQs

If you're interested in taking part in the course, please feel free to email me at pearls@behindthelabel.co.uk. However, I've put together a few common queries - just in case they're useful.

Who is this course aimed at?

This course is aimed at anyone who wants to learn more about voice-hearing (and related experiences) and explore a relational way of working with them. Whilst much of it is framed for those who are supporting someone else who hears voices (including mental health workers, therapists, social workers, peer support workers, educational support staff and NGO/charity workers, family members and friends) - many of those who take part have their own personal experience of hearing voices. Everyone who wants to attend is welcome. I'm trusting that those with a personal connection to the topic are in a better position than I am to know whether this course is right for them. However, if you want to know more about what it involves before booking - just ask.

People engage with the subject matter in their own way - so those of you who have years of experience in being with people who hear voices (or hear voices yourself) will hopefully get some new ideas, inspiration or challenges. Equally, those who are new to the topic (or the Hearing Voices Movement approach) will have plenty to grapple with. The online format means you can take things at your own pace.

Why are the courses 'Pay What You Can Afford'?

It's important to me that people aren't excluded from learning opportunities because of their ability to pay. One way of trying to manage this is to set different fee bands ... however, life is more complex than a few price tiers. Leaners may end up paying more, or less, than they are able simply because they fit into a certain category which takes no account of their individual circumstances. More worryingly, some way simply walk on by and not access learning they want and need because they cannot afford it (and do not feel comfortable asking for bursaries or an additional discount).

This year, because of Covid-19 and the challenges we all face, I am experimenting with the 'Pay What You Can' approach - trusting in integrity of those who attend my online training to balance what they feel the course is worth with what they are genuinely able to pay. Whilst this approach is not the norm, it is being used by a number of initiatives and - to me at least - feels a step forwards. My hope is that those who appreciate the learning community and training will value that in terms of what they pay in money, or offer additional support to help the community grow.

If you're so ethical, why not offer your training for free?

This is where I have to be honest. Training is my livelihood. Like many of you - I have bills to pay, a family to support and training fees is one of my main sources of income. Given the current financial uncertainty and the cancellation of so many face to face trainings and conferences - offering all my training for free just isn't wise. However, even if times were more stable, I'm not sure that would be the right call. I've spent a long time developing my approach and training materials, and invested time and money into my business.

The tendency to offer my services for free was something I had to battle with in my early days of being a survivor-trainer ... at that time I was grateful for any opportunity. It took time for me to realise that my work was of value ... and that payment isn't a dirty word. However, whilst I am happy to be paid these days - I want to operate in this world from a place of mutual respect. I respect you to pay what you can, and won't second guess or judge. You respect the work that has gone into what you buy when you're thinking of what you are able to pay. 

So, what should I pay?

This is up to you. I ask you to think about:

  • what you'd usually pay for 1 day's training PLUS 3 months input around these topics (based on your professional, your culture and your background)
  • how much you can afford without leaving yourself in financial difficulty
  • how much this particular course is worth to you at the moment

If you really need a price guide to help you get your bearings, that's OK. I have provided one day's training from anywhere between £0 and £200(+), with the majority being between £75 and £150. Yet that depends a lot on who's paying, their circumstances and who's choosing the ticket price.

I'm guessing that doesn't help many of you work out what my training is actually worth ... or what to pay for it. My advice is to go with your gut - what seems a fair price to you. If you have a company that will pay for you, go with their norms. I am happy to provide an invoice. If you're struggling to pay for electricity and food - please don't use your money on my training. If you'd like to contribute, let me know and we can do something 'in kind' where you offer a bit of your time instead.

What else can I offer? I can’t pay what it’s worth?

Don't worry - I don't want you to pay with your soul :) If you would like to contribute above and beyond the amount you're able to pay, that's wonderful (but not mandatory).

The kinds of things that would benefit the community, include:

  • Transcribing part of one of the learning videos (so I can add subtitles for those who need them)
  • Translating materials (e.g. transcribed versions of the videos so I can add subtitles)
  • Promoting the courses and learning community
  • Writing a review or blog post of your experience on the course (or in the community)
  • Being an active and supportive member of our community - adding topics, responding to others and generally encouraging others to take part

I am sure there is more - so if you have any ideas, do let me know. Thank you for even thinking about it.

Do I get a certificate?

I offer certificates of completion for all of my courses.

However, I want the certificate to mean something to us both - rather than being a bit of paper that you get whether or not you actually did the training. So, in order to be eligible for a certificate I need to see that you have engaged with every module of the course (by doing one of the reflective learning tasks or engaging in a dialogue in the course area on every module).

This, I hope, will encourage you to engage with others in a similar way to the small group discussions in an in-person course that are often where people get to make sense of new concepts and apply them in their own life/practice.

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A taste of what's in store

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