HEARING VOICES & PARANOIA WORKSHOP SERIES

Ultimately, the message was one of hope, understanding, empowerment, and healing for anyone that is impacted by hearing voices or paranoia and unusual beliefs (commonly referred to as schizophrenia and psychosis).

Peter Bullimore and Shaun Hunt presented two full days of education, interaction, and inspiration at the Hearing Voices and Unusual Beliefs Workshop Series on April 29th and 30th in Boca Raton.

Attendees from all over Florida, as well as North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Oregon braved the freezing South Florida temperatures (actually it was pretty cool in the House Chambers at FAU Student Union Conference Center until we convinced them to turn down the AC).

Day #1 of the workshops focused on the experience of hearing voices.  Peter and Shaun not only walked us through the progression of voices in their lives but also what was behind those voices and how it affected them and ultimately how they dealt with the voices, and still deal with them today.  Participants collaborated in small groups to explore several topics including simulating what it is like for a voice hearer to concentrate.

Day #2 was dedicated to paranoia and unusual beliefs.  Like the first day, Peter and Shaun drew upon their own extensive and heart wrenching experiences to take the participants into the world of someone who suddenly finds themselves believing and experiencing terrifying thoughts and feelings that are too often reinforced by the systems and resources that society believes are there to help them.

The role of childhood trauma was thoroughly discussed, including how the emotions associated with trauma relate to the behaviors that are referred to when labeling people as mentally ill.  Also covered was the role of medications and the often devastating effects they have on the person who is experiencing voice hearing or paranoia. 

Audience participation for both workshops was incredible. Participants shared their own experiences, opinions, beliefs, and questions throughout. Peter and Shaun answered every question that was asked in a personal and caring manner but never made anyone or any topic feel unwelcome or out of touch with the spirit of the workshop.

Ultimately, the message was one of hope, understanding, empowerment, and healing for anyone that is impacted by hearing voices or paranoia and unusual beliefs (commonly referred to as schizophrenia and psychosis).

Through participant evaluation forms and personal conversations throughout the event a high level of interest in future events of this type was expressed. Signal20 will be evaluating and considering those suggestions as we forge ahead on our community outreach journey.