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Foreword to David’s Box: The journal and letters of a young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, 1960-1971.

A positive piece published in the Guardian, 5th July 2011 by Mary O’Hara about this important new book – David’s Box: The journal and letters of a young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, 1960-1971, for which I have written a foreward.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/05/schizophrenia-journals-davids-box

Bad Things That Happen to You Can Drive You Crazy!

I’m feeling elated after an amazing evening at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. The event, sponsored by Mount Holyoke College Department of Psychology and Education, the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community, and the Freedom Center was attended by about 150 people  – students, academics and people from the local community – some as far away as Boston, Connecticut and Pittsburg. The auditorium was packed with people hungry for an alternative to the pharmaceutically driven, biomedical model which dominates so heavily in America.  Many were inspired when they heard Ron Coleman and Paul Baker speak late last year and there is a growing momentum for the development of the Hearing Voices Network in America. Change is happening.

My talk, entitled: “Bad Things That Happen to You Can Drive You Crazy! Understanding Abuse, Trauma, and Madness and Working toward Recovery”,

(see this link for further information: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/news/stories/5682743)

seemed to really resonate with others experiences and many people were clearly questioning the adequacy of a biomedical model to make sense of and respond to human distress.

I began by reading ‘A Tale of An Ordinary Little Girl’ and then spoke about the groundbreaking work of the Hearing Voices Movement, its success in many other parts of the world and our intention to revolutionise the way societies think about hearing voices and other unusual human experiences. I ended by stressing the imperative to take collective responsibility for the ills in our societies, to become aware of the dominant ideologies that redefine reality and to challenge oppression, power, social norms and inequalities. I appealed to everyone to join the last great civil rights movement – fighting for the rights of those labelled as mentally ill.

As always, a number of survivors came up to me afterwards and thanked me for telling ‘their’ story. Lots of people wanted to find out more about how they could get involved in the movement, meet with others, start groups. People are impatient for a paradigm shift in the way we understand and respond to human suffering which is now, long overdue. Many are in anguish. Fortunately, there are already some fantastic Hearing Voices Groups running in the area, with several new groups in development. I left feeling proud, inspired and grateful to be part of such a wonderful, powerful movement for change in the world.

There is still so much work to be done. First, it’s time for a bath and then bed.

There Is A Fault In Reality Film

Directed By: Tom Cotton, 2010, Tigerlily Films

Roughly 1% of people in the UK suffer from something called ‘schizophrenia’, yet there is little agreement about what this represents, what causes it, or how best to treat it. Despite the thousands of research studies carried out, if you’ve been diagnosed with this ‘disease of reality’, it is extremely unlikely that anyone will have asked you about your experiences – these are not considered scientifically meaningful. All these contradictions pose an important question: if ‘schizophrenia’ represents a fault in reality, with whom does this fault lie?

In There is a Fault in Reality, writer, director and psychotherapist Tom Cotton explores the stories of three people – Jon, Peter and Jacqui, who’ve all battled with the diagnosis of ‘schizophrenia’ in different ways, and with varying outcomes. Through them, we enter a detailed insider’s view of ‘schizophrenia’, which bears little resemblance to what we think we know. As their stories unfold, the voices they hear are revealed to have clear meanings, and to have identities that are anything but ‘mad.’

 ‘A moving and informative film about ‘schizophrenia’ – real stigma buster.’ Professor Richard Bentall, Award winning author of Madness Explained and Doctoring the Mind

‘This is one of the most important films ever made about psychosis.’ Professor John Read, award winning researcher and co-author of Models of Madness, and Prejudice and Schizophrenia.

Available to buy from : http://www.pccs-books.co.uk/products/there-is-a-fault-in-reality-a-film-by-tom-cotton/#.UYpmEOBFtbw 

Free download available from SnagTV if you’re based in America: http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/do_not_adjust_your_mind_there_is_a_fault_in_reality

Radio New Zealand (2010)

Interviewed by: Kathryn Ryan, 14 April 2010 on the Nine till Noon show

Radio New Zealand Jacqui

Jacqui Dillon is a guest speaker at a conference in Wellington this week and in Auckland next week at the Making Sense of Psychosis conference, held by Auckland University and organized jointly by the NZ branch of the International Society for the Psychological Treatments of Schizophrenia and the NZ Hearing Voices Network. (duration: 17′23″)

See: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/20100414

Madness Radio (June 16, 2009)

What is it like to hear voices? How do people learn to live with their voices, and are voices sometimes positive and helpful? What is the connection between voices and trauma? Jacqui Dillon, voice hearer and director of the UK Hearing Voices Network, discusses how the movement of people who hear voices is creating self-help alternatives to traditional and often abusive mental health care.

Listen: http://www.madnessradio.net/madness-radio-hearing-voices-movement-jacqui-dillon

 

Exile (2008)

Produced by: Jenni Autio, Tea Latvala, Sampo Lehtinen, Oskari Pastila

Written & directed by: Sampo Lehtinen, Oskari Pastila

Exile is an experimental stage performance; a fusion of computer animations, documentary, fictional narrative, music and fashion design.

Exile tells the story of Kathryn, a woman who hears voices and who has built part of her personality based on them. Contrary to general prejudices she finds these voices helpful, even vital to her existence. How does she cope in the modern society where every alteration from the norm seems intolerable and problematised through social and commercial mechanisms.

The idea of Exile was based on a general view that there is no flawless analogy in our individual perceptions. Contextual structure of the work was build around a documentary recorded in London in March 2006 in association with The Hearing Voices Network.

On the soundtrack the fictional narrative intertwines with the documentary (audio) about an actual voice hearer who files an account about her life with voices. The stage act offers visual support to the narrative. Spectators witness the gradual effects a medical attempt to eradicate Kathryns internal voices have on her. While she gradually loses her control over the voices she also surrenders her physical composure and grip on reality.

Read More: http://www.bodynavigation.ru/en/participants/exile.php

Moving On (2007)

Moving On An extract from a training film produced in collaboration with Sam Warner – a psychologist

 

Voices In Your Head? You May Not Be Crazy

Published in: The Times, 27 January 2007, By Michelle Kirsch

We have all had the experience of seeing a person walking down the road, talking loudly to what appears to be him or herself. Before the advent of hands-free mobile phones, which gives the scene a “sane” context, we would have thought the person disturbed, speaking to someone who does not exist outside his own head. Now psychologists studying the phenomenon of hearing voices are asking us to consider two other possibilities: one is that people who hear voices may not be disturbed by them, and the other is that a person who appears to be speaking on a mobile phone might be speaking to one of his voices.

Pretending to speak on a mobile phone is just one strategy that makes life more bearable for the estimated 4 per cent of Britons who hear voices. The 4 per cent figure, as cited by the Hearing Voices Network, an educational and self-help registered charity for voice-hearers, is a conservative estimate. The real figure may be much higher, they say, because anyone who admits to hearing voices may be subjected to close, perhaps unwelcome, psychiatric scrutiny

Read more: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article1295311.ece