Packed house for mental health workshop

3 November 2016

Packed house for mental health workshop

Two international experts on Hearing Voices were the guest speakers at a workshop held at NorthTec this week.

Ron Coleman and Karen Taylor, from Scotland, are world renowned experts on psychosis and the recovery of patients who hear voices.

They have worked in mental health recovery houses in Scotland, Australia and Italy, and provide training worldwide to professionals. They have also designed successful mental health recovery programmes based on their research and experience, which focuses on recognising the meaning in the voices heard by people.

Ron Coleman has spent the last 25 years training health professionals to understand that the voices heard have meaning, and that people can learn to manage and live with them.

The one-day workshop, titled A Narrative Approach to Managing Psychosis, was organised by The Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa, and was open to people who hear voices, their whānau, support people and Northland mental health professionals.

One of the organisers, NorthTec mental health nursing lecturer Joanna Davison, said the workshop was booked out and people attending included voice hearers, mental health nurses, occupational therapists, support workers and primary mental health workers. They were joined by around 20 NorthTec students from the nursing and social services programmes.

Joanna Davison said: “These are our future mental health workers, and it is excellent that these students have the opportunity to learn techniques to work with people who hear voices, so the person can gain greater understanding and find ways of dealing with these experiences.”

At the workshop, held at the NorthTec marae, Ron Coleman challenged the group to start seeing a person’s experience of voices or visions as being caused by their life’s events rather than their biology, in order to achieve a better outcome for the person.

More information on this topic and further New Zealand workshops is available via

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