Visions, Voices, Mystics and Muses

Date/Time
Date(s) - 05/06/2018
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Location
The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre

Category(ies)


Visions, Voices, Mystics and Muses is an illustrated talk by Ivan Barry which aims to raise awareness and reduce stigma relating to the experience of hearing voices and seeing visions.

Often, when we think about voices and visions, we think too quickly of mental illness. For many people, having unusual experiences like this seems to indicate pathology and illness rather than creativity and possibility. Yet many aspects of our current world realities are underpinned and contributed to by individuals who have reported remarkable experiences and have obtained connection and access to higher knowledge and learning. Gifts that they have gone on to share with us.

Ivan Barry worked for over twenty years in hospital and community settings in the UK, first as a nurse in Coventry, England, then becoming a patient advocate he helped to set up and run support groups for those hearing critical and challenging voices in Coventry, England, Madison, Wisconsin, USA and Edinburgh, Scotland. These groups helped to create safe spaces for individuals to share and discuss their experiences as well as looking at ways to try and cope better and share these helpful and empowering ideas.

Ivan began to research historical examples of voices and visions and quickly realised that our very world today was to some extent formed and contributed to by remarkable people who have had these unusual experiences. His talk on “Vision, Voices, Mystics and Muses” is a light-hearted look at this and we will see how Art, Sciences, Music, Medicine, Religion, Politics and Literature have evolved in part through the insights and experiences that these individuals have undergone.

This is a talk Ivan often gives to voice hearers and it has often helped to raise their self-esteem enormously. The purpose of these talks is to raise awareness of the commonality of voice hearing in the general population, to reduce stigma and misunderstanding and to share ideas on coping with difficult experiences.

In this talk, we will explore some of the unusual experiences of historical figures that have created the world we have inherited and live in today. From religion, art and the sciences to music, philosophy and literature, voice hearers and visionaries have played a prominent role in our collective human journey!

Come along and meet some famous figures whose pains, pleasures and achievements still resonate in our lived experiences today. We will look at William Blake, Joan of Arc, The Beatles, Socrates, Hildegard Von Bingen, Sir Anthony Hopkins and more.

Ivan is a long time member of the European Hearing Voices Movement, which sprang out of patient protest and action groups calling for positive changes in the way people feel they were discriminated against because of their mental health diagnosis and offered limited treatment options in the 1990s.

Those diagnosed with schizophrenic conditions have the poorest recovery rates of all mental health conditions to this day. They still say that they do not feel heard.

If we cannot listen to people who hear voices…who will?

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