Hearing distressing Voices Workshop in Palmerston North NZ

Taking a glimpse inside the mind

By JUDITH LACY – Manawatu Standard | Sunday, 05 October 2008 

At first, the voices are just irritating.


And incessant.

You can’t make out what they are saying, but by the tone you know they are not wishing you a nice day.

In both ears, different voices, varying volumes.

Then you pick up the messages: repetitive, commanding, distressing.

“You are disgusting.”

I turn off the tape.

It’s part of the Hearing Voices That Are Distressing workshop, run in Palmerston North by Pathways to Wellbeing Huarahi Whakaoranga Inc.

The interactive, three-hour workshop gives participants insight into some of the challenges faced by people with experience of mental illness, MidCentral region co-ordinator Diana Oomen says.

But listening to the distressing voices is just part of the challenge for workshop participants.

Simultaneously, they have to perform tasks such as brain teasers, reading, asking for information and being interviewed by a health professional.

Ms Oomen says the voices are different to having an internal dialogue, hearing non-distressing voices or trying to tune out background noise while studying.

There’s also not knowing when the voices will start, stop and return, and the tiredness all of it brings.

Imagine, she says, going to the police station to report a break-in, while the voices are occurring.

Or going to Work and Income with a query about your benefit.

Read the full story from the Manawatu Standard here 



6 thoughts on “Hearing distressing Voices Workshop in Palmerston North NZ

  1. thats it irritating at first, but then they get worse why? What if we are been harassed by spirits, what if we are actually the sane ones, can we then throw away our anti psychotics and tell our health pro to…..well that would be just plain bad manners lol..My voices started,just a wisper then your a f wit, moron, asshole etc..Now it’s go curl up and die, and why don’t you kill yourself..i mean would a imaginary voice say such things?. It might be the bloody neighbour ivé had a run in with him, sometimes i think we should look for other logical answers and stop thinking were all nuts..not even docters and people that have spent years studying science and medicine know everything about the universe… although i’m having a hard time convincing them that i do..haha just kidding.


    • Hi Martin.
      Sometimes voices can be so rude and intrusive. We have some great strategies for dealing with voices on our website http://www.hearingvoices.org.nz . We have all found there is usually some link with us that ” encourages” the voices, either an emotional feeling we are having at the time, or a past or present event that is provoking the reaction. it maty be something teeny tiny. and the voices pick it up and blow it completely out of proportion. They can be attention getters. Thats for sure.


  2. Now that you mention it, maybe it is what we expect to hear i remember telling my father that i was having these panic attacks this was just prior to me hearing things, and his response was that i either pull myself togeather and be a man and get over it or go away so i wouldn’t be a burden..And i do start to think that maybe my father is right and my voices are right..I drag people down when i can’t cope, their lifes would be so much easier if i wasn’t around..thats how my father made me feel thats how my voices make me feel..worthless…sorry this proably isn’t the right forum to be going on about personal probs, your website seems all about been positive,,which is good.


    • Hi Martin.
      I think what I have learned is that we cannot get all the support we need from one person. Hearing voices and or seeing visions etc is an experience that can be very frightening and consuming for us. Some people are better than others at offering support. Your father may be good for support in practical matters for instance, such as fixing your car, but not so good on deep emotional matters.

      revealing you hear voices to someone,can result in many different results, not always good.
      That is why one of our focus is to start support groups all over New Zealand. So a person can go there and talk with other people who hear voices. People who have had the same experiences and can offer true support and relate to what you are going through.
      It is like being another species almost, and can make you feel lonely.

      The negative reactions by people can make us feel bad about our experiences. Worthless. Alone. Yet you are not alone up to 10% of us hear voices. IT is just a variation of human experience.
      I focus on the positive here, to encourage other voice hearers to focus on their positive sides too. Such as their creativity, their sensitivity, their knowing. But dont worry, many of us are aware of the struggle that it can be to cope with it all too well.

      I am sure that you too have some great qualities, that are needed in this world. Every creature in this world was made perfect, the ant, the crab, the snail, the fly, and you too.


      • thanks for taking the time to respond, and giving me pause for thought. I am also starting to read the other comments and articles, and am starting to realize what i hear is quite similar to what other people seem to hear. There dosn’t seem to be a support group in my town that i know of in Tauranga, i did think of going to a spiritualist church in the hope of finding answers, but there is a danger that it will confirm the tormented by spirits thing that seems to be more prevalant these days…


  3. No we dont have one in Tauranga yet. Our groups are in Auckland, Hawkes bay, WEllington, Palmerston North.

    We sometimes have events in the weekends you can come too. Are planning one in July. WIll post details on here when it is sorted.

    BEcause people have been told ” they shouldnt hear voices”. Many of us, dont tell anyone about them. AS a result, it used to be that you couldnt find out much about them at all.

    Hopefully now with the internet and youtube etc, that is all changing.

    Intervoice has there on hearingvoices channel on youtube, which has heaps of great videos, where others talk about their experiences.
    The Dr who hears voices is a good one.


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