On January 22, 2012, Will Hall, founder of Portland Hearing Voices, trained 7 new facilitators to lead Portland Hearing Voices groups. Portland Hearing Voices support group has had more than 250 people involved since its founding, with visitors and regular participants learning about new ways to understand and support each other around extreme states such as voices, mania, paranoia, and unusual beliefs. It is the only group of its kind in the area and one of just a few on the west coast. Groups have been held twice a month for over a year and will now move to every week, at the same time and place:
Every Tuesday, 6:00-7:30pm, at Empowerment Initiatives, 3941 SE Hawthorne
The new format for the group has 2 facilitators, with Will Hall sometimes present for backup. All of the new facilitators have attended the support group and identify with having experienced voices, visions, and/or extreme states of consciousness. Some have facilitated the group before. Hall’s next step is to expand the regional Hearing Voices network to other locations in and around Portland. Eventually he hopes to expand this network regionally to the rest of Oregon, Washington and California.
Hall trained the new facilitators in basics such as the goals of the groups and essential structures. The training also covered how to handle challenging and triggering situations. After teaching the basics, Hall encouraged new facilitators to find what works for them as group leaders and to experiment with new forms while keeping the essentials. Each new facilitator has a unique story and background, so there is a diversity of style, knowledge and experience that is now coloring the Portland Hearing Voices community. The new skills and energies are sure to keep PHV inspiring, strong and ever evolving.
“Participating in the facilitator training reinforced for me the importance of witnessing experience in building community. I value the effects of being seen and heard. I left the training feeling like a completely different person,” said one participant in the training.
Check their website portlandhearingvoices.net for news and updates on future groups. Portland Hearing Voices is open to all experiencers. Family members and friends are invited to the Mental Diversity Meetup (see the PHV website for details).