Hearing Voices NYC has been seeking 501(c)(3) status since January 2019.
Learn about our current Board of Directors & Key Organizers:
Jessica Arenella, PhD
Jessica Arenella’s interest in the Hearing Voices movement began in 2005, after reading “Making Sense of Voices” by Marius Romme and Sandra Escher. When the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene hosted members of Intervoice and Hearing Voices USA in 2011, she attended the comprehensive facilitator training. Dr. Arenella served as a support group co-facilitator with a voice-hearer for nearly two years at the Jefferson Market Library. In 2013, she participated in the first Maastricht Interview training in the United States.
Dr. Arenella has been instrumental bringing additional workshops, film lectures and trainings to the NYC area to promote interest in the Hearing Voices Movement. She has also given lectures and written about the subject. She is one of the co-founders of Hearing Voices NYC.
In her position as executive board member and as current President of the United States chapter of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS-US), Dr. Arenella has worked to promote the visibility of voice hearers, including having voice hearers as plenary speakers at every national conference since 2013.
Dr. Arenella is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in NYC and NJ. She works with a number of individuals who report having extreme or unusual sensory experiences such as having voices and visions. She also works with family members to help them to better understand and assist their loved ones with extreme or unusual sensory experiences. Dr. Arenella’s goal is for Hearing Voices support groups to be as widely accepted and available as 12-step groups are for people who struggle with addiction.
Marie Brown is a clinical psychology doctoral candidate at Long Island University Brooklyn and co-founder of Hearing Voices Network NYC. She is the editor (along with Marilyn Charles) of Women and Psychosis: Multidisciplinary Perspectives and Women and the Psycho-Social Construction of Madness. She co-led the Harlem House Hearing Voices Group, alongside Barry Floyd, for four years. She is on the Board of Directors for seeking 501(c)(3) status for the organization.
Matt has been a Hearing Voices Group Facilitator since 2016, co-leading the Morningside Heights Hearing Voices Group for several years. He has been instrumental in developing web-based peer support for Hearing Voices NYC group members to communicate outside of the group setting. In addition, Matt has conducted trainings in the Hearing Voices approach, worked as a personal consultant for mental health organizations, and has been a public speaker on the topic of hearing voices. His story has been been featured on NPR’s segment about the Hearing Voices Movement. He is on the Board of Directors for seeking 501(c)(3) status for the organization.
Barry A. Floyd
Barry A. Floyd has been a voice hearer for over six decades and is a co-founder of Hearing Voices Network NYC. Here’s his story: At the age of three my sister would ask me who was I talking to and my reply was that I was talking to my voices. At that time I felt that my voices were very kind to me. They would assist me in putting model planes together and other types of models for my amusement. I guess you could say that they were my friends. They said they would not let me down and they would always be there for me. Having someone to talk to on a daily basis was good for me and it helped. My voices were good problem-solvers. I spent a lot of time by myself never talking to other people. I grew up in a family of three brothers and three sisters and a mother and a father. I guess you can say I had a pretty good childhood, just me and my voices. My voices began to turn on me in elementary school when I was about 10 years old. They became so mean and were always talking bad about myself and other people. They would have me engage in bad activities with my fellow students. Low and behold my life was a mess with my voices. They were command voices and they never let up and they taunted me on a daily basis. Not knowing what was going on and having no where to turn to, I suffered. I continued to suffer for decades, having no control over my voices and their commands. They were very hard to deal with. My voices caused me not to finish college even after three attempts- they caused me to never complete anything that had to do in my life. Back in 2011, I met another voice-hearer name Ron Coleman. He taught me how to deal with my voices and it was very productive. I began to get control of my voices. I eventually came to facilitate a total of fourteen groups and these groups aided me in my recovery. Now knowing how to deal with my voices, I was able to live a productive life. I have managed to raise two daughters on my own, Kaleisha and Keyanna. It was a hard ordeal but we managed to stay together through it all. They became well-rounded individuals and they live on their own with my help, voices and all.
Dmitriy has spent the last decade standardizing his insights and strategies for his lived experience. Through this process, he now enjoys career, family, and life as a whole with minimal added burden. Dmitriy joined Hearing Voices NYC to help foster a safe space devoid of stigma, where those with lived experience can gain peer mentorship in overcoming difficult scenarios. In the face of centuries of stigma and misunderstanding, it is time for those who have lived experience to come together. Through conversation and community we are adding new directions for research, mitigating the social and career costs of being open about our reality, and improving the quality of life for millions of people. Hearing Voices NYC is committed to building this network of success stories: ready to support each other through hardship, and to change the national conversation.
Leah Rokeach, LCSW
Leah is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Brooklyn, New York. Her speciality is working with people who experience distressing voices and visions, or what is commonly called “psychosis”. She is trained and certified in CBTp, ACT, EMDR, and Somatic Intervention. In 2011, she trained with Ron Coleman in how to facilitate Hearing Voices Groups. Since 2013, Leah has co-facilitated a Hearing Voices Group for Jewish Orthodox men, and in September 2018 she started a second Hearing Voices group for Orthodox women. She is proud to be one of the co-founders of Hearing Voices NYC. She is also interested in working with families of voice-hearers on how to help support their loved ones. She is also the secretary of ISPS-US and chair of the Membership Committee.
Author of the memoir Name All the Animals, Alison Smith writing has been published in Granta, McSweeney’s, The New York Times, Glamour and Real Simple. Smith plays city planner Jane Jacobs on Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She is a certified HVN facilitator and a member of Welcome Home Northampton—an organization dedicated to resettling Congolese refugees. She serves on the human rights committee for the Recovery Learning Community (recently renamed the Wildflower Alliance). She lives in New York and Northampton with her partner and their dogs. She is on the Board of Directors for seeking 501(c)(3) status for the organization.