All posts by HearingVoicesNYC

The Voices Behind The Book of Form and Emptiness: Ruth Ozeki in Conversation with the Hearing Voices Network

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki tells the story of a young voice hearer named Benny Oh. The novel is narrated by one of Benny’s voices, a book that tells the story of Benny’s life. Although Benny experiences mainstream psychiatric care including psychiatric hospitalization, it is not the medical model that helps Benny make sense of his life. 

Like many voice hearers, Benny makes meaning out of his experiences through developing relationships with fellow psychiatric survivors and voice hearers, and through finding ways to relate positively to his own voices. The Book of Form and Emptiness, which won the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022, is a remarkable example of how the core principles and understandings of the Hearing Voices Network approach are reaching new audiences around the world. 

On Thursday, September 29th at 6PM Eastern, join us for a lively conversation with Ruth Ozeki and the Hearing Voices Network USA about the power of our voices and the stories we inhabit. Panelists include: Ruth Ozeki, Author; Jeannie Bass, Director of Peer Services and HVN-USA Board member; Claire Bien, Author, HVN-USA Board member, and president, ISPS-US; Derek Pyle, Writer and HVN support group facilitator. With thanks to Remy Blasko.

About the presenters:

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. Her acclaimed novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness, published by Viking in September 2021, tells the story of a young boy who, after the death of his father, starts to hear voices and finds solace in the companionship of his very own book. 

Claire Bien is a Chinese immigrant, voice hearer, author, member of the HVN-USA board, and president of ISPS-US. She facilitates three HVN support groups – including one at Yale Psychiatric Hospital. Books, and the people in them, have provided her with great understanding and much guidance for ways of being in the world. 

Jeannie Bass is a voice hearer, member of the HVN-USA board of directors and Director of Peer Support Services in a Massachusetts public psychiatric hospital. She has facilitated an HVN group there since 2014. Her story was featured on NBC in 2018. Jeannie approaches life with a belief that there’s “no stronger connection between people than storytelling.” 

Derek Pyle has lived experience of hearing voices and visions, and he facilitates Hearing Voices Network groups online and in-person. His writing has appeared in Madness Network News, Mad in America, and Lion’s Roar.

Register here:

“Life With Voices” Webinar with Dmitriy Gutkovich

Thursday, Sept. 24: Join this ISPS-US Webinar:
Life with Voices: A Guide for Harmony, with Dmitriy Gutkovich
September 24, 2020, 12:00 – 1:30 pm New York time zone.

A positive voice ecosystem is one where voice-hearers talk to friendly voices, on enjoyable topics, and only when they are not busy. For voice hearers who do not want to or cannot get rid of their voices, achieving this positive voice ecosystem is key for a desired lifestyle. After a decade of lived experience and community leadership roles, Dmitriy Gutkovich has completed a book to help voice hearers achieve harmony with hostile voices and to avoid confusing beliefs, all while maintaining physical community.

Among the strategies presented will be understanding the motivations of distressing voices, defending against their attacks on attention and happiness, and navigating the relationships into harmony rather than hostility. Listeners will also gain insights on how to explain the hearing voices experience, and how to recruit a physical community that helps voice hearers, rather than causing additional pain.

Whether you are a voice-hearer, a family member, a friend, an academic, or a provider, this webinar aims to deepen your understanding, and to teach you the core skills for navigating, a life with voices.

About the Presenter
Dmitriy’s journey to help the hearing voices community has earned him leadership roles in 4 nonprofits (Hearing Voices Network USA, ISPS-US, HVN-NYC, and NYC PWC), an advisory role for the Yale Cope Project, and to being a coach, facilitator, and advocate for the hearing voices community. He is now also the author of the recently completed Life with Voices: A Guide for Harmony.

His main projects include celebrating the stories of those with lived experience, and creating a forum where those with lived experience can share their tools and strategies for improving quality-of-life.

Register here.
A donation of $5-$40 is requested, though no one turned away for lack of funds. Please note that your donation goes to a good cause: it supports the efforts of ISPS-US to bring more attention to psychological and social approaches to psychosis. Due to the pandemic, it is a difficult time for a small non-profit like ISPS-US, so any donation you can make is much appreciated!

But if you cannot afford to donate anything, there are instructions under “event description” on the website about how to register without donating.

ISPS-US webinars are recorded and shared on the ISPS US website. Those who register will be emailed a link to the recording when it becomes available.

For more information about the webinar, contact Ron Unger: [email protected]

COVID-19 Update

Unfortunately, in-person support groups in New York have been cancelled due to COVID-19. However, there are several online support groups still running. For more information, check out the Hearing Voices USA page.

In addition, our film screening of Beyond Possible at CUNY has been cancelled.

We wish everyone good health!

Beyond Possible: Film Screening 4/28 6pm

What is it like to hear voices that others do not? What can we learn from those who have had these experiences and are now leading fulfilling lives? This film screening and panel discussion will feature insights from voice-hearers from many walks of life. It will also introduce the Hearing Voices approach, a collaborative and innovative way of supporting people with voices, visions and other unusual experiences.

Free & Open to the Public 

Screening will be followed by a panel discussion with individuals with lived experience of hearing voices 

Exploring Non-Consensus Reality

Come to our FREE event with Institute for the Development of Human Arts

Register HERE

October 23rd, 2019 7-9pm

About this Event


Those who hear voices or have other unusual perceptions have a long history of being cut out of the conversation regarding the true meaning of their experiences. Weighed down by labels of insanity and stigmas of being dangerous, the 5 to 15% of humans who experience these phenomena most often decline to self-identify, treating their rich inner worlds as a closely guarded secret. Hearing Voices Network is building a community where voice hearers and allies can reclaim their narrative – while sharing the insights, support, and strategies that are known to improve quality of life.

On October 23rd, IDHA is hosting an evening of community exploration centered on hearing voices and the experience of perceiving non-consensus reality. How can we challenge and shift inaccurate cultural labels when acknowledging our truths so often leads to significant social and career stigma? What are the alternative interpretations and strategies for living while hearing voices?We will be joined by an expert-by-training and an expert-by-experience from the Hearing Voices Network NYC Board to repaint the picture on voices and cultural norms, digging into the challenges of a human rights movement discredited before it even speaks. The presenters will share their work, relaying the hearing voices experience, non-medical solutions for maintaining happiness and stability, and the history of voice hearers from around the country and world coming together to emphatically declare “no” to labels and prejudices.


Dmitriy Gutkovich

Leah Rokeach, LCSW

This event is open to all people, including people with lived experience, family members, activists, allies, and psychiatrists or other mental health providers. We recognize a diverse set of perspectives, including people with lived experience who prefer medical explanations, as well as mental health professionals offering criticisms on their careers and research.

World Hearing Voices Day Event on 9/14/19

A full 5 to 13% of humanity hears voices during their lifetime. Whether they believe they are psychics or in need of psychiatry, talking to spirits or responding to satellites, most of these people will not self-identify or share their experience to family, friends, or community. What are these voices that others can’t hear? We suppose it is a matter of perspective…

To celebrate World Hearing Voices Day on Sept 14th, please join us to hear from five presenters with very different backgrounds and understandings of the hearing voices phenomenon. 

Please forward this message or share a #HearingVoices tag, and we hope to see you on Saturday the 14th 2:00 PM, at Perspectives on Hearing Voices.

Where: One Spirit Learning Alliance
247 West 36th Street 6th Floor
New York, NY

When: Saturday September 14th 2019 at 2pm

Cost: FREE but you must register:

Don’t React! Choose How to Relate to Distressing Voices

ISPS-US recently had a webinar on relating to distressing voices:

“There has recently been a shift from conceptualizing a voice as a sensory stimulus that the hearer holds beliefs about, to a voice as a person-like stimulus which the hearer has a relationship with. Understanding voice hearing experiences within relational frameworks has resulted in the development of psychological therapies that focus upon the experience of relating to and with distressing voices. This presentation explores lessons learnt from the development, experience and evaluation of one of these therapies – Relating Therapy. These lessons are located within the broader context of other relationally-based therapies that seek to support recovery through the use of digital enhancement (Avatar Therapy) and dynamic interaction with voices (Talking With Voices).”

The presenter, Mark Hayward, is both a practicing therapist and a researcher specializing in this approach.

You can watch it HERE