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Hearing Voices Simulation Training

Developing Empathy for the Lived Experience of Psychiatric Disability: A Simulation of Hearing Distressing Voices is a 3-hour workshop developed by Pat Deegan, Ph.D., where participants listen to a recorded lecture by Dr. Deegan about the experience of hearing voices, and then listen to a specially designed audiotape that simulates the experience of hearing voices that are distressing. While listening to the voices, participants undertake a series of mock tasks/activities including cognitive testing, social interaction in a community setting, a psychiatric emergency room interview and day treatment activities group. Through the simulation experience participants increase their understanding of the lived-experience of psychiatric disability and increase empathy for those who struggle with it, and the impact their involvement/intervention can have on a voice-hearing person. Dr. Deegan reviews research literature on voice hearing, a number of coping strategies found helpful for voice-hearers and provides guidance for working with people who hear distressing voices.

Learning Objectives

  • To learn the types and varieties of voice hearing experiences.
  • To increase empathy and understanding of the experience of hearing distressing voices.
  • To learn more effective ways of helping people who hear distressing voices.

Who Benefits

The training has been developed and adapted for a wide range of mental health professionals, consumers, family members, community-based first responders, police officers, District Attorneys and Judges.


Hearing Voices Simulation Training (Virtual)

During this time of physical distancing and online schooling, the Hearing Voices that are Distressing Curriculum can still be carried out.

Most of the training can be carried out by a video group call such as Zoom. The instructor can play the DVD by sharing their screen and conduct the discussions at the online meeting.

In advance of the training, each participant needs to put the hearing voices sound file onto a

personal device such as a phone that has headphones they can use for the simulation experience.

A PDF of just the materials needed by the participants needs to be sent to them to use during the training, however, they shouldn’t read it before the training. 


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