How Can We Talk About Difficult Experiences Non-Violently?
I really valued the massive Melbourne Hearing Voices conference last week. There were many highlights, but for me the theme of reconciliation between voice hearers and mental health workers was a powerful one. How can we talk about difficult experiences and be as non-violent as possible? I like this idea. As Russel Brand says (in his recent Huffington Post interview) if you stay non-violent in your protest for a more compassionate equal society, you create a paradigm shift.
This emphasis on creating understanding conversations at the conference was encouraged with dialogues between people on specific subjects – medication, spirituality, psychological approaches to voices etc. – rather than keynotes. It seemed a move away from presentations of competing knowledges, toward a more dialogical conference; a respectful exchange of different viewpoints, feelings and values. When you have a range of views in a presentation it’s less easy to adopt a “good guys vs. bad guys” mentality; you start to see the complexities in more relief.