The efc Institute is strongly associated with the international Hearing Voices Movement. The movement with its networks, self-help groups and initiatives enables the kind of exchange which for many means they feel better able to cope in their lives. It is important to note that the hearing voices understanding of the efc approach can help people with visions, difficult convictions, physically unexplained, or spirit and similar experiences, too.
In addition, the efc Institute has accepted the challenge to establish the Experience Focussed Counselling approach within psychiatric and psychosocial support services.
The Hearing Voices Movement, represented internationally through Intervoice, has formulated a special need for training to complement medication focussed psychiatric and psychosocial support.
The efc approach is firmly embedded in recovery principles and seeks to contribute to significantly changing the life perspectives of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, which are often very limited.
In this process the approach does also make a contribution to the discussions on validity and reliability of these diagnoses.
Strong long-term side-effects in traditionally primarily medication orientated interventions do make alternative ways of working with voices particularly valuable and interesting for voice hearers and associated persons. In this way an independent and normal life becomes possible again for many voice hearers.
The book Living with voices, Romme et al 2009, introduces some of the experiences in the applicatio nof this approach. In this book 50 voice hearers describe how a making sense approach like efc has helped them to recover, that is, to "live one's own life again and not the life of the voices." (Coleman in Making Sense of Voices, Romme and Escher, 2000).
The training concept of the efc Institute was developed in 2007 by Marius Romme, Sandra Escher and Joachim Schnackenberg in discussion with the German Hearing Voices Network (Netzwerk Stimmenhören).
Since the annual Intervoice conference in Copenhagen, 2007, the efc Institute runs trainings in Experience Focussed Counselling (aka Making Sense of Voices or Working with Voices or Maastricht Approach) in the German speaking countries and beyond.
The efc Institute runs open trainings for anyone interested, such as voice hearers, family or friends and professionally interested parties. In addition, it offers in house trainings in mental health organisations and psychosocial service providers.
In addition to the training the efc Institute offers supervision and regular practical support. There is also a trialogical group on hearing voices in Hanover, Germany.
Training levels 1 and 2 are recognised by the Psychotherapeutic chamber of Bremen and Lower Saxony, Germany, with 18 credit points.