The efc Team

The efc Team consists of a range of trainers, who come together as freelancers for trainings, as well as for consultations and supervisions. 

Dr. Joachim Schnackenberg

Joachim Schnackenberg studied mental health nursing (DIP HE in Mental Health Nursing) at the University of the West of England. After qualifying in September 2000 he worked in acute psychiatric settings in Gloucester and Bristol. In June 2000 Schnackenberg attended a training workshop on voice hearing facilitated by Ron Coleman and Mike Smith, which greatly inspired him. 

Coleman subsequently continued to train and supervise Schnackenberg for several years in the application of the efc approach, amongst others for the application of efc in acute psychiatric settings. 

In 2006, in the context of his social work studies at the University of Applied Sciences, Hanover, Germany, Schnackenberg contacted Professor Romme and Dr Escher. He engaged in further training with them to achieve certification as a trainer and supervisor in efc. During this time he also translated "Making Sense of Voices" into German. This translation ("Stimmenhören verstehen") was first published in 2008 and republished in 2013. 

From 2007 to 2015 Schnackenberg worked in community psychiatric services in London. In February 2016 he took on the newly created role of director of voice hearing and recovery in the psychiatric services of the Diakonie Kropp, Northern Germany. 

Joachim Schnackenberg has been co-director and a trainer and supervisor at the efc Institute since 2007. Since 2009 he has also been undertaking research in the area of hearing voices and recovery.

He was awarded the academic degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the University of the West of Scotland (in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences, Hanover, Germany) with a mixed-methods effectiveness study. One part of his research was, among others, the first randomised controlled pilot study in Experience Focussed Counselling with voice hearers. Schnackenberg remains an active researcher and is/was part of a number of research projects.

He did his training as a Voice Dialogue Facilitator with John Kent and Michael Zimmermann.

Peer review activities, among others, for the following professional journals: BMJ Mental Health; Psychosis (Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches); Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice; Psychiatrische Praxis; Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy; Nordic Psychology; 

Senait Debesay

Senait Debesay is a trained learning disability nurse as well as a state-recognised therapeutic educator (Diplom-Heilpädagogin (FH)). 

Her special interest is in empowerment. She works in a community-based psychiatric clinic for children and young people in Hanover, Germany. Her special focus in her work with children, young people and families are developmental issues. 

She is also specialised in the topic of selective mutism. 

Debesay has delivered important pioneering work in recent years as she has also been applying the efc counselling approach with children and young people. 

Senait Debesay is a founding member of the trialogical group in Hanover, as well as an efc counsellor for adults. She is also a trainer and supervisor in efc. 

She is the author or co-author of chapter publications on EFC with children and young people.  

Experts by experience

The efc Institute is pleased to have worked and continue to work with a number of different experts by experience as part of the efc trainings/talks team.

Current experts by experience

Oana Iusco (Austria) has been a voice hearer since her early childhood. Within her own recovery journey, she has also benefited greatly from the efc approach. She works, is nearing the end of her biology and philosophy studies and she volunteers in the areas of mental health in young adults as well as in hearing voices.

Monika Mikus (Austria) has been part of the work of the efc Team since 2015. She has been active in raising public awareness in Austria to counter societal fears of hearing voices since 2006. She also has a homepage to support her work: <LINK></link>.

Christian Feldmann (Switzerland), born in 1977, voice hearer since aged 17, currently employed as a peer worker with the university psychiatric services in Bern, expert by experience in relation to hearing voices and recovery, EFC trainer, active within the Swiss hearing voices network -

Past experts by experience

Suzanne Engelen (Netherlands); Rachel Waddingham (England); Christian Derflinger (Austria)

Suzanne Engelen (past, long-time trainer)

From 2008 - 2016 Suzanne Engelen was active as part of the efc training team. She was a very able and inspiring trainer. We thank her for her great commitment over all these years and wish her all the best for her future.

She studied mental health sciences as well as social paedagoy in Maastricht/Netherlands. 

As an expert by experience, she is also an active member of Intervoice. Engelen did work, amongst other things, for Weerklank (Dutch hearing voices network) and the TREE project (recovery focussed training). The TREE project aims to facilitate recovery, empowerment and expertise based on experience. 

Suzanne Engelen has worked as a speaker and trainer on voice hearing and recovery internationally, for example in Belgium, Germany, Scotland, Denmark, Bulgaria, Albania, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland and Australia.