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9/28/23 Webinar - Here is a Broken Word: Psychosis and Ethical Accompaniment

Promotional image, reads "Here is a Broken Word: Psychosis and Ethical Accompaniment" 9.28.23 12-1:30pm. It shows a headshot Erin Soros in a large hat, with a nature background. Behind there are pink and purple abstract shapes.

Get ready for a one-of-a-kind event! We are thrilled to invite you to our next webinar, an extraordinary narrative-theoretical performance titled "Here is a Broken Word: Psychosis and Ethical Accompaniment" on Thursday, September 28th at 12pm, Eastern.

This immersive experience will delve into the lived experience of psychosis, its purpose as communication and testimony, and the ethical accompaniment required to foster connection and healing. Dr. Erin Soros, a "mad writer," distinguished scholar, and story-teller, will share her personal journey and expertise on this vital topic.

Webinar Description

We speak of “triggers”—those stressors that lead to psychotic symptom, but what of the potential triggers that lead in the other direction, toward connection, repair, a shared experience with another? When someone is in a psychotic state, how might we speak to them in a way that will provide a kind of holding? And perhaps more importantly: how can we listen?

My talk addresses my experience of being heard by a friend over a series of days when I was experiencing hallucinations and delusions. I explore how my friend’s intricate listening enabled me to wake up from my symptoms and begin grappling with the complex grief that inspired them. I narrate psychosis not simply as a pathology but also as a way of communicating what cannot otherwise be expressed. In particular, I examine psychotic language as a response to ethical abandonment—those moments when we confront atrocity but are made to feel alone in our witnessing—and how delusions and hallucinations can themselves become a form of testimony. Psychosis here both requires and provides a form of ethical accompaniment. When we listen intently to what a psychotic person is trying to tell us, helping them encounter what is too frightening to bear alone, we might find ourselves rooted too in our own pain and fear and longing. Mad speech is cry and gift.

About the Presenter:

Erin Soros, PhD, MFA

A mad settler living in Vancouver, Dr. Erin Soros writes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and theory. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University and a visiting writer at Cambridge. She researches psychosis and the psychiatric and police response to it. Recent articles have appeared in Topia and Sociologica. Her poetry received The Malahat Review Long Poem Prize, inclusion in Best Canadian Poetry, silver at the National Magazine Awards and was a finalist for the CBC Literary Award. Her lyric essay “Cord” received gold at the National Magazine Awards for “One of a Kind Storytelling.” Her fiction received the CBC Literary Award and the Commonwealth Award for the Short Story.