Typically, in Western medical thinking hearing voices has always been associated with mental illness and frequently seen as a symptom of schizophrenia. Yet, we discovered many people who hear voices do not have a mental illness and never seek help. For this reason we are prepared to accept a range of explanations offered by people who hear voices, including spiritual ones, and believe it is essential to the process of recovery from overwhelming voices to understand the meaning of the voices to the voice hearer.
- Marius Romme
Oryx Cohen and Mark Boorse at MCHVN Community Event
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Voices & Visions #1: A straight talking introduction for parents and carers of children and young people who hear voices
Voice Collective, 2012 Download Booklet No. 1
A pdf booklet aimed at parents/supporters, but also suitable for anyone else who wants to understand a bit more about voices and visions. Includes an overview of the range of experiences people can have, how this can affect them and basic tips on how to speak with your child about them.
Annie Stafford and Tracey Riper-Thomas offering the training, "Understanding Voices through a Recovery Perspective"
Rufus May and Elisabeth Svanholmer presenting in Montgomery County
REPRINTED FROM INTERVOICEONLINE.ORG
In our view it is no longer sustainable to think of voices as part of a disease, such as schizophrenia, instead hearing voices can be regarded as a meaningful, real (although sometimes painful, fearful and overwhelming) event, that speak to the person in a metaphorical way about their lives, emotions and environment.
For instance, people experiencing distress as a consequence of abusive or commanding voices can often recognise their voices as those of their actual abusers and the voices have the effect of attacking their sense of self-esteem and worth. It should not be forgotten however, that some people experience helpful and guiding voices, also arising from times of trauma and stress.
Having discovered these kinds of relationships the next step has been to develop techniques to assist voice hearers focus on their experience and get to know their voices better. This is in contradiction to most psychiatric and psychological orthodoxies that assume that such psychopathological symptoms are not open to insight and talking treatments and instead would attempt to distract patients with such symptoms from their voices.
This turns out not only to be bad advice, but actually counterproductive, as such approaches disempower the voice hearer by denying to them their real experience and disarming them from taking on the voices and standing up for themselves. The new approach requires the voice hearer to make space for the voices, to listen but not to necessarily follow, to engage, but in their own time and space essentially to learn how to control them in their own terms, according to their own beliefs and explanatory framework. This acceptance of the voices is crucial to growth and resolution, voice hearers who have learnt these techniques can now say “I hear voices, they are part of me and I am glad they are”.
Let's practice how we might respond...
(from 2-day voice dialogue training with
Rufus and Elisabeth)
18 E. 4th Street, Bridgeport, Pa 19405