There was a great and inspiring article in the New York Times yesterday entitled, Learning to Cope With a Mind’s Taunting Voices. I read it in the morning and was very moved by it but had no commentary for it so thought I’d wait to see if something arose to introduce it with. When I got my friend Vince Boehm’s email I thought I’d share his opening comments for the article since I think The Hearing Voices Network is a great organization as well and I certainly know many people who have learned to live rich lives generally and/or mostly medication free that still hear voices.
What is it like to hear voices? How do people learn to live with their voices, and are voices sometimes positive and helpful?
What is the connection between voices and trauma?
The Hearing Voices Network was established in England in 1988. In following years, this movement has become international and now includes Italy, Finland, Wales, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Japan (1996), Israel, New Zealand, Australia and the USA. They argue that since some people can lead a valuable and productive existence while hearing voices, the largely drug-based and potentially coercive treatment of mainstream medicine might do more harm than good in people who can otherwise function adequately.
This group is an important resource for voice hearers and those they love.
The article which can be read here also has an accompanying video with Joe Holt speaking about his experience. I particularly enjoyed the video as it’s narrated in the first person.
Another important article about voice hearing was published on this blog via Intervoice another organization that works with voice hearers. This was an open letter written to Oprah when she had Jani, the 7 year old “schizophrenic” on her program and only helped maintain the stigma. It’s a lovely letter that gently suggests different ways to help and understand a child that hears voices:
We write this letter primarily for parents and carer givers, in the hope that it will enable them to develop a new and more empowering way of thinking about their children’s experiences, and that it will help them to find ways to help those children with their emotional development and with recovering from being overwhelmed by hearing voices. read the rest here