Newsweek covers the Hearing Voices Movement

Newsweek did an article on the Hearing Voices Movement. I missed it a few days ago. It’s a very positive report. This is big. How wonderful that such a mainstream magazine took this predominantly positive stance. 

From the article:

voicesIn October, Waddingham and more than 200 other voice-hearers from around the world gathered in Thessaloniki, Greece, for the sixth annual World Hearing Voices Congress, organized by Intervoice, an international network of people who hear voices and their supporters. They reject the traditional idea that the voices are a symptom of mental illness. They recast voices as meaningful, albeit unusual, experiences, and believe potential problems lie not in the voices themselves but in a person’s relationship with them.

“If people believe their voices are omnipotent and can harm and control them, then they are less likely to cope and more likely to end up as a psychiatric patient,” says Eugenie Georgaca, a senior lecturer at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the organizer of this year’s conference. “If they have explanations of voices that allow them to deal with them better, that is a first step toward learning to live with them.”

The road to this form of recovery often begins in small support groups run by the Hearing Voices Network (HVN). The first group formed in the Netherlands in 1987, and, since then, others have cropped up in 30 countries, including Bosnia, Canada, Japan, Tanzania and the U.S. Members share their stories and coping mechanisms—for example, setting appointments to talk with the voices, so the voice-hearer can function without distraction the rest of the day. Above all, these groups give voice-hearers a sense of community where they can be seen as people rather than patients.

A central premise of HVN is that these voices frequently emerge following extreme stress or trauma. Research bears that out: At least 70 percent of voice-hearers are thought to have experienced some form of trauma. (READ THE REST)

See also Rachel Waddingham’s post about her experience being interviewed. She also has a link to a PDF with the complete article. Apparently the online version is edited. That PDF link isn’t working for me. I’m not sure why. Give it a try and see if you have better luck.

For more information on topic I’m cutting and pasting the navigation page with hearing voices articles below:

Commentary and a collection of posts on Beyond Meds that look at voice hearing and how to cope with them and grow and heal with them too. 

I found the below excerpted article about a therapist who uses what she learned from a conference with the Hearing Voices Network and Intervoice when she works with clients now. It’s refreshing that some professionals are finally listening to those with lived experience. Frankly it’s never made much sense NOT to have the (healthy and thriving) lunatics running the asylum.

I decided it was time to make a post with a collection of articles on Beyond Meds that deal explicitly with the experience of voice hearers. It will find a permanent home among the drop-down tabs at the top of this page under “Recovery.” It will be updated when new posts are added to the blog.

I’m not sure why it was ever considered good practice to deny someone’s experience. It’s cruel to do that if nothing else and seems to be a no-brainer that we should be kind to those in any kind of emotional distress.  I’m happy to say that even when I worked in social services I never avoided speaking to people about their “delusions” and/or voices even when I was told not to on the job. Some of us have always intuitively understood that all this content from the psyche has meaning. It’s nice to see that finally some of the inherent cruelty in psychiatric and psychological treatment is being challenged and meaningfully changed in a few corners of the world.

Just accept it: The voices are real by Jessica Arenella

Instead of denying the “delusions” and “hallucinations” experienced by her patients, a clinical psychologist describes the transformative and healing power gained by accepting these voices as real.

Command hallucinations are one of the most dreaded and misunderstood phenomena in psychiatry. Overcoming this apprehension is one of the greatest barriers to working effectively with people who hear voices, whether they are diagnosed with psychotic, mood, or dissociative disorders. So, consider these four facts as an anxiolytic of sorts:

1. Voice-hearing is not necessarily a sign of psychiatric illness.1 Many people in the general population report hearing voices. However, if they aren’t in need of psychiatric help and don’t mention such experiences in daily conversation (or at cocktail parties), then no one is the wiser.

2. Hearing voices is not in itself a significant risk factor for violence.2 Under most conditions, even command hallucinations do not predict violence. Generalized hostility and substance abuse are stronger predictors.3

3. People frequently hear voices telling them what to do and do not follow them.4 After all, you tell your patients to do all kinds of things and they ignore you too!

4. Voices may be positive and helpful.5 Sometimes, voices may be experienced in a very positive way—as a form of instinct, intuition, or guidance. For example, on the morning of September 11, 2001, a woman reported hearing a voice that said, “Get off this train now.” She decided to exit the subway one station before her usual one near the World Trade Center. Don’t you wish sometimes that you had a spirit guide to keep you from harm?…

… Once you acknowledge the experience of voice-hearing as real, then the door opens for a constructive conversation about how to make sense of the experience, how to respond to it, and then, how to alter the experience. In HVN groups, as in 12-step programs, peers who have been through the intensity and stigma of the experience are considered an invaluable resource for recovery, because they have first-hand experience of the realness of the voices. (continue reading)

 

The collection:

Websites with more info:

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters