Voices matter and (so do other extreme or unusual experiences)

The below video is a couple of years old and I somehow missed it. It’s really wonderful and well worth watching. I hope to be able to attend one of these congresses soon. I am starting to entertain the idea of traveling again, though I’m not sure yet when that might happen.

“Voices Matter” is a documentary about the global Hearing Voices Movement, filmed at the 2012 World Hearing Voices Congress in Cardiff, Wales. For more info visit the Open Paradigm Project.

Below I’m cutting and pasting a post from the archives with some commentary and a collection of links on voice hearing.

voicesHearing voices: living and thriving as voice hearers

Some commentary and a collection of posts 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 “Be Well” 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 and hadn’t awoken to just how abusive the system really was I never avoided speaking to people about their “delusions” and/or voices even when I was told not to on the job. I had experienced similar altered states and 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)


More posts on voice hearing and an that which are often called delusions on Beyond Meds:

Websites with more info:

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