Childhood Trauma and Auditory Verbal Hallucinations


Researchers in the Netherlands compared childhood trauma and auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) in 127 non-psychotic individuals with frequent AVH, healthy controls, and 100 psychotic patients.  They found that there was no difference in the prevalence of traumatic experiences in the two groups of voice-hearers. Neither did the type of childhood trauma predict the positive or negative emotional valence of the voices and associated distress. Results appear in Psychological Medicine.

Article → 

Note from Kermit Cole, “In the News” editor:
When I worked in research, incoming subjects were often differentiated as “psychotic” or “traumatized” based on little more than the valence or other characteristics of the voices.  The fact that this made research (at least in that setting, but the fact is of course almost pervasive) into the connections between trauma and voices all but impossible was one of the things that lead me to read “Mad in America,” and set me on the course that landed me here. So this is a particularly pleasing study for me to post.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. When you cease to see and think of “voices” as a sickness or disease, you’ll finally understand.

    Hearing and Seeing are natural and normal functions of the mind. We hear and see with our ears and eyes, but we also hear and see with our mind. It’s normal.

    “eyes to see” = clairvoyance, inner-vision
    “ears to hear” = telepathy

    There are no “special” or “chosen” people who “have” these things, but others don’t. Psyche’s abilities are just as natural and normal to everyone as having bone and skin.

    STOP mis-treating psyche as a disease when it’s NOT.

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