Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Hearing Voices Movement: Beyond Critiquing the Status Quo

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We have just celebrated the anniversary of the rapidly expanding global Hearing Voices Movement which was founded more than twenty-five years ago following the ground-breaking research of Professor Marius Romme and Dr Sandra Escher. Romme and Escher have advocated for a radical shift in the way we understand the phenomenon of Hearing Voices; in contrast to traditional, biomedical psychiatry which views voices as an aberrant by-product of genetic, brain and cognitive faults, their research has firmly established that voices make sense when taking into account the traumatic circumstances that frequently provoke them.
voice hearers

The Voices My Daughter Hears

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The voices were extraordinary; in a way, they were like ghosts. I could not see them, but only divine them by the turmoil they stirred up in Annie. They were not polite house ghosts who knew when to leave; they were ne’er-do-wells she could not get rid of. They were tormentors and torturers, testing the limits of her sanity, blackmailing her into submission.

Becoming a Hearing Voices Facilitator

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For three days in December, I was fortunate enough to attend the Hearing Voices Facilitator Training held in Portland, OR. This training expanded my understanding of the voice hearing experience and equipped me with a number of tools to use in facilitating hearing voices support groups. Grounded in a feeling of community, the training was dynamic, emotionally therapeutic, and educational all at the same time – a crystal clear example of how support groups themselves might manifest in the lives of their members.

Psychiatry: We Need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Mental Health

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My name is Leah Harris and I'm a survivor. I am a survivor of psychiatric abuse and trauma. My parents died largely as a result of terrible psychiatric practice. Psychiatric practice that took them when they were young adults and struggling with experiences they didn’t understand. Experiences that were labeled as schizophrenia. Bipolar disorder. My parents were turned from people into permanent patients. They suffered the indignities of forced treatment. Seclusion and restraint. Forced electroshock. Involuntary outpatient commitment. And a shocking amount of disabling heavy-duty psychiatric drugs. And they died young, from a combination of the toxic effects of overmedication, and broken spirits.

Changing Minds About Voices: Action Over Words

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Sometimes the best way to make real change is just to do the work. Sometimes the talk is the work and it can be hard to separate out the two. However, in a growing number of instances, it’s hard to miss the futility of the talking and how tied up we can get in our own virtual war of words. Stepping away can be liberating. Sometimes, while everyone else is wrapped up in the talking, you can get an awful lot done.

Truth is Like a Lion: The 25th Hearing Voices Conference

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The Hearing Voices movement is a beautiful thing, and last year it was 25 years old. What has happened in 25 years? A confidence has grown in a different approach to hearing voices, listening and embracing rather than trying to control and silence voices. Key to this has been Hearing Voices groups and conferences, where people who hear voices are listened to with openness and curiosity. It’s not about telling people who hear voices to throw away their pills if they are taking them, its about creating spaces to listen deeply to what is happening.

“The Whisper Whisperers”

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-Newsweek visits the Hearing Voices Network.

“The Lizard Inside”

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For aeon, Roberta Payne, a professor of literature and the author of Speaking to My Madness: How I Searched for Myself in Schizophrenia, writes...

Study Examines Voice Hearing Accounts of 499 Nonclinical Individuals

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Researchers look at voice hearing experiences shared by nonclinical samples, exploring these experiences in the general population.

New Review Suggests Higher Recovery and Remission Rates for Psychosis

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Meta-analysis gives updated recovery and remission rates for persons identified as having a first-episode psychosis and those diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Fighting for the Meaning of Madness: An Interview with Dr. John Read

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Akansha Vaswani interviews Dr. John Read about the influences on his work and his research on madness, psychosis, and the mental health industry.

“When the Brain is Under Attack”

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The Boston Globe reports on the discovery of a newly recognized neurological disease, anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. The disease is believed to be caused when the body’s immune system attacks proteins in the brain associated with the communication of neurons.
hearing voices angel

My Encounter with the University of Minnesota’s Psychiatric Department

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The voice came to me for three nights in a row, and changed me at my core. I believe my voice was, and is, the voice of G-d, of love. But one devoted friend, an influential physician at the University of Minnesota, felt strongly that I had “lost it” and tried to persuade me to see his psychiatry buddy at the university.

“Why Are So Many Children on Antipsychotic Drugs?”

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“Do they make people less aggressive? Yes, sometimes they do. Will they sedate people? Absolutely. Will they make kids easier to manage? They will,” Robert Whitaker tells Liz Spikol for Philadelphia Magazine. “But I know of no study that shows that medicating these kids long-term will help them grow up and thrive. The developing brain is a very delicate thing. The narrative is that these side effects are mild, and that’s just not true, and that the benefits are well-established, and so often they’re not.”

AVATAR Therapy Shows Some Positive Outcomes, Now What?

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In a commentary piece, Ben Alderson-Day and Nev Jones discuss the AVATAR therapy research for psychosis and propose further questions.

Letters to the Editor: “The Treatment of Choice”

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Readers respond to the New York Times article, “The Treatment of Choice,” about innovative programs for psychosis and schizophrenia that involve patients and their families in treatment decisions. “Narratives of success counter a drumbeat of faulty links of mental illness and violence, inaccuracies which serve only to further stigmatize and isolate individuals with psychiatric illness.”

A Life Hearing Voices: How I Manage Auditory Hallucinations

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Shanika Ranasinghe speaks to ELLE about her experience of hearing voices, the stigma attached to voice-hearing and the tools that have helped her cope, such...

Confronting the Addiction Voice on the Road to Recovery

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Part 1 of this series examined how the disease model of addiction intersects with the genetically based “mental illness” theory and practice of Biological Psychiatry. Part 2 analyzed the serious limitations and sometimes harmful effects of the domination of addiction treatment by the Twelve Step (disease model), and how Biological Psychiatry has both seized upon and expanded the culture of addiction in this country. What follows will be a presentation of some alternative methods for overcoming addiction problems.

The Enduring Myth of the Mad Genius

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From Wellcome Collection: It has long been assumed that great writers and artists must be touched by madness. However, no link between artistic talent and...

“How I Cope With the Three Unwanted Voices That Live Inside my Head”

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What now? I’m frightened of being labelled mentally ill.

Lawyers Starting to Blame Military’s Psychotropic Drugs For Aberrant Behavior

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Military psychiatrists and judges are beginning to see the effects of an eightfold increase of SSRI use in the military since 2005, according to...

United Nations Report Calls for Revolution in Mental Health Care

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In a new report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dr. Dainius Pūras, calls for a move away from the biomedical model and “excessive use of psychotropic medicines.”

The Genetics of Schizophrenia: A Left Brain Theory about a Right Brain Deficit in...

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In recent months, two teams of researchers in the UK and the US published complementary findings about the epigenetic origins of schizophrenia that have scientific communities who indulge in ‘genetic conspiracy theories’ abuzz. While these results are intriguing, and no doubt involve pathbreaking research methodologies, this line of thought represents a decontextualized understanding both of the symptoms that are typically associated with schizophrenia, and their causes.

Breaking The Silence – Supporting Young People who Hear Voices in the US

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In the last few years I’ve developed a sincere admiration for those youth workers who specialise in working with young people pushed out onto the edge of society. I’ve witnessed, first hand, the ease with which they can broach topics that would leave many of us feeling uncomfortable. The best of them can speak about sex, violence, drugs and exploitation in a real and pragmatic way that signals a deep acceptance and understanding of the dilemmas young people face – with no blame or judgement. This ability to transform the taboo into the ordinary is something I’ve tried to develop in my own work. Through Voice Collective, a project supporting children and young people who hear voices in London, I specialise in training youth workers to do the one thing that can push them far outside of their comfort zone – talking with young people about hearing voices.

Barriers to Engaging in Self-Help CBT for Voice Hearing

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Individuals with lived experience and clinicians share about barriers and facilitators to guided self-help CBT for voice hearing.

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