I fully subscribe to the quote: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” —Viktor Frankl In the context of hearing voices I apply this idea very successfully to interrupt the reaction/response process and deliberately (=mindfully) take control of my response. Most frequently I turn my attention to something interesting or fun in my immediate environment. I displace the voice stimuli and replace them with something I can appreciate. In Neuro Linguistic Programming this is called an interrupt/replace technique and it works very well quickly becoming a habit. It is akin to SloMo Therapy being studied at Kings College in a more proactive form. The voices I hear are very aggressive and have purported to be everything from the neighbours to a clandestine gang to spirits to God and minions. In a string that THEY made sense of in various plot twists, rationalising themselves. To counter this ‘re-invention’ as something else I took to naming my voices using childish names, going so far as to exaggerate their worst features in caricatures that I had drawn up by an artist… to shut down multiple variations of what they claimed to be and to mock the levers they use in their stance towards me (they are what I name them is my approach). This is akin to Avatar Therapy in self help mode, also being studied at Kings College. In this way I reduce the strength of my reaction to voices, using their silly name to interrupt them and own my response. This reduces ‘suffering’. Similarly, there were ideas that voices badgered with me where managing the reaction/response was more difficult. For example , when ‘God’ is making threats of eternal hell in some pretty extreme states that give the idea credence at the time… it is difficult to get the brain out of the fear response using everyday stimuli. It isn’t easy to convince the brain that this is NOT possible, when we live in a world where ‘God’ has intervened in the course of human history in the form of four major revealed religions. Here I adopted a form of exposure therapy. I learned to spot the themes of these kinds of threats (recognise them and the nature of them) and then introduced them into my interrupt/replace routine in my own time on my own terms. In time I reduced the extreme in my emotional reaction to the threats voices made. Vestre Viken Hospital Trust in Norway is using something similar in drug free approaches. (Look up “Drug-free after basal exposure therapy, Vestre Viken”) These are all concrete steps applied mindfully – by which I mean making a deliberate choice about which stimuli I am paying attention to and giving meaning to – switching the predictive flow which calls up the ‘implications’ we experience from the automatic response to a focus of my choice. This is a more active intervention than some descriptions of mindfulness and it works by working WITH the natural processes of perception and cognition. I don’t think we have to ‘suffer’ to change our perspectives. We need to ‘recognise’ the problem we want to address, which will have an emotional quotient that is gentler than ‘suffering’ it. From that’space’ that Frankl refers to (objectivity in my language) we can model different perspectives and edit our representation of the world or response frame of reference, without experiencing it as suffering.