Three phases of voice hearing
Research has shown that there 3 phases in voice hearing:
1 Starting Phase. With the sudden onset of voices, the voice hearer often denies the experience and withdraws in to themselves. This leads to a sense of isolation and a fear of madness itself.
2 Organizational Phase. After the voice hearer begins to normalize the experience, the process of selection and communication with the voices can begin.
3 Stabilization Phase. A more continuous way of handling the voices is developed by the voice hearer, allowing them to gain control over the voices, instead of the voices having control over them.
Involvement in a Hearing Voices self-help group can help individuals to progress through the three stages by creating acceptance, offering mutual support and coping strategies.
History of the hearing voices network
In 1987, Marius Romme, a social psychiatrist in Maastrict and Pasty Hage, a voice hearer went on Dutch television to speak about voices and to ask people who heard voices to contact them.
750 people responded
450 heard voices
300 could not cope
150 were able to handle them.
Research following on from this response led to the establishment of the resonance Foundation - the first self-help group. The first Hearing Voices conference was held in Manchester in 1988, to give professionals an insight into the voice hearing experience. The Network has gone on to become a worldwide movement .
In the U. K. this first conference was held in 1990 in Manchester, brought about by people who has learnt about the research done in Holland and the work of the Resonance Foundation. Thirteen people attended. There are now more than 90 groups in the U. K.
If you're looking for answers, don't ask the learned man, ask the experienced man. Chinese proverb.
What the research shows is that the voices exist. We must also accept that we cannot change the voices. They are not curable, just as you cannot cure left handedness or dyslexia - human variations are not open to cure - only to coping. Therefore, to assist people to cope, we should not give therapy that does not work. We should let people decide for themselves what helps or not. It takes time for people to accept that hearing voices is something that belongs to them.
Professor Marius Romme.
In a survey of 375 psychology students more than a third reported hearing voices with the characteristics of auditory hallucinations.
Posey and Losch (1984)
Consider all the options
The work of the Hearing Voices Network is the cutting edge of enlightened practice. Self-help groups offer another option which can be used in conjunction with existing therapies: medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy etc.
The aims of the Hearing Voices Network - Cymru include:
Giving people a safe and confidential environment to explore their own experiences and to develop personal coping strategies.
Normalization of the Voice Hearing Experience.
Building a therapeutic community where people can feel valued and accepted.