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Jacqui Dillon Hearing Voices Network National Chair, England

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Presentation on theme: "Jacqui Dillon Hearing Voices Network National Chair, England"— Presentation transcript:

1 Jacqui Dillon Hearing Voices Network National Chair, England

2 The Hearing Voices Movement Last year, we celebrated 25 th anniversary of the Global Hearing Voices Movement. Professor Marius Romme & Dr Sandra Escher and Patsy Hage. Biological psychiatry = voices are a product of brain and cognitive faults. Radical shift = voices make sense when looking at the traumatic circumstances in life that provoked them. Romme & Escher’s research shows that at least 77%* of people who hear voices have had some traumatic experience which they connect with hearing voices.

3 The Hearing Voices Movement Contests the traditional psychiatric relationship of dominant-expert clinician and passive-recipient patient. Based on mutually respectful relationships – authentic partnerships between experts by experience and experts by profession, working together to bring about the emancipation of voice hearers. Views voice-hearing as a significant and meaningful human experience.

4 The Hearing Voices Movement HVN creates sanctuary; safe spaces to share taboo experiences, where there are real possibilities for healing and growth. Free to share and explore experiences in detail including the content of what voices say, without threat of censorship, loss of liberty or forced medication, a common feature of disclosure in traditional psychiatric settings. While ‘auditory hallucinations’ is the preferred jargon within psychiatric literature, the term ‘hearing voices’, which uses ordinary, non pathologising language framed subjectively, has been reclaimed. Part of a wider aim within the mental health user movement to decolonise medicalised language of human experience.

5 HVN is a network of people who hear voices, their friends and relatives, carers, support workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and others, who work together, to gain a better understanding of hearing voices, seeing visions, tactile sensations and other sensory experiences and work to reduce ignorance and anxiety about these issues.

6 Information Self- help groups Publications Newsletter Training Help-line for voice- hearers Individual & Group Membership Website Research Media Intervoice

7 International Developments Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland Italy, Japan Kenya, Malaysia. New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, USA, Wales….

8 Trilogy Accepting Voices - (1993) Making Sense of Voices – (2000) Living with Voices - (2009)‏

9 Living with Voices

10 Living with Voices Anthology of 50 stories of voice hearers who have learned to live with their voices through accepting them. Contributions from voice hearers from all over the world, including England, Scotland, Wales, Holland, Sweden, Germany, Nigeria, New Zealand, America, Denmark, Norway. Several key themes have emerged that illustrate how it is possible to live a fulfilling life with the experience of hearing voices.

11 Voices are a Survival Strategy: Point at real life problems in the past and the present Use metaphorical language that can be translated into real life challenges Are split off feelings - feelings that are unbearable Are awful messages about terrifying past experiences Voices are both an attack on identity and a way to protect or preserve identity Is there any difference between ‘psychotic’ voices and ‘dissociative’ voices?

12 Causes of Hearing Voices: (as reported by voice hearers) Sexual abuse - 18 (3 + physical abuse)‏ Emotional neglect - 11 (3 + sexual abuse)‏ Adolescent problems - 6 High stress - 4 Being Bullied - 2 Physical abuse - 2 Not clear - 7 Total 50

13 Recent studies have demonstrated that a wide range of adversities are predictors of many forms of serious mental health issues including psychosis. These adversities have been found to include: Mother’s ill health, poor nutrition and high stress during pregnancy. Being the product of an unwanted pregnancy. Early loss of parents via death or abandonment. Attachment difficulties. Witnessing interparental violence. Intergenerational trauma. Dysfunctional parenting (particularly ‘affectionless over control’). Parental substance misuse, mental health problems and criminal behaviour. Childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Childhood emotional or physical neglect. Bullying. Childhood medical illness. War trauma. Poverty, racism and other forms of social inequality. Read, J & Bentall, R (2012). Editorial: Negative childhood experiences and mental health: Theoretical, clinical and primary prevention implications. British Journal of Psychiatry, 200, 89-91.


15 Childhood Adversity & Psychosis For example, research indicates that those abused as children are 9.3 times more likely to develop psychosis; for those suffering the severest kinds of abuse, the risk rises to 48 times (Janssen et al., 2004). People who have endured three kinds of abuse (e.g., sexual, physical, bullying) are at 18-fold higher risk of psychosis, whereas those experiencing five types are 193 more likely to become psychotic (Shevlin et al., 2007). Furthermore, individuals with psychosis are three times more likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse (CSA) than those with other diagnoses, and 15 times more likely to have been abused than non-patients (Bebbington et al., 2004). This link appears to be a causal one, with dose-dependent relationships evident between the severity, frequency and number of types of adverse experience, and the probability of ‘symptoms’.

16 Despite the well-established link between hearing voices and traumatic life experiences, the Hearing Voices Movement explicitly accepts all explanations for hearing voices which may include an array of belief systems, including:

17 Living with Voices: Key Themes ‘Recovery’ is not about getting rid of voices but about: The person understanding their voices in relation to their life experiences The person changing their relationship with their voices so that the voices become harmless and/or helpful.

18 Living with Voices: Key Themes Important steps in recovering from the distress associated with hearing voices: Meeting someone who takes an interest in the voice hearer as a person Giving hope by normalising the experience and showing that there is a way out Meeting people who accept the voices as real; being accepted as a voice hearer by others, but also by oneself Becoming actively interested in the hearing voices experience

19 Living with Voices: Key Themes Important steps in recovering from the distress associated with hearing voices: Recognising the voices as personal and becoming the owner of your voices Changing the power structure between you and your voices Making choices Changing the relationship with your voices Recognising ones own emotions, accepting them and expressing them

20 Divided World

21 United World

22 Further Information:

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