News from 2009

Have you ever received a ‘schizophrenia’ diagnosis?
Film exploring the experiences of people who have received a ‘schizophrenia’ diagnosis
Tom Cotton, film maker and psychotherapist would like to speak to people who have been given SZ diagnoses before filming. He would like the film’s audience to understand what the diagnosis means to the people who receive it, rather than the people who dispense it. If this project sounds interesting to you, you can find out more

Hearing Voices Survey: Do you live in the USA?
If you do, you are invited to participate in a study about your experience of hearing voices, how you cope with the voices, and how you cope with stress. The request for assistance comes from Heather Joppich, a PhD student in a Counseling Psychology program at Tennessee State University. Find out more here

Doctoring the Mind: Why Psychiatric Treatments Fail by Richard Bentall: review, The Telegraph, 05 July 2009
The message of Doctoring the Mind is that the West’s dependence on drugs to treat mental illness is madness … Bentall argues for a new approach to severe mental illness … In this person-centred model, the patient partly defines his own recovery.

Stalking Irish Madness: An Interview with Patrick Tracey, PsychCentral, 30 June 2009
The correction has been firmly planted in Europe, the first glimmer of hope coming twelve years ago with the beginning of the Hearing Voices Network in Maastricht. Their meetings have since flourished in Europe. For some reason this more opened-minded attitude has taken much longer to reach and root itself in the United States. It will though–it’s absolutely inevitable like all irrepressibly good ideas.

Mad Medicine: A New Group for People Who Hear Voices Celebrates Mental Diversity, The Portland Mercury (USA), 25th June 2009
Most people, even many of those working within the mental health system, are only dimly aware of the issues being raised by groups like Portland Hearing Voices (PHV). Nonetheless, the questioning of traditional approaches to experiences that are usually associated with schizophrenia has become quite common …

“Psychiatric diagnoses are less reliable than star signs”, Times Online, 22 June 2009
The psychologist Richard Bentall says that psychiatrists dish out drugs but ignore the value of good relationships.

Calls to end stigma of schizophrenia ‘label’, The Sunday Herald, 20 June 2009
….traditionally, advocates of the schizophrenia diagnosis argue that the illness is a deteriorating condition arising from increased activity in the brain of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Yet the success of behavioural therapies and counselling at the Scottish Hearing Voices Network in Dundee suggests that it may be traumatic experiences and other social factors that lead to the development of psychoses.

Psychiatry and Oppression: A Personal Account of Compulsory Admission and Medical Treatment, Schizophrenia Bulletin, April 2009
Dr Ben Gray concludes that there needs to be more attention paid to voice hearers’ stories and accounts of mental illness, which he links to the rise of democratic psychiatry and the growth of the hearing voices movement, headed by organizations such as Intervoice, Asylum, MindFreedom, and the Hearing Voices Network.

Calls to end stigma of schizophrenia ‘label’ Sunday Herald 11/04/2009
Ron Coleman, diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1982 and treated with electro-shock therapy and drugs, has cited his own nightmare experience in the psychiatric system to call for the term to be dropped altogether.

Unravelling madness, NZ Herald News, 04/04/2009
Bentall prefers to focus on symptoms, usually by getting the patient to list and identify their problems. “A patient may say: ‘I do hear voices, but actually it’s never really bothered me, but I’ve got this terrible relationship with my husband’ or whatever.”

I talk back to the voices in my head, The Guardian, 04/04/2009
I heard a speaker talk about an approach advocated by growing numbers of mental health professionals that involves people engaging with the voices inside their head. He was from the Hearing Voices Network and I agreed to visit him. He said I should be frank and uncompromising with the voices. If they told me to self-harm, I should just say no.

New dialogues on voices, Psychminded/Mental Health Today, February 2009
Cognitive behavioural therapy has long been accepted as a valid therapeutic intervention for people who hear voices. So what does the future hold for more radical approaches, such as voice dialogue, asks Adam James.

People who drink too much coffee could start seeing ghosts or hearing strange voices, UK research has suggested, BBC News, January 2009
Experiencing hallucinations is not a definite sign of mental illness and that about 3% of people regularly hear voices researchers say. “This is the first step toward looking at the wider factors associated with hallucinations,” said Simon Jones, who led the study.

Coffee linked to hallucinations, Independent, 14/01/2009
People who consume coffee and other caffeinated products are more likely to have hallucinations

News from 2008

Schizophrenia patients denied talking therapies, Independent, 07/09/2008
Mental health services are failing to comply with national guidelines, relying instead on potentially risky drugs
Hearing voices of reason, The Times, 14/07/2008
Auditory hallucinations can be frightening but are not always a sign of psychosis. They may even be a joyful experience.

Psychologist’s non-drug approach provokes reaction storm, Psychminded, 1st May 2008
A non-drug therapy used by a clinical psychologist when working with a voice-hearing client has provoked a storm of mixed reactions.
You can read full article here

Reflections on the making of “The Doctor Who Hears Voices” by Rufus May
“Over a million people watched the drama-documentary when it was broadcast in April in the U.K. on channel 4. Thousands of people are now down loading from several Internet sites. It has provoked a strong response from viewers. Many people have been inspired by the film, others more attached to a medical approach to distress have been outraged.”
Read the article here

A dialogue with myself, Independent, 15/04/2008
When Ruth began hearing voices, she turned to a controversial drug-free therapy programme. Now, her story is told in a powerful TV film.

The mad doctor: The extraordinary story of Dr Rufus May, the former psychiatric patient, Independent, 18/03/2008
At the age of 18, Rufus May was diagnosed as an incurable schizophrenic and locked up in a psychiatric hospital. Now, he is a respected psychologist and a passionate campaigner on mental health issues. He is also the guest editor of this special issue. Here, he tells his extraordinary tale.

The Listening Cure, Time/CNN, 21st February 2008
HVN seeks to recast the phenomenon as a normal experience, encouraging members to maintain a dialogue with their voices so they can live peacefully with and even appreciate their presence.

We talked about the voices and my psychiatrist suggested I stop seeing them as a symptom of mental illness, Daily Mail, 07/02/2008
“I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn’t found a psychiatrist who understood how to treat me.”

UEL throws spotlight on ‘hearing voices’ , Newham Recorder, UK, 12 January 2008
The fascinating experiences of people who hear voices will come under the spotlight at a special one-day conference to be held at the University of East London


What to say to the inner voice, CBC News, December 27, 2007
Daniel B. Smiths fascinating new book, Muses, Madmen and Prophets: Rethinking the History of Science and Meaning of Auditory Hallucination.

Muddy Thinking, The Guardian, 09/11/2007
More and more people like Peter Bullimore are turning their backs on the label of schizophrenia and its conventional treatments in an attempt to reclaim their lives.

‘Schizophrenic’ label doubles the torture felt by sufferers, The New Zealand Herald, 19/11/2007
Peter Bullimore still hears aggressive voices inside his head, but he has rejected the stigmatising label of “schizophrenia” and is now campaigning for it to be discarded.

The woman who ignores her voices, The Guardian, 08/09/2007
Her method of coping is to dampen the voices with medication and refuse to engage – except, with extraordinary eloquence, in the work she does to help other people understand.

Woman hears voices with a speech impediment, New Scientist magazine, 20/08/2007
Researchers claim a Swiss woman who fell off her bicycle has yielded a unique insight into how auditory hallucinations are generated.

Botschaften aus der anderen Welt, Frankfurter Rundschau, 17/07/2007
Stimmenhören ist für Justiz und Psychiatrie Symptom für eine Psychose. Oft ist es das tatsächlich. Aber es gibt auch Stimmenhörer, die noch nie in der Psychiatrie waren und sich mit ihren Stimmen arrangiert haben.

Trauma care, Boston Globe, 02/07/2007
For over 25 years, Harvard psychiatrists have helped and studied victims of many of the world’s most devastating events. What they found is more heartening than you might think.

Hidden demons, The Guardian, 15/06/2007
Academic Benjamin Gray recalls his experiences of dealing with voices that other people could not hear.

Is ‘voice-hearing’ an act of lunacy, or are we ignorant to the plight of the sufferers?, Belfast Telegraph, 07/06/2007
This week’s tragic case of a father in London attacking his young daughter has brought people who ‘hear voices’ into the spotlight.

Glad to be Mad, New Zealand Herald, May 14th 2007
The links are clear between insanity and creative genius, suggesting better ways might be found to help sufferers of mental disorders.

Mind over medicine, The Guardian, 11/05/2007
Mental health professionals should look beyond the medicalisation of psychosis and recognise the relevance of traumatic life events.

Hearing voices doesn’t mean you’re mentally ill, icwales, May 2, 2007
Psychologists at Bangor University are planning to delve into the psyches of people who hear voices, but are not mentally ill.

“The harmful concept of Schizophrenia”, article by Marius Romme and Mervyn Morris published in Mental Health Nursing explaining why the term ‘schizophrenia’ is not just stigmatising, but also fundamentally flawed. See article here

Do you hear what I hear?: Psychology undertakes some new directions, Creative Loafing Atlanta, 04/04/2007
Daniel B. Smith’s exploration of a grassroots British organization called the Hearing Voices Network is a mind-blowing deconstruction of our notions of normality.

Hearing Voices, Review of “Muses, Madmen and prophets”, New York Times, 08/04/2007
What pain could have been avoided if only it had been clear that … voices are not necessarily signals of mental illness.

Can hearing voices be a good thing? Local people urged to come forward, Manchester University, 03/04/2007
Psychologists at The University of Manchester are seeking more volunteers for their research into hearing voices, and why some people consider it a positive experience while others find it distressing.

Son attempts to reconcile a father’s war within, San Francisco Chronicle, 02/04/2007
Smith focuses less on his father’s experience of his voices and more on his notion that his father suffered from a pathologizing of voice-hearing in Western culture. To build his case, Smith reflects on earlier eras when voice-hearing was considered both real and powerful.

Voices carry, Boston Globe, 25/03/2007
The message and mystery of auditory hallucinations, from Moses to modern times.

Can You Live With the Voices in Your Head?, New York Times, 25/03/2007
In depth article about hearing voices and the development of the hearing voices movement by Daniel B. Smith from New York, USA.

The Independent on Sunday Mental health special edition: Guest editor, Rufus May, 18/03/2007
Mental health special edition edited by guest editor, Rufus May, mental health activist and INTERVOICE member.

Is there a link between madness and creativity?, Independent on Sunday, 18/03/2007.
Many illustrious thinkers and poets, including Shakespeare, have believed that genius is only a step away from insanity. John Walsh goes in search of evidence in our contemporary culture.

In Your Head: Hearing Voices, Psychology Today, 05/03/2007
People who hear voices in their heads don’t always need psychiatric help. Sometimes the voices within can guide you in everyday life.

How I tamed the voices in my head, The Independent, 06/03/2007
When Eleanor Longden began hearing things, she soon found herself drugged, sectioned and labelled schizophrenic. Then a psychiatrist taught her how to talk back.

The harmful concept of Schizophrenia, Mental Health Nursing, 7 – 11 March 2007
Marius Romme and Mervyn Morris outline their suggestions for a more helpful and cause-related alternative to the harmful concept of schizophrenia.

Voices in your head? You may not be crazy, The Times (UK), 23/01/2007
Four per cent of people in the UK are said to hear voices. A new trial could help them.


Top award for hearing voices group, Source: Sussex Partnership Trust, 01/12/2006
‘Because of the way that the East Sussex Hearing Voices Groups were initiated by service users and depend entirely on the active participation and enthusiastic support of clients and carers, a Best of Health patients’ panel awarded the Patient and Public Involvement Award to them.

Broken home linked to psychosis, BBC, 21/11/2006
People from broken homes may be more prone to psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, research suggests.

Time to listen to the voices again, The Herald, 03/10/2006

Sounding out those voices that nobody else can hear, New Zealand Herald, 06/09/2006
Hearing voices when no one is there can be a symptom of mental illness, yet a study of the phenomenon found nearly half the people who heard voices said their hallucinations were mostly friendly or helpful.

Voices in the head ‘are normal’, BBC, 18/09/2006
Contrary to traditional belief, hearing voices is not necessarily a symptom of mental illness, UK researchers at Manchester University say.

‘I learned to live with voices’, BBC Online, 18/09/2006
Hearing voices has traditionally been viewed as a negative thing and a symptom of mental health problems, but new research has revealed not only do four percent of people hear voices, but some say that the voices are a positive part of their lives.

Listening to the voices, BBC, 14/09/2006
How can hearing voices in your head be a good thing? Researcher Aylish Campbell says voices are a natural part of life and that how it affects you depends how you react to the experience.

Study into millions who hear voices in head launched to coincide with WHVD, Press Association, 13/9/2006
Scientists in the UK are to investigate why so many “normal” people hear voices in their heads.

Hearing Voices – the invisible intruders, “All in the Mind”, ABC Radio, 22/07/2006
The latest research on how auditory hallucinations occur in the brain, what it’s like to live with voices in your head—and the healing power of the international Hearing Voices Network.

Child Abuse can Cause Schizophrenia, EurekAlert!, 13/06/2006
The experience of hearing voices is consistently associated with childhood trauma regardless of diagnosis or genetic pedigree.

News from before 2006

2005 Hi, God here. I know you can hear me, The Times, 24/12/2005
It sounds mad but hearing voices is quite common, with up to half the ‘normal’ population tuned in and most getting good vibrations.

Madness is not all in the mind, doctor, The Times, 06/07/2005
The boundary between sanity and madness varies according to geography. Behaviour that might get you diagnosed with schizophrenia in Britain — hearing voices, let’s say — is regarded elsewhere as, if not normal, at least understandable. In Africa traditional healers are often prized for hearing voices as it demonstrates their contact with the spirit world.Research shows that perhaps as many as one in 10 Britons hears voices but most are scared to mention it.

2003 Experts See Mind’s Voices In New Light, New York Times, 06/05/2003
Not everyone who reports hearing voices has a mental illness.

Voices of reason, The Guardian, 10/12/2003
The creation of the Sheffield paranoia self-help and support group, the first service of its kind in Britain, was audacious – not least because it is run not by clinicians, but by Molloy and former psychiatric patient Peter Bullimore, the unpaid chairman of voluntary mental health group, Sheffield Hearing Voices.

2002 ‘You could say I am a mad psychologist’ , The Independent, 30/06/2002
They told Rufus May he would never recover from his schizophrenia. Now he is a clinician himself, reforming the system from within.

Speaking out , The Guardian, 09/01/2002
Support is growing for a network that says hearing voices can be a positive experience for schizophrenics

2001 Listening cure, The Guardian, 16/11/2001
Hearing voices is a relatively common – and taboo – phenomenon in children and can trigger educational difficulties, but this could change with the publication of a groundbreaking study in Holland

Making sense of the voices, The Guardian, 16/11/2001
Mental health professionals debate the various approaches to helping voice-hearers.

‘They would set her impossible tasks’, The Guardian, 16/11/2001
Maria from Manchester began hearing voices when she was seven – three years after being sexually assaulted by a man in her neighbourhood.

2000 Hearing voices ‘can be healthy’, BBC News, 10/10/2000
People who hear voices inside their heads may be perfectly well and do not necessarily need psychiatric help, according to a study.

Don’t believe everything you hear, Independent, 25/05/2000
Around two million people in Britain hear voices, but very few admit to it, fearing they will be thought mad or dangerous. But according to new research, hearing voices does not necessarily mean it’s time for a visit from the men in white coats.

Talking heads, Observer, 21/05/2000
A radical report argues schizophrenicsshould listen to the voices they hear – not drown them out with drugs.

1998 Helping children who hear voices, BBC News, 03/11/1998
Hearing voices when you are a child may be a temporary condition whose symptoms lessen with age if they are sensitively handled, according to new research.

1993 Scientists Trace ‘Voices’ in Schizophrenia, New York Times, 22/09/1993
HEARING voices, the hallmark symptom of schizophrenia, occurs when there is a heightened activity in the same part of the brain people use when they speak or think words, new findings suggest.

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