INTERVOICE has always considered the importance of accepting peoples’ own explanations for their voice experiences as paramount. Many people believe their voices to have spiritual or other significance. In this section we explore a range of alternative explanations for the experience of voice hearing and other ways that people have found to cope with them.
Research has shown that there are many people who hear voices, some of whom cope with their voices well without psychiatric intervention, it has also been found that there are many people who hear voices who can cope with their voices and regard them as a positive part of their lives. Neither is it the case that voices have always been regarded as a negative experience.
Throughout history and even today there are people who hear voices who find their voices inspirational and comforting. These are facts that on the face of it are hard to square with the extremely negative way that the experience is regarded by psychiatry.
The researchers, practitioners and involved voice hearers involved in INTERVOICE believe it is mistaken to regard voice hearing as part of a psychopathic disease syndrome. Rather, they consider it to be more akin to a variation in human experience – if you like, a faculty or differentiation – something like homosexuality, that it is definitely not open to cure.