Connecting People and Ideas in the Hearing Voices Movement

The experience for a “psychotic” is an overwhelming one. It’s like being thrown into a turbulent river of change and not being able to swim or being in an alien world without a guidebook and unable to read the signposts. I suggest that we need to learn to swim or that we are taught the language and know a little about this world before we get there. Obviously the confusion and fear associated with an unexpected arrival would result in distress and often a dysfunctioning. This is added to by the social/cultural response to the individual’s apparent loss of control.

I would like to make the proposition that the so called psychotic state is an involuntary and unexpected immersion into the world of the subconscious. I use the term subconscious warily but find it a useful means of labelling a part of human consciousness that allows for experience that has been described by so many different people in so many different ways i.e. the psychotic, the shaman, the mystic, the visionary and so on.

The view that the psychotic is accessing the subconscious and experiencing phenomena shared by these other groups is not readily accepted, however neither is the view that these other groups are also experiencing the same thing. To put it crudely it is a case of ‘my’ God versus ‘your’ God.

I hope one day those who may experience a so-called psychosis in the future and mostly to those that already do so will be able to find this kind of support. I would hope that this would empower individuals by putting their experience on a more positive footing and by putting the experience into a framework and context that can be easily related to. In addition I would hope that once so empowered the individual might be enabled to seek out or take up an established practice and transform an otherwise negative experience into a positive one.

Alan Baker

Intervoice was set up to support the International Hearing Voices Movement, celebrating the diversity and creativity within it. We do what we can to share information and connect people with groups, networks and resources.

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