With a foreword from Marius Romme and Sandra Escher.
Hearing voices, seeing visions and similar out-of-the-ordinary experiences have long intrigued and mystified humankind. The dominant scientific and medical understandings of these phenomena tend to problematise them. This ground-breaking book builds on the work of the Hearing Voices Movement and of the researchers Marius Romme and Sandra Escher in challenging this perception. The book is a collection of chapters by voice hearers, mental health professionals and researchers describing a myriad of therapeutic and creative approaches and strategies that people find helpful in relating to voices when they find them distressing. It is based on insights, understandings and knowledge derived from the first-hand experience of voice hearers and from mental health practice and research that show that the person's relationship with the voices and what the voices say are key to understanding and living with them; that voices are not in themselves a problem and can even be helpful; that there is a strong connection between voices and unwanted emotions; that life-long medication is not the inevitable and only treatment and, most importantly perhaps, that voice hearers can live well with their voices (even if it is sometimes hard work).
The book is presented in three parts: Part one, 'Hearing our voices', includes voice hearers' perspectives as to what has helped them to recover from breakdown so that they are able to live full lives, including Hearing Voices Groups and peer support. Part two, 'Emerging social and therapeutic approaches to working with voices', explores different non-medical and therapeutic approaches that help voice hearers to make sense of and live well with their voices. Part three, 'Creative approaches to working with voices', describes using creative arts, such as dance, drama and poetry, to help voice hearers relate to their voices in positive ways.