• The Practical Handbook of Hearing Voices: Therapeutic and creative approaches

The Practical Handbook of Hearing Voices: Therapeutic and creative approaches

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ISBN 9781910919910
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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.

Foreword – Marius Romme and Sandra Escher

Introduction – Isla Parker, Joachim Schnackenberg and Mark Hopfenbeck

Part One: Hearing our voices

1. The Maastricht Approach: social and personal perspectives on hearing voices
Dirk Corstens

2. Hearing voices: why the words we use matter
Akiko Hart

3. Hearing voices groups
Peter Bullimore

4. Facilitating hearing voices groups
Sasha Priddy and Charlotte Howard

5. Painting has helped me to cope with my voices
Reshma Valliappan

6. Voices: victim to victor
Ron Coleman

7. The things they say
Aimee Wilson

8. Journey to recovery
Clifford O’Connor

9. Hearing voices in grief
Jacqueline Hayes

10. Spirituality, religion and voices
Christopher C.H. Cook

11. Voice hearing and cannabis: a harm-reduction approach
Rufus May and Kate Quinn

12. Black voices and the deafness of whiteness
Colin King

Part Two – Emerging social and therapeutic approaches to working with voices

13. Voices, values and values-based practice: engaging with what matters in voice hearing
David Crepaz-Keay and Bill (K.W.M.) Fulford

14. An invitation to dialogue: what we can all learn from Open Dialogue and Hearing Voices Networks
Olga Runciman and Iseult Twamley

15. Medication and voices: reflections from a relational perspective
Dirk Corstens and Joachim Schnackenberg

16. Voice hearers at work
Caroline Moughton

17. Navigating university as a voice hearer
Deborah Altman

18. Experience focused counselling (Making sense of voices)
Joachim K. Schnackenberg, Oana-Mihaela Iusco and Senait Debesay

19. Voice Dialogue
Ruth Lafferty and Rob Allison

20. Experience focused counselling with children and young people who hear voices
Senait Debesay

21. Understanding voices while living with dementia
David Storm and Ron Coleman

22. How cognitive behaviour therapy can help people who are distressed by hearing voices
Mark Hayward

23. Recovery-oriented cognitive therapy and distressing voices
Aaron Brinen

24. AVATAR therapy: a digital therapy to help people with distressing voices
Mar Rus-Calafell and Tom Craig

25. Relating therapy for voices: learning how to respond assertively in difficult relationships
Mark Hayward, Sheila Evenden and Angie Culham

26. Meaning-making in voice hearing
Nicola Barclay, Guy Dodgson, and Anna Luce

27. Responding to trauma dialogically: an introduction to peer-supported Open Dialogue
Mark Hopfenbeck

29. A psychodynamic understanding of voice hearing
Christine Cox

29. Compassion-focussed therapy and the courage of compassionate relating to voices
Charles Heriot-Maitland

30. Working with voices using the narrative genogram
Lykourgos Karatzaferis

31. Mindfulness and hearing voices
Rufus May and Elisabeth Svanholmer

Part Three - Creative approaches to working with voices

32. Creative ways to engage with voices
Rufus May and Elisabeth Svanholmer

33. Dramatherapy for people who hear voices
Louise Combes

34. Dance movement psychotherapy and voice hearing: looking outward and inward
Mary Coaten

35. Awesome metalcore therapy: using heavy metal music in therapeutic work with voices
Kate Quinn and Daniel Baines

36. A safe space: sound therapy and hearing voices
Jane Ford

37. How writing memoirs and poetry may help voice hearers
Isla Parker

38. Music therapy in multi-disciplinary treatment
Stella Compton Dickinson

Conclusion – Isla Parker, Joachim Schnackenberg and Mark Hopfenbeck

Afterword – Gail A. Hornstein

In a society where voice-hearing is still largely seen as pathological it is a breath of fresh air to read The Practical Handbook of Hearing Voices. Its pages offer a smorgasbord of possibilities and angles on a topic that is so often articulated without nuance or humility. This multi-voiced book brings together chapters exploring a range of topics from language, racism, and spirituality to different therapeutic approaches. In reading it, with my own experiences as a voice hearer front and centre, I welcome this diversity and am hungry for more.
Rai Waddingham, Chair, English National Hearing Voices Network

Hearing voices is a normal human experience – and often a sane response to an overwhelming situation. Thanks to the survivor movement challenging harmful treatments for psychosis, we now have practical guides to coping and thriving with voices. This new volume is a potent antidote to a century of medical folly.
Will Hall, author of The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs and co-founder, Hearing Voices Network USA

A superb book that provides readers with many lifetimes' worth of hard-won insights into voice hearing. Anyone who wants to better understand the experience of hearing voices should read it.
Simon McCarthy-Jones, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin, and author of Can’t You Hear them? The science and significance of voice hearing

This ground-breaking book is the most important resource I have come across on the topic of voice hearing. It will be hugely useful to both trainee and qualified mental health professionals, as well as to people who hear voices, their friends and families. The book outlines in simple language the recent seismic shift in the field, away from the traditional approach that saw voices only as hallucinations, symptoms to be eliminated, and towards an appreciation that voice hearing is a common human experience that different people understand and approach in different ways. The book is a rich and exciting mine of conceptual and practical resources, documenting personal experiences, research and approaches to helping. It is the one volume that every voice hearer, and everyone who helps people who hear voices – or trains others to help them – should have on their shelf.
Anne Cooke, Clinical Director, Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University

The authors of The Practical Handbook of Hearing Voices are a who’s who of the world of voice-hearing experience, scholarship and passionate engagement over more than three decades and together chart the first crucial steps of one of humankind’s greatest journeys. Together they have turned a pathologised ‘symptom’ into a living, life-affirming, supportive set of communities, a range of practices, fresh understandings, relationships, justice and emancipation. They have found real direction within deep distress. This is the life’s work of some simply astonishing ordinary people. Who ‘lacks insight’ now?! They changed my life and they will change yours too. Read this book! 
Dr Jonathan Gadsby, Critical Mental Health Nurses’ Network, Research Fellow, Birmingham City University

Isla Parker

Isla Parker is a pen name. Isla is a freelance editor and writer who promotes the understanding of health issues and wellbeing. She undertook a degree in English and found it interesting to study how literature explores illness. This led to Isla writing a novel about anorexia for teenagers called Size Zero?, which is loosely based on her own experience. Isla has also co-edited The Practical Handbook of Dementia. In her free time Isla enjoys playing the piano. She also takes part in an online writing group that has introduced her to writers from different countries.

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Dr Joachim Schnackenberg

Dr Joachim Schnackenberg is a UK-trained mental health nurse and Germany-trained social worker with experience of applying the Maastricht Hearing Voices Approach in acute and community settings. He is Director of Hearing Voices and Recovery at a Northern German mental health service provider (Diakonie Kropp). He has been part of the Hearing Voices Movement since 2000, as he was originally trained and mentored in the application of the Maastricht Approach by Ron Coleman and Karen Taylor, among others, with additional training by Marius Romme, Sandra Escher and Dirk Corstens, as well as ongoing training by every voice hearer and voice he works with or meets. In 2007 he started formally offering training in the Maastricht Approach in a variety of countries, together with his colleague Senait Debesay, a Germany-trained learning disabilities nurse and therapeutic educator, and a variety of trainer experts by experience. For his PhD, he completed the first mixed-methods effectiveness pilot trial of the Maastricht Approach and he has remained active as a trainer, supervisor, peer-reviewer and consultant in various research projects. In 2017 he lead-authored (in German) the first book to describe using the Maastricht Approach in practice. He is based in the UK and Germany. 

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Mark Hopfenbeck

Mark Hopfenbeck is social anthropologist specialising in health and social policy, an assistant professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), visiting fellow at London South Bank University (LSBU) and individual partner at the Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice in Health and Social Care, St Catherine’s College, Oxford University. At NTNU, he teaches mindfulness, is a member of the Relational Welfare research group and is involved in the development of a reflective group approach to support inmates’ wellbeing and reduce isolation within prisons. For the past 15 years, he has been teaching and supporting the implementation of the Open Dialogue approach. He is currently co-investigator on a large-scale programme of research into crisis and continuing mental health care within the NHS (the ODDESSI study) and is on the advisory board of an international collaborative study to evaluate the effectiveness of Open Dialogue in various contexts around the world (the HOPEnDialogue project).

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