Relating to voices: Exploring the relevance of this concept to people who hear voices

Chin, Jasmine T, Hayward, Mark and Drinnan, Ange (2009) Relating to voices: Exploring the relevance of this concept to people who hear voices. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 82 (1). pp. 1-17. ISSN 1476-0835

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OBJECTIVES: Conceptualizing interactions between voice hearers and their voices as a 'relationship' has recently become an area of psychological inquiry. To date the literature exploring the details of a hearer-voice relationship has arguably privileged the researchers' account of voice hearing at the expense of the individual's explanatory framework and perspective. The present study aimed to establish the perspectives of voice hearers regarding any 'relationship' they may have developed with their voices. METHOD: In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 service users who had heard voices for at least 12 months. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). RESULTS: Analysis resulted in five major themes, three of which are discussed here: Defining the 'other' which detailed the personification process; 'Me vs. the Voice' which explored oppositional positioning between participants and their voice and strategies employed to retain power and 'the Voice and Me' which considered the union that was apparent, as well as participants' rejection of a relational concept. The concept of a 'relationship' was both accepted and rejected by participants. Acceptance of relating was relative to the poverty of social relationships. Rejections were considered in terms of preservation of self-hood, conflict with personal explanatory models and constructions of the term 'relationship'. CONCLUSIONS: This study has provided evidence that supports new developments in working relationally with voices. Working within this frame may help to emphasize hearers' strengths whilst ameliorating distress. However, this concept needs to be posed as a possible rather than an established conceptualization.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Mental Disorders
Research, Tests, Assessments > Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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