Adèle de Jager and Paul Rhodes’s article ‘Beyond Madness: a Modern Approach to Hearing Voices’ was published on The Conversation earlier this month and has attracted considerable commentary and media attention.  Drawing on the work of the Hearing Voices Movement established by Marius Romme and Sandra Escher in the late 1980s, the article centres on the fact that voice-hearing is not necessarily a symptom of mental illness and describes some of the techniques that have been developed in order to help people cope with distressing voices.

At one point in the article, the authors discuss the inner speech theory of auditory verbal hallucinations, according to which voice hearing experiences arise when an episode of inner speech is mistakenly attributed to an external source.   They are struck by “how easy it [is] to draw an analogy between … voices and internal ‘self talk’” and claim that this makes voice hearing seem “less foreign and incomprehensible” and “more akin to what most people experience”.   As leading researchers of inner speech theories of voice-hearing, Hearing the Voice team members Charles Fernyhough and Simon McCarthy-Jones have discussed these ideas extensively with many voice-hearers. It’s clear that not all voice-hearers accept that their voices can be reduced to episodes of inner speech, nor do they find it a compelling account of the content of their voice-hearing experiences, and that a wider range of understandings, explanations and theories of voice-hearing is required.

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Read the full article at The Conversation here.

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