In November 2011, with the support of the Wellcome Trust and Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), Hearing the Voice brought 45 experts by experience and profession together for the world’s first interdisciplinary research workshop on voice-hearing.  Professor Marius Romme and Dr Sandra Escher, founders of the world Hearing Voices Movement and fellows of the Durham IAS, entered into lively debate with cognitive neuroscientists and theologians; literary and psychosocial studies scholars unpacked the logics of therapy with clinical psychologists; psychiatrists, artists and philosophers listened with rapt attention to voice-hearers’ discussions of their experience; and all agreed that there was much to be gained by approaching voice-hearing from a multitude of different perspectives.

Two years later, and I am very pleased to report that one of the collaborations initiated at that workshop has just born fruit. Jacqui Dillon (Chair of the Hearing Voices Network and a key advisor to Hearing the Voice), Simon McCarthy-Jones (HtV team member and postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Macquarie University), Marius Romme, Sandra Escher and I have just edited a special issue of Psychosis entitled ‘Voices in a Positive Light’.

What does it mean to view voices and voice-hearing ‘in a positive light’? In our editorial (accessible for free here) we argue that research in to voice-hearing is inspiring in a myriad of ways – it offers new insights into the human condition, new methodologies for understanding and making sense of experience, and new approaches to working with voice-hearers in ways which are respectful, collaborative and even emancipatory. The contributions to ‘Voices in a Positive Light’ in no way deny the very real distress and difficulties experienced by many voice-hearers, but focus on prioritising positive approaches to recovery in and beyond clinical settings, and taking seriously the view that voice-hearing is a natural variation of human experience.

Please click on the links below for abstracts and access options for each article:

Our sincere thanks to each of these contributors, to Professor John Read (Psychosis editor in chief), and the experts whose anonymous feedback helped ensure a robust peer review process.

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