Roz Oates will soon be joining the Hearing the Voice team as a PhD Student based in the Department of Geography. We are delighted that she will presenting some of her work on “Narrative as a Therapeutic Strategy for Assisting Voice-Hearers” at the upcoming “Understanding Human Flourishing” Conference, May 16 – 17 at Durham University. An abstract of her talk appears below. If you would like to attend, please register for the conference by Friday 3 May.

     In recent years voice-hearers and researchers have considered the link between schizophrenia and childhood trauma. Marius Romme and Sandra Escher have found that a number of voice-hearers have had traumatic experiences, and that those ‘who suffered negative voices often felt them to be causing chaos in their minds, and demanding so much attention that they could hardly communicate with the outside world any more’.[1] They suggest that keeping a diary is one effective method for the voice-hearer to gain some control over these voices.

     In this paper, I will look at how narrative can externalise voices, and hopefully improve voice-hearers’ relationship with them so that they feel more in control. I will look at how journal-writing can assist voice-hearers, and how bridges can be made between fractured parts of the self, in order to help rebuild confidence and the sense of a positive identity. I am also interested in examining the ways in which voice-hearers have used story-telling, not only to make sense of the content of the voices, but also to use them as a source of creativity. I will examine how the voice-hearing experience can create temporal discontinuities, which make it challenging to represent in a narrative. I am also interested in how these narratives can increase the awareness of the voice-hearing experience by giving others a fuller sense of what it is to hear voices.

[1] Marius Romme and Sandra Escher, Accepting Voices (London: Mind, 1993), p. 19.

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