Hearing Voices Network
The Hearing Voices Network is a self-help user-run organization for people who experience auditory hallucinations ("hear voices"). Although members may have a psychiatric diagnosis, the group promotes an alternative approach, where voices are not necessarily seen as signs of mental illness.
Description and philosophy
They argue that since some people can lead a valuable and productive existence while hearing voices, the largely drug-based and potentially coercive treatment of mainstream medicine might do more harm than good in people who can otherwise function adequately.
The organization was founded in 1988 in Manchester, England by five mental health workers, but has somewhat distanced itself from the psychiatric profession through its alternative philosophy. The general approach of the network is shared with other groups around the world, which are often grouped as the Hearing Voices Movement.Currently, there are over 40 groups in the network across Britain. In these groups voice hearers are afforded the opportunity in a non-medical setting to share their experiences, coping mechanisms and explanatory frameworks. These groups are exclusive to individuals who hear voices. Since its inception the network has developed considerably as an institutional body and now publishes newsletters, guides to the voice hearing experience and workbooks where individuals can record and explore their own experiences with voice hearing.
Dutch psychiatrist Marius Romme, the co-author of Accepting Voices, has provided an intellectual basis for this group. He advocates a view that the hearing of voices is not necessarily an indication of mental illness, and that patients should be encouraged to explore their voices and negotiate with them.
- Bracken, Pat; Thomas, P (24 March 2001). "Postpsychiatry: a new direction for mental health". British Medical Journal 322 (7288): 726. doi:10.1136/bmj.322.7288.724. PMC 1119907. PMID 11264215.
- Martin, P.J. (2000). "Hearing voices and listening to those that hear them". Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 7 (2): 136. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2850.2000.00276.x.
- Romme, R. & Escher, S. (1993) Accepting Voices. ISBN 1-874690-13-8.