Recent work has focused on beliefs about voices in addition to the voices themselves. Chadwick, Birchwood and Trower (1996) and Bentall (1994) have proposed a number of psychological theories for understanding the experience of hearing voices and the beliefs associated with them. Chadwick and Birchwood, 1997) reported marked reductions in voice hearing, and associated distress based on their cognitive model.
In an intriguing study, Birchwood et al. (2000) found close parallels between the experience of subordination by voices and the experience of subordination and marginalisation in social relationships generally. This suggests that distress arising from voices may not only be linked to voice characteristics but also social and interpersonal beliefs based on life experience.
A range of other psychological and psychosocial treatment approaches are also reported in the literature. In Slade and Bentall (1988) a number of psychological strategies and the evidence supporting their efficacy are reported in terms of distress and anxiety reduction as well as in the frequency and/or intensity of the voice hearing experience.
The importance of respecting and supporting voice hearers' own capacity to develop their own understandings and personal coping resources has been emerging in recent years (Warnes et al. 1996). In a single case study, Davies (1999) was able to demonstrate the value of a diagological approach, which supported the voice-hearers' own development of a meaningful and helpful personal narrative. McNally and Goldberg (1997), as has Romme and Escher (1994, 1998) emphasised the importance of the individuals own coping resources and beliefs in developing effective intervention strategies. They identified a variety of ways in which 'self-talk' and other naturalistic coping strategies can be actively deployed towards managing voices and related experiences. Warnes (1996, 1999) discusses the value of interventions that maximises and supports the person's own experience of control of their experience.
Researchers are also seeking to discover what are the distinctive features of positive experiences (including pleasurable ones) of auditory hallucinations in people with psychosis who experience both positive and negative voices, and amongst people in the "normal" population. Beavan's research, for instance, found nearly half the people who heard voices said their hallucinations were mostly friendly or helpful.
Read more about this topic: Hearing Voices Movement
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