Introducing the Work of the Hearing Voices Network
This collection includes six articles about the work of the Hearing Voices Network:
Introducing the Work of the Hearing Voices Network— David DenboroughAn introduction by David Denborough
The Use of Humour and Other Coping Strategies— Jon WilliamsEveryone’s experience of hearing voices is different. In this paper Jon Williams describes the ways in which he has come to live with the voices he hears and how humour plays a vital part. This paper also describes a number of creative coping strategies as well as discussing the influential work of the Hearing Voices Network.
Glimpses of Peace— Sharon De ValdaTrauma can be the main trigger or cause of voice-hearing in many people. In this paper, Sharon de Valda evocatively conveys how racism and sexism shape her experience of hearing voices and how she has in turn used her own experiences to assist other voice-hearers.
From Paranoid Schizophrenia to Hearing Voices - and Other Class Distinctions— Mickey De ValdaWhile not commonly discussed, class relations have a significant influence in relation to people’s experiences of mental health and hearing voices in particular. In this paper, Mickey de Valda describes how experiences of class shape his experience and how this has influenced his work with the Hearing Voices Network.
Partnership— Julie DownsIn this paper, Julie Downs (Co-ordinator of the National Office of the Hearing Voices Network) discusses the importance of thoughtful partnerships between those who hear voices and those who do not. Both the hazards and possibilities of these partnerships are considered, particularly in relation to matters of power, politics and control.
Altering the Balance of Power: Working with Voices— Peter BullimoreThrough sharing stories of therapeutic work, this paper describes how issues of abuse and power are vital considerations when working with voice-hearers. Not only is voice-hearing often the result of abuse, but voice-hearing itself can be an experience of abuse. Peter Bullimore describes how he is interested in ensuring that abusive voices are challenged and their influence reduced, and how positive voices can be acknowledged and cherished. The paper also tells stories of a recently established group for people experiencing ‘paranoia’ that is having surprising success, and identifies significant factors that influence the process of recovery. The author also shares some of his own experiences of psychosis and how these influence his work in this area.
These are not Ordinary Lives. The Report of a Mental Health Community Gathering
This paper contains the stories, skills and knowledges that were described during a two-day gathering for ‘consumers’ of mental health services in Canberra, Australia. This gathering was preceded by detailed consultations that were shaped by narrative therapy ideas and the gathering itself was organised and structured around a series of definitional ceremonies. This led to the rich description of participants’ unique knowledges of illness and healing; their appreciation of healing contexts; their connections with each other; their connections with families, friends and pets, and their connections with service providers. Space was also created for the articulation of the skills and knowledges associated with embracing different hopes, values and ways of living. This paper records the stories that were told on the gathering in the hope that these will be of assistance to others.
Narrative Groupwork with Young Women – and Their Mobile Phones— Judith Milner
This paper describes part of a narrative project with a small group of fourteen/fifteenyear-old young women attending a pupil referral unit following their exclusion from mainstream schooling. Narrative therapy promotes the idea of engaging with the experiences and meaning of people in whichever way or shape the expression of this meaning occurs. In this instance it involved a deliberate decision on the part of the therapist to include group members’ conversations on their mobile phones. These conversations had the effect of recruiting a wider audience, facilitating the expression and enactment of alternative ways of being, and developing a support network.
Exploring the Meaning of Tattoos— Mike Boucher
In this short paper the author describes some of the multiple meanings that tattoos can hold for people, including ‘markings of transitions’, ‘rejecting normalising judgements’ and ‘remembering important learnings’. Through describing the stories of one woman’s tattoos and their meanings, this paper invites therapists to consider the significance that tattoos hold in some people’s lives and ways of taking this into account in the therapy room.
Considering Issues of Domestic Violence and Abuse in Palliative Care and Bereavement Situations— Judy Wright
Through relaying the stories of older women, this short paper invites readers to consider the importance of listening for and responding to experiences of domestic violence and abuse in palliative care settings. Whether older women are themselves nearing their deaths, or they are caring for male partners who are in the process of dying, issues of violence and abuse are often present and require careful response.