University of Leicester
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An exploration of the ways in which people with auditory hallucinations relate to their voices

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:46 authored by Mark Ian. Hayward
Research suggests that responses to the experience of voice hearing (auditory hallucinations) can be mediated by; (1) beliefs about the voices; (2) core beliefs about the self; and (3) the social significance of utterances. What each approach has in common is the extent to which the voice/s can be experienced in relation to the self as an interpersonal 'other'. Recent attempts to explore the relationship the voice hearer has with the voice/s have focused upon the power differential between the two or paid insufficient attention to the broader context of social relationships. Within this study, a new theory of relating (Birtchnell, 1993,1999) was deployed to more fully understand the relationship between the voice hearer and the voice/s. Specifically, the relationship was explored with respect to power and proximity and the extent to which it mirrored relating in the hearer's social world. Twenty seven voice hearers completed measures of relating to the voice and general relating style. Mirroring was found on both poles of the power axis and on one pole of the axis of proximity. In each case the relationships were independent of beliefs about voices and mood-linked appraisals. These results suggest that the same processes that affect social relationships may be influential in determining how the hearer relates to the voice/s. One exception to the mirroring of relationships concerned the way in which voices were related to more distantly. Clinical implications from the findings are considered at the level of assessment and intervention. An assessment of the way the voice is related to may indicate the type of intervention that is most likely to engage the hearer. Possible interventions may include the identification of the voice and the modification of general relating tendencies.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Clinical Psychology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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