University of Leicester
2013O'HalloranLDClinPsy.pdf (1.85 MB)

Talking about hearing voices : a narrative analysis of experience

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posted on 2014-03-04, 15:45 authored by Laura O’Halloran
People who hear voices can find the experience distressing. Largely speaking voice hearing is viewed by society, and some mental health professionals, as being a symptom of mental illness. In this way the experience of voice hearing is more often than not seen as being biological in nature which can preclude other possible explanations. A systematic literature review carried out in this study found that the most researched psychological intervention for use in schizophrenic spectrum disorders found was CBTp. The effectiveness of CBTp varied across studies but overall positive outcomes were reported. These included a reduction in relapse, improvement in social functioning and a reduction in symptoms. The evidence for the impact CBTp has on voice hearing as a specific symptom is less well established. The majority of trials place voice hearing within the wider category of positive symptoms. The majority of other interventions reviewed were found to be less effective than CBTp. There are some promising, albeit very limited, results to show that self-help groups have a positive impact for people who hear voices. This research project aimed to find out from voice hearers what their experiences are when it comes to talking about their voices. In total eight unstructured interviews were carried out with individuals from mental health services. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using Narrative Analysis. Results showed that some people want to talk about their voice hearing but, at times, a number of factors prevent this. These factors are external barriers, such as from services, and internal barriers, such as personal readiness to talk. In addition to this it seems that how people view themselves in their own story leads them to either being stuck within their difficulties or free to move on. Finally resources available to the individual, whether real or perceived, also impact on how able they are to manage their voice hearing. Clinical implications using the results in this study are discussed.



Crossley, Jon

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Psychology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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