I.R.I.E. Mind’s Hearing Voices group started in 2007 and is part of the Hearing Voices Network. Our facilitators have done the Hearing Voices training and follow the Hearing Voices Ethos.
Group members must live or work in either Hackney or the City of London.
The purpose of the hearing voices group is to offer a safe haven where people feel accepted and comfortable. We also have an aim of offering an opportunity for people to accept and ‘live with their voices’, in a way that gives some control and helps them to regain some power over their lives. The Group is facilitated by a Voice hearer and a member of staff. Members learn coping mechanisms and new ways of dealing with their voices and it has significant impact in their wellbeing.
Hearing voices has been regarded by psychiatry as ‘auditory hallucinations’, and in many cases a symptom of schizophrenia. However not everyone who hears voices has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. There are conflicting theories from psychiatrists, psychologists and voice hearers about why people do hear voices . We believe that they are similar to dreams, symbols of our unconscious minds. Although the Network is open to many diverse opinions we accept the explanation of each individual voice hearer.
Traditionally, the usual treatment for voice hearing has been major tranquillisers, administered to reduce the delusions and hallucinations. However not everyone responds to this treatment. There are some psychiatrists and psychologists who now work with people who hear voices using talking therapies and exploring the meaning of the voices.
Although this is not yet ‘the norm’, this practice is increasing. As the improvement in individuals who are encouraged to talk about their voices becomes more apparent and increasing number of health professionals are beginning to understand that the key to understanding voices lies in the ‘content’ of the voices.