A positive piece published in the Guardian, 5th July 2011 by Mary O’Hara about this important new book – David’s Box: The journal and letters of a young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, 1960-1971, for which I have written a foreward.
In making sense of what has been deemed as ‘psychosis’ it is essential that we see so called symptoms as profoundly meaningful attempts to survive overwhelming and distressing life experiences. There is inherent meaning in madness which is inextricably bound up in unresolved, traumatic experiences. These meanings may be communicated in a number of highly symbolic, metaphorical and literal ways and need to be untangled, teased out and examined within the context of the person’s life history. Each voice is an echo of the person’s experience so an attitude of curiosity, understanding and compassion towards all voices is the best stance as it will encourage and support internal communication and ultimately, self acceptance.
This work demands seeing the world and human experience in new ways including an understanding that reality is shaped by experience. This, combined with a willingness to view life through the lens of the person’s subjective experience enables the co-creation of a shared meaning to emerge, deepening mutual understanding and leading to increasing acceptance of self and other. To support and nurture healing from ‘psychosis’, faith in the possibility of recovery is vital.
A new analysis of the hearing voices experience outside the illness model resulted in accepting and making sense of voices. This study of 50 stories forms the evidence for this successful new approach to working with voice hearers.
At the heart of this book are the stories of fifty people who have recovered from the distress of hearing voices. They have overcome the disabling social and psychiatric attitudes towards voice hearing and have also fought with themselves to accept and make sense of the voices. They have changed their relationship with their voices in order to reclaim their lives.
All the people in this book describe their recovery; how they now accept their voices as personal, and how they have learnt to cope with them and have changed their relationship with them. They have discovered that their voices are not a sign of madness but a reaction to problems in their lives that they couldn’t cope with, and they have found that there is a relationship between the voices and their life history, that the voices talk about problems that they haven’t dealt with – and that they therefore make sense.
After one hundred years of denial and ignorance, it was finally accepted 20 years ago that sexual, physical, and emotional abuse of children, along with neglect, was a genuine and common phenomenon with potentially devastating long term consequences for the mental health of the survivors.
Until recently, there has been one exception to this rule. Sufferers of psychotic experiences were excluded. Their distress was caused predominantly by genetics or biology, or so they were told. Recent research has shown this to be a fallacy. Some of the recent studies even suggest that psychosis is the diagnostic category most likely to have experienced severe childhood trauma.
This paper summarizes the historical context and offers a prcis of the most important recent research findings. In keeping with the ethos of this journal we offer a case study to illustrate the effectiveness of psychotherapy for trauma survivors with psychosis. We end with an appeal to collaborate with the users movement to take this agenda forward.
- Drop the Disorder – And then what?!29/10/2021 - 6:48 PM
- Intervoice Congress 202131/08/2021 - 7:18 PM
- BBC Breakfast: Jacqui and Rai talking about Hearing Voices on TV18/07/2021 - 8:07 PM
- Jasper Gibson & Jacqui Dillon in conversation at AD4E Festival05/05/2021 - 3:37 PM
- Jasper Gibson and Jacqui Dillon, In Conversation – Fiction about Psychosis: Impact, ethics, effects05/05/2021 - 2:45 PM