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Living with Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery

Marius Romme, Sandra Escher, Jacqui Dillon, Dirk Corstens & Mervyn Morris

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.

This book demonstrates that it is entirely possible to overcome problems with hearing voices and to take back control of one’s life. It shows a path to recovery by addressing the main problems voice hearers describe – the threats, the feelings of powerlessness, the anxiety of being mad – and helps them to find their way back to their emotions and spirituality and to realising their dreams. This book also holds true for those who have been given a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

This is the third book in a series regarding the experience of hearing voices. It proves the value of our ‘accepting’ and ‘making sense of’ voices approach, for which it provides an evidence base.

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.

‘Marius Romme and Sandra Escher have revolutionized our understanding of voice hearing, and their work has led to a radical new way of helping people who have had this type of experience. In this timely, accessible and important book, they bring together the lessons they have learnt over more than two decades, and provide an opportunity for 50 voice-hearers from across the world to tell us their stories. This is essential reading for mental health workers of all professions, which challenges conventional thinking, empowers mental health service users, and looks forward to a more humane approach to psychiatric care.’

Richard Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Bangor University, Wales

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