RE: Voices

Bill Ramsay (
Tue, 01 Jul 1997 09:06:56 +0100

At 10:05 AM 7/1/97 +1000, Bob Green wrote in response to Lindsay:


>but as some of the
>cog-behaviourists in the UK are also asking- what of the personal construals/
>beliefs about voices, how do they relate to client histories etc and (as you
>have been discussing) how do clients construe adherence and recovery??



>I came across some interesting Dutch literature which researched people who
>reported hearing voices. Interestingly, a number of these people were not
>given a formal psychiatric diagnosis. An offshoot of this work was
>understanding how people live/cope with voices.

Not my field, but I seem to remember a BBC TV broadcast on the subject,
Horizon or some such program, which referred to the Dutch work and featured
some cases in the UK. The general tenor of the broadcast was to play up
those cases who had learned to live with their voices and who, in effect,
engaged in a social dialogue with them in order to lead a 'normal' life. In
one case, I think, the 'patient' had had conventional psychiatric treatment
for more than twenty years before abandoning it to lead a conventional
existence with job, home, wife, voices ... He was probably the sanest
person on the program, certainly more so, on the surface, than the

But I ramble. Point is, isn't this a fairly clear vindication of the basic
idea of constructive alternativism? Reconstrue your voices & thus establish
some sort of control over dialogue (and when it happens) much as you would
in the office or over the dinner table. Which brings us to Bob's question:

>...Is the client with
>no insight one who simply invalidates the world view of the worker? I see
>these as serious questions to consider, not to be thrown away as "anti
>psychiatry rhetoric".

Clearly the case described invalidated the psychiatric predictions. Equally
clearly he, in the end, showed a good deal more insight into his condition
(and I use the word in the generic, archaic, Jane Austen sense) than his
therapists. Anti-psychiatry rhetoric or empirical validation of an
alternative construing? Good question.


W. Ramsay,
Dept. of Educational Studies,
University of Strathclyde,
Jordanhill Campus,
G13 1PP,

'phone: +44 (0)141 950 3364 (direct dial-in)
fax: +44 (0)141 950 3367
'fax: +44 (0)141 950 3367