RE: Voices

Chris Evans (
Tue, 8 Jul 1997 16:32:20 +0100

On 8 Jul 97 at 6:42, Bob Green wrote:

... much snipped ...

> Probably most of our actions and utterances are biographical. I
> recall a psychiatrist at work speaking of the awakening (?) state as
> being one in which experiences akin to psychosis can occur. I will
> clarify this with him. The word hynogogic comes to mind, but I will
> need to check this. I stress the word akin, because your everyday
> construing is different, this is one major difference between the
> two.
> I have enjoyed this discussion and when I have time would like to
> try and put some of the strands together.
Oh dear, what a time for me to come in and declare something that's
been niggling me in this discussion. O.K. I'll come out of the
closet now and admit it.....

... yes, the poor fool who administers this list ...

.... (humour button off again)... and though I often hate things that
psychiatrists do and ways they think (a visit to the quarterly
meeting of the Royal College of Shrinks here last week and a look at
all the drug company promos did a lot to reinforce this!) I also
think there has in the past been a thread in PCP and many other
things concerned with psychological pain/distress/outlier functioning
that is all too cosily denigratory of what psychiatrists and mental
health nurses face much of the time....

I certainly think there is much that constructivist approaches to
voices, hallucinations and delusions have to offer. I also remember
several occasions when people nearly died when I found it so easy to
talk with people who had delusions and hallucinations (and with their
relatives) and underestimated just how far out on a limb they were
and how far beyond their limits their relatives were. I came to have
a bit more sympathy for the crass "diagnose" it model. For example,
the issue of hypnagogic (g for going off to sleep) hallucinations and
hypnopompic (not a g so not going -- that's how I used to remember
it!) is well recognised and very specifically excluded by the
"diagnose it" brigade. One may ridicule such crassness but and the
apparent lack of interest in exploring why it is that most of us seem
to get our psychosis relatively well confined to our sleeping hours
(plus those very narrow bands either side of sleeping for some of

I suppose I'm making a plea for a more positive constructivist
alternativism when construing the construing of psychiatrists, much
of it is self-serving, much of it covers being imperfect, average, or
less than average, human beings facing the limits of their core
construing, some of it is extraordinarily helpful when you're in
trouble in a casualty department or a home where someone is behaving

Ha -- flame button off too now -- funny how conflictedly defensive of
the old profession I can get when something hits the funny bone.

On another, completely different, note. I've been accumulating all
the postings there have ever been to the list on my WWW site
(mailbase only store the last 12 months). The 2,125 messages, all
9Mb of them, are coming close to breaking my Excite search engine but
I think it will eventually crunch its way through and they'll all be
searchable from:

Otherwise a pointer to them is at:

Hope it's of some use to some out there!

Best wishes all,


Chris Evans, Senior Lecturer in Psychotherapy,
Locum Consultant to the
Prudence Skynner Family Therapy Clinic,
St. George's Hospital Medical School, London University