RE: Voices

Bob Green (
Fri, 11 Jul 1997 22:21:52 +1000


Regarding your comments,

>Thanks for the contribution. I had forgotten 'hypnogogic' and never heard
>of the other. I'm not convinced that the hallucination-pseudohallucination
>distinction is a useful one and I note that the hypnogogic-hypnopompic
>distinction is situational, not phenomenological, which doesn't help us to
>understand the expreience any better. This led me to wonder whether we need
>a construcivist dictionary, i.e. one in which the definitions rely on
>explanations couched in terms of the FP and the corollaries rather than in
>positivist-realist terms. Compiling such could be entertaining and

I would have thought the distinction is both situational and
phenomenological, i.e., the phenomenology relates to the situation. All
sorts of things can happen in dreams and imagination, however if they
continued in everyday life, this is something quite different. I might
dream I can fly, but when I get up if I go to a tall building and continue
to believe this, I am in serious trouble.

>>My unsophisticated way of summarising the above is to say: we may all be
>>able to be hypnotised, some people may have what have been referred to as
>>pseudohallucinations, while relatively few people experience 'true'
>>hallucinations. This point has relevance to the issue of 'causation'. for
>>example, I may choose to be hypnotised, but as much as I try it is unlikely
>>that I could choose to have auditory/visual halluciations.

>Unless you were a shaman, of course, and actively sought them out.
>Incidentally, since such experiences are often the result of deliberately
>induced sensory deprivation or sensory overload, do they count as
>pseudohallucinations or hallucinations? (Back to the dictionary point.)

The shaman is similar to anyone else who induces the state, my point is that
I can't chose these experiences simply by will power or changing some aspect
of my construing or attitude to life. Hence the inner v external dimension.

>>There would seem
>>to be a vulnerability or propensity for some people to have hallucinations.
>>Some people can use drugs such as LSD or speed without major event, while
>>for others the result is a state characterised by experiences which could
>>be labelled psychotic.
>But for the context. Or psychotic experience, non-psychotic experiencer?

I would be interested on your elaboration of this.
>>Feel free to object if you believe I am referring to your comments
>>inappropriately, but a key phrase in your comments below, to me, is:
>>> (snip) and find myself resistant to re-construing
>>An aspect of many people labelled as acutely psychotic is this aspect of not
>>even considering reconstruing.
>In the end i'm forced to, of course. But if this were a criterion of
>psychosis then how many psychotics do we have walking the streets? Recent
>events in N. Ireland, the militias in the US, etc. make one wonder.

Being unwilling to reconstrue events in itself is not indicative of
anything, however when it occurs in the presence of other experiences such
as voices, then it might be quite a different matter. These matters have to
be considered multidimensionally. The issues of commonality and sociality
have relevance here.

>>As you note, a common thread is that all the above experiences are construed
>>as 'real', however I suspect what 'real' means in these situations may
>>differ. For example, many 'delusions' can be unswervingly held, even in the
>>face of massive invalidation. Lindsay started to say some interesting
>>things on this subject.
>>Perhaps this is a key issue, responding to construing that can't be directly
>>experienced/validated by another, but which is construed as more real than
>>experiences which can be shared with others. I have no doubt such a
>>description is flawed, however it is a crude attempt to explore this matter.
>You're beginning to write the dictionary, though...

The dictionary sounds an intriguing idea and would be an interesting
collaborative project (as indeed I believe Kelly's work was). I will give
more thought to your post, in particular how we agree and disagree and what
implication that has for working with people who present with voices.

What our discussion has prompted me to do is consider the PCP literature on
schizophrenia and see what it contains. To this end I would be interested
in references or to hear from people doing research in the area.