Re: voices

Chris Evans (
Sun, 13 Jul 1997 12:36:52 +0100

This was the message I sent to Bob following his enquiry about my
posting to the list. As you will, see, I have reservations about
having sent the original message to the list and welcomed the
opportunity to undo possible damage!

Best wishes all,


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------

From: Self <Me!>
To: (Bob Green)
Subject: Re: voices
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 1997 13:51:54 +0100

On 9 Jul 97 at 22:30, Bob Green wrote:

> Chris,
> I have sent a personal post because I was interested in your
> comments,
> >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....
> Personally I don't recall any specific comments I made which fell
> into the above category though would be interested in your feedback.

I wasn't particularly referring to the current thread and certainly
don't think _anyone_ has been denigrating. However, I stand with the
feeling about a general thread that has been around in PCP (and often
in psychology too, come to that). Ah well, I probably shouldn't have
sent it. I think these things are often too near "core" areas to be
valuable meat for lists!

> I haven't agreed with all the posts on this subject, though have
> enjoyed the discussion because it made me consider issues I hadn't
> given consideration, e.g., Bill's comments.
> I have worked in a 'front line' forensic unit (probably akin to an
> English Special Hospital) for the last 8 years so am no stranger to
> psychiatrists and psychiatry. My continuing interest remains finding
> ways of working with people who experience psychotic symptoms,
> particularly using approaches based on PCP.
> I would sincerely be interested in any comments you care to make or
> details regarding how you approach clients and incorporate
> constructivist approaches,

I'm always interested in:
a) how I'm construing what they're telling me (not all the telling
verbal of course
a2) that includes feelings, confusion, tiredness, etc. that I start
to experience
b) I'm interested in to what extent they appear to experience me as
participating in some exchange of construing c) I'm interested in how
much other people are mentioned and what forms the exchanges with
_them_ seem to take in the information given to me d) then I'm
interested in three components emerging for me: d1) problem areas,
including commonality: d1a) commanlity breakdowns -- areas where it
seems to me (with all the problems of that) that the person is using
construing in ways that takes them way away from others' modes in the
same range of convenience or when using the same labels. d1b)
sociality breakdowns, symmetric and assymmetric, -- areas where it
seems to me (see above) there is breakdown of construing of others'
construing and where others seem to be experienced as failing to
construe the construing of the individual. Sometimes this strikes me
as symmetric, i.e. both sides are having equal difficulty, sometimes
it is asymmetric, i.e. the person experiences themselves as not
understood but there seems a lot of evidence that the others are
construing the construing, just coming up with a construction that is
different. To me that's qualitatively rather different from simple
refusal to engage in an attempt to construe the other's construing
beyond some crass "sick" or "mad" label. Sometimes it doesn't seem
any better to the index person though. d1c) problems areas in
traditional theoretical terms where I probably draw on medical,
psychiatric, psychodynamic and systemic theories

d2) resource areas - what seem to be the resources? held by whom?
how can they be enhanced?

d3) solution areas -- where are things coming to "solutions",
anything other than problems!

e) what has the encounter between t'other and me got to offer us?

That's terribly abstract but comprehensive. I think that context
constraints are often critical for me (he says coming from another
meeting that makes the survival of the family therapy clinic seem
dubious!) My gut stuff is psychodynamic/interactive as befits a group

I'd be interested to hear more about your "special hospital"
experiences. My better half worked in Rampton and then in Broadmoor
before her current job. She and I share a strong interest in forensic

Hope this is better than my, probably unwise, post of yesterday!
Thanks for the invite and best wishes,


P.S. Can I copy this to the list sometime? I have a wish to expand
more publicly on what I said!

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