Educational Voice Hearing Network

 

Leads:

Network Lead: Dr Roz Austin – background in medical humanities and health geography. Collaborator with Durham University’s ‘Hearing the Voice’ research project. Individual Partner of the Collaborating Centre for VBP. E-mail: [email protected]

Network Co-Lead: Pauline Fair. Former NHS staff nurse, STARS (Support Training and Recovery Systems). Email: [email protected]

Network Co-Lead: Dr Hasanen Al Taiar – Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and IMG Tutor, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Individual Partner of the Collaborating Centre for VBP. Email: [email protected]

Background and aims

The network is open to all, and particularly welcomes voice-hearers. The aim of the network is to improve understanding of what it is like for people to hear voices through research and personal experiences. Hearing a voice in the absence of another speaker – what psychiatry terms an auditory hallucination – is an experience which can take many forms and occur in a variety of clinical and non-clinical contexts. With the importance of attending to the experience of voice-hearing already recognised in psychotherapeutic and Hearing Voices Movement approaches to working with voices, this network aims to listen to the experiences of voice-hearers. The Network provides a space for learning and aims to improve the understanding between mental health professionals and people who hear voices, so as to promote person-centred practices. This is in keeping with the aims of the Collaborating Centre which aims to promote excellent clinical care.

Values Based Practice (VBP) is an approach to working with complex and conflicting values in healthcare. Values based practice focuses on individual cases, so that we hear the unique values of the people involved (as patients, carers, mental health professionals, clinicians and others) in decision-making. When a mental health professional or a team works with a voice-hearer there is a risk of assuming that they share the same values. However, this assumption may not be correct. Underlying differences, not recognised and possibly not spoken about, may lead to a lack of rapport and engagement. Where medical treatment is coercive, and even forced on an individual, a working relationship may break down altogether. Therefore, it is important that differences in perspective are recognised, discussed, and taken into account.

A key part of the process of VBP is the effective collaboration of voice-hearers mental health professionals, and researchers. Shared patient experiences, and patient stories can be used as training resources to demonstrate the link between VBP and collaborative practice.

In exploring and developing the links between education and VBP the Network provides a framework to enable effective communication between voice-hearers, mental health professionals, and researchers. The Network hosts workshops, and encourages collaborations between members, and interested organisations.

The network also aims to promote the understanding of voice-hearing among the student population of Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University, and other Universities, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Mind, Restore, other charities, and the general public. The network aims to raise public awareness of voice-hearing with a view to normalising such experiences and empowering patients / voice-hearers to optimise / augment their functioning.

More information:

  • The website for the Collaborating Centre for VBP is at: https://www.valuesbasedpractice.org
  • Durham University’s Hearing the Voice research project is at: https://www.hearingthevoice.org
  • London Hearing Voices Project is at: https://hearing-voices.org
  • Intervoice is at: https://www.intervoiceonline.org

Objectives

  • To support voice-hearers in getting the best possible help.
  • To explore methods – for example, voice-hearers’ first-person accounts – for developing training resources.
  • To provide a forum to foster effective communication between network members, charities and other organisations with a view to developing research and education.
  • To provide support and opportunities for practical help from charities and organisations.

Working Methods

The objectives will be taken forward by means of regular workshops, hosted by members of the network. These organisations at present include other networks (i.e. Whiteness and Race Equality Network) within the Collaborating Centre for Values-Based Practice, St Catherine’s College, Oxford, and Oxford Brookes University.

Members

The Network is open to all those with an interest in or involvement with values based practice in the context of understanding voice-hearing. This includes but is not limited to voice-hearers, researchers, health and social care professionals, patients and service-users.

Search Terms Identifying the Network:

Interdisciplinary education; collaborative working; values; values based practice; voice-hearing; psychosis; bipolar disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; schizophrenia; personality disorders.