Network Lead: Dr David Crepaz-Keay (Head of Empowerment and Social Inclusion, Mental Health Foundation). E-mail: email@example.com
Network Co-Lead: Pauline Fair. Former NHS staff nurse, STARS (Support Training and Recovery Systems). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: Hasanen.Al-Taiar@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk
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.
- Durham University’s Hearing the Voice research project is at: https://hearingthevoice.org
- Durham University’s ‘Understanding Voices’ website – https://understandingvoices.com
- Intervoice is at: https://www.intervoiceonline.org
- 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 and Meetings
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.
- For more on our meetings please click here
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.
- For a list of current members click here
- To join the Network please email one of the Network Leads.
Soundscape with voice-hearers
What is it like to hear voices? For those who are not voice-hearers it could be hard to imagine what it is like to hear voices, so the soundscape explores this experience. We are interested in whether listening to sounds may be a therapeutic strategy for voice-hearers who are distressed by their voices.
To read more and listen to the podcast, please click here.
Emily’s Voices is a fictional memoir, about her struggle, experiences and journey through the mental health system. You can purchase Emily’s Voices on Amazon here (please include a link here to the Amazon webpage – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emilys-Voices-memoir-Emily-Knoll/dp/1999863844/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=emily%27s+voices&qid=1567018468&s=gateway&sr=8-1)
More information about Emily’s Voices is available on Durham University’s ‘Understanding Voices’ website. Please see this link: https://understandingvoices.com/living-with-voices/voices-and-creativity/emily/
Making Voices Work – Reasonable Adjustments for Voice-hearers in the Workplace
Many people with a mental illness have a legal right to ask their employer to make changes known as ‘reasonable adjustments’ to their jobs and workplace. These adjustments enable the individual with a mental illness to overcome barriers to their being able to apply for and carry out a job for which they have the right skills.
The document sets out a number of practical ways in which employers may modify the work environment to support those who hear voices and thus enable voice-hearers to become more effective and engaged in the work they do.
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.