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Beyond beliefs: A qualitative study of people’s opinions about their changing relations with their voices

Mark Hayward, Yvonne Awenat, Simon McCarthy Jones, Georgie Paulik & Katherine Berry.
Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches; Published online: 19 Jun 2014.

Abstract
This study sought to develop further understandings of the relationships that people can develop with the voices they hear, and to explore the development of these relationships over time. Qualitative data was gathered from 12 people attending peer support groups. A semi-structured interview was used to facilitate the interviews and analysis of the transcripts was guided by the principles of Thematic Analysis. Four themes emerged and suggested that the relationships between hearers and their voices can have a variable trajectory which is influenced by stress, talking with and about voices, and the acceptance of voices and/or resistance. Clinically, the findings have implications for the training of frontline staff, the provision of peer support and the adaptation of psychological therapies. Future studies should assess whether our findings generalise to more diverse samples of voice hearers and use longitudinal qualitative and quantitative designs to explore change processes in-depth from early to later stages of psychosis.

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