Group-Mindfulness for Voice Hearing

Group-Mindfulness for the experience of hearing voices.

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Hearing voices is a common human experience. The most common voice-hearing experience in the general population is that of hearing one's own name being called: typically, a person hears their name being called by a familiar or unfamiliar voice when alone, goes in search of the owner of the voice and finds that nobody is there. The phenomenon of hearing voices is also commonly cited in the context of religious or spiritual experiences. It can also be prompted by the ingestion of certain substances or after periods of extreme self-deprivation.

For some people, the hearing of voices can become a recurring and terrifying experience and can result in the diagnosis of psychosis and/or schizophrenia. The linked study here presents data from the first randomised controlled trial investigating group Person-Based Cognitive Therapy (PBCT), which is a group mindfulness intervention, in people distressed by hearing voices. One-hundred and eight participants were randomised to receive either a 12-week program of group PBCT and Treatment As Usual (TAU) or TAU only. Results showed significant between-group post-intervention benefits in voice-related distress, perceived controllability of voices and recovery in addition to lower levels of depression both immediately and at six-month follow-up. Mindfulness-based interventions for the experience of hearing distressing voices, therefore, may provide an alternative or adjunct to medication and other more medicalised approaches for this population.

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS