I am a clinical researcher who investigates the experience of hearing voices. One of the most fascinating aspects of voices for me is the variety of forms that they can take. Some people for example hear voices that say helpful, interesting or even inspiring things, whilst others can be threatening or critical to the hearer and can leave the person feeling terrified or miserable. Whilst positive voices can be a helpful and valued experience, people who hear nasty voices most often require support from mental health services.
Through my work in the NHS I have met many people who struggle with voices saying really nasty and abusive things to them. I am frequently left feeling inspired by people’s resourcefulness and strength for managing these really difficult experiences, but also hope that we can develop better psychological support for what can be a terrifying experience. My current work seeks to investigate from a psychological perspective why nasty voices can seem so believable and difficult to ignore. I hope that this understanding can take us a step closer to improving treatments. I am also committed to sharing learning about voices with as wide an audience as possible to help us all to understand voices better and I hope, to reduce the sense of isolation that many voice hearers describe.