"Opening the curtains": How do voice hearers make sense of their voices?
AbstractOBJECTIVE: The current study sought to explore how, if at all, people construct an understanding of the origin and maintenance of their experience of hearing voices.METHOD: A social constructionist grounded theory method was adopted throughout the research process. Eight voice hearers, who were distressed by this experience, were recruited and interviewed.RESULTS: Three overarching descriptive categories were constructed regarding participants' understanding of the development and maintenance of hearing voices; search for meaning, view of self, and framework for understanding voices. The "essence" of the developing grounded theory was that individuals actively searched for meaning of their voices through different frameworks, but the relative "success" of this pursuit, and potential usefulness of an understanding, is influenced by the individual's perceptions of agency, stigma, and hope(lessness).CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This research illustrates how voice hearers actively searched for meaning in relation to their voices and the challenges they encountered during this process. One clinical implication from this study emphasizes the potential role of psychological formulation in generating a shared understanding of the voices. Future research is warranted to explore voice hearers from a wider range of cultural, religious, and spiritual backgrounds.
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