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Hearing Voices May Just Be That

When you think about it, history is full of people who say they heard voices. Mohammed, Moses, Abraham, Joan of Arc. They all claimed to hear the voice of God. Disembodied voices also dwelled within the minds of Socrates, William Blake, John Milton.

These are the kind of names that invite us to romanticize the idea of hearing voices.

But today, to say you hear voices invites something entirely different: A diagnosis of mental illness.

Well, there is a new movement that’s vigorously pushing back against the notion that those who hear voices are sick. It’s called the Hearing Voices Network. It began in the U.K. but has come to the United States, and one of the first American chapters was founded right here in Massachusetts.

The growth of the Hearing Voices Network raises many important questions:

Such as, what is a mental illness, versus what is not?

What is objective reality, versus what is not?

What is simply normal and human, versus what is not?

And what are the consequences, positive AND negative, when people who hear voices step away from traditional psychiatric care?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/donny.thao Donny Thao

    I was listening to this in the car, and was thinking, I sometimes hear voices, as if they’re real people speaking in the room but only when I have just woken from a dream. It makes me wonder if hearing voices could be due to the mechanism which enables dreaming functioning while that person is conscience. Just a thought.

    • Ivanjbarry

      hypnogogic and hypnopompic experiences as it is known by some!

  • Anonymous

    Having worked in downtown Boston by South Station every day for 4 years, there are several mentally ill individuals who are homeless and there is little doubt that they hear voices.  They aren’t dangerous, but it does seem like they are tormented and it is very sad.

    Does this program seek to help these individuals?

  • Yorkdene

    No doubt this is an impossible request, but with today’s technology…. it is possible.

    Problem “no doubt about it” the world has at last recognized individuals who hear voices as not being totally “nuts” These individuals have a contribution to make to our world, but they have not been given the respect and the help they need! Thank God this has changed.
    For individuals like myself who can’t tune into the radio programs, how can we get this useful and needed information for those who have loved ones who hear voices.
    Many thanks.
    JL

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002425210088 Dean Smith

    Hi guys iam from United Kingdom and have just heard this radio broadcast, i have known and been involved with the hearing voices network fo many years this network does work and the network has evalution on all asspects and prove it works well, but just like to say thankyou for broadcasting this and also encoarageing the HVN in the states to, well done Guys for 99.9 wbur for promoteing the HVN for peoples recovery and change,and those involved which was good to hear diffrent asspects on voice hearing .
    Kind Reagrds
    Dean Smith

    • JL

      Dear Dean, your words really give me hope! I have felt hopeless for many months. Someone very dear to me HVs. I don’t believe in giving up. I live with hope but at times I feel that the voices call the shots. I don’t see any let up on their control.
      I want to know how to help this person. Sometimes I fear I talk to forcefully to this person. I just don’t know what to do.
      It would be great if you would email me directly….

      • Dean Smith

        Hi Jl i have just looked through past comments i have made and saw yours comment…………..email is shah75@gmx.com  sorrry for not seeing this early…take  care Dean Smith

Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

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