Research news

Hearing voices group for people with learning disabilities piloted and evaluated

Global mental health service-user movement suggests links to past trauma

Global mental health service-user movement suggests links to past trauma


Picture: Photofusion

The experience of hearing voices that others do not hear is associated with several mental health conditions, including psychoses and post-traumatic stress disorder, which are over-represented in people with learning disabilities.

The international Hearing Voices Movement suggests voice hearing lies along a continuum of normal human experiences and often links to past trauma. ‘Hearing voices groups’ have grown out of this movement and aim to provide a safe space for people to share, explore, make sense and learn to live with their experiences.

This paper reported a mixed-methods evaluation of a small hearing voices group, developed and piloted with a group of people with learning disabilities, who attended six, two-hour, weekly group sessions.

Group sessions

Session content included:

  • Sharing and normalising voice hearing experiences.
  • Triggers for voices.
  • Coping strategies
  • How to live well with voice hearing.

Approaches were used pre- and post-group sessions, to explore psychological functioning, quality of life, participants’ experiences of voice hearing and associated stigma. Participants showed increased recognition of voices and triggers, and increased confidence in coping with voices.

The paper highlights the need to ensure people with learning disabilities access the same range of supports as anyone else when living with voices that others don’t hear.


Reference

Roche-Morris A, Cheetham J (2019) ‘You hear voices too?’: A hearing voices group for people with learning disabilities in a community mental health setting. British Journal of Learning Disabilities. 47, 42-49


Dave Atkinson is an independent nurse consultant

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