Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Auditory hallucinations-Treatment, Auditory hallucinations-Etiology, Auditory hallucinations-Psychological aspects, Qualitative research, Hearing voices, Recovery, Psychosis


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how people who hear voices have learned to cope with their voices, and how they attribute the function or role of the voice(s) in their lives. This thesis asked whether traumatic, lived experiences are related to the content of voices. This study used a narrative-inquiry approach to speak with nine adults about their experiences hearing voices. The interview questionnaire was adapted from the Maastricht Interview and Construct (Escher and Romme, 2000). Participants were interviewed in person or over the phone. The recovery model was the theoretical basis for this study. This model addresses the notion that people can live meaningful lives despite mental health challenges. The recovery approach to mental health treatment values peer-based methods of support, and encourages the belief that mental health diagnoses do not define personal identity, nor expect medication to be the only treatment option. This thesis used ideas of recovery based on the Hearing Voices Network, which encourages people to broaden their awareness of hearing voices, visions, or other unusual or extreme experiences. The nine interviews demonstrated that people who hear voices are able to find value in these experiences, and lead complete and fulfilling lives. Eight of the nine interviewees identified traumatic experiences in childhood (as well as in adulthood) as contributing factors to their experience hearing voices, and additional mental and emotional distress.




iii, 93 pages Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 73-80)

Limited Access until August 2020