'terrified me', writes clinical psychologist
by Angela Hussain
clinical psychologist has told candidly of how she struggled to
make sense of her own voice-hearing experience.
this month's edition of Clinical Psychology magazine Janine Soffe
described her experience more than two years ago while training
to be a clinical psychologist.
all my training I'm still unsure as to what I make of it [her voice-hearing
experience]," wrote Soffe.
did give me a feel for how truly frightening it can be for people
who do hear voices and how they try to make sense of what's happening
voice-hearing experience occured at her parent's home
being kept awake by a nearby party, Soffe
wrote that she heard a male voice in the lefthand side of her head
close to her ear.
mutterd something, then clearly spoke my name and then that 'they
weren't going to let me get away with it, before mumbling something
else. Finally ending with, 'you bitch'."
who works for North West Shropshire Community Mental Health team
(part of Shropshire Primary Care Trust) admitted to being 'absolutely
had never been so scared in my life that I could remember. For those
few moments I reacted with total terror and didn't know what to
then flung myself out of bed and switched the bedside light on with
my heart racing and thumping in my chest.
up in bed I fully expected a man to be stood there or at least someone
or something. There was nothing."
then recounted how she struggled to make sense of her experience,
pondering on whether it was caused by her being tired, having a
cold, or whether it was something she imagined. She also asked herself
whether she had heard a malevolent force or a ghost.
maybe the people at the party knew that I was upset at being kept
awake and they were warning me not to complain?," she wrote.
all the training and 'knowledge' about such experiences, I reacted
with terror and didn't know what to do.
admits she did not discuss the experience with her family, but did
mention it to those colleagues who "would not pathologies my
added: "Later, in telling other colleagues, some would suggest,
albeit gently that surely it was a voice inside my head. I now have
a greater appreciation for how frustrating it can be to have your
understanding of your experience questioned. I was there and, no,
the voice wasn't inside my head. No matter how many times you ask
me, it was outside of my head"
1, 2004: Leading clinical psychologist describes feelings of "helplessness"
and "uncontrolled weeping" after taking neuroleptic
- Richard Bentall also speaks about his own experience of depression
Jan 11, 2002: Report on
how support is growing for The Hearing Voices Network - Psychminded
looks at the influential user-led organisation
Yes Soffe, the
voices my daughter hears do exist
Jones (name changed to protect identity of daughter), librarian
at a university in London
I think Soffe should make her experience widely knowm amongst mental
health workers, that includes psychiatrists and doctors.
daughter has been in a psychiatric hospital for over a year now
since her psychotic breakdown.
hears terrifying voices that drive her to behave in risky and dangerous
ways. It has taken a good seven months of the time she has been
there to persuade no less than six psychiatrists that the voices
she hears are terrifying her.
have many complaints about her care, the majority of so-called care
assistants and some psychiatrists I have come across in this time
don't seem to actually believe that voices even exist.
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