An interesting study which compares the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp) treatment approach most commonly used in statutory/clinical settings, typically in-patient, for those with “psychosis”, and the Hearing Voices Network (HVN) approach. Briefly discusses how terms such as “auditory hallucinations” can be perceived as judgemental and disrespectful and that whilst hearing voices can indeed be a marker for psychiatric pathology, they can also occur without any psychiatric involvement and is indeed a normal variation of human experience that can be distressing for some but can be managed with appropriate skills and support.

In the article the authors recognise that both approaches acknowledge that the voice hearing experience for many emerges from distressing life events and is often a sign of unresolved issues, it is their approach that differs. Whilst CBTp focuses on management of voices by introducing adaptive cognitive and behavioural skills, HVNs also attempt to normalise the experiences and show that voices can be experienced without associated distress. Both approaches encourage individuals to accept and engage with their voices rather than trying to suppress them.

At present CBTp is delivered as an individual treatment; studies involving CBTp in group environments have had mixed results, whereas HVNs operate mostly within group settings. CBTp has been integrating self-help techniques promoted by HVNs into its core competencies. Both approaches have been found to be mutually beneficial and complementary in their nature and support.

  • Kay, G., Kendall, E., & Dark, F. (2017). Are Hearing Voices Networks compatible with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Psychosis? Australian Social Work, 70.312-323. doi: 10.1080/0312407X.2016.1262883
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