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We know living with distressing voices can be difficult, and its important to explore ways of coping that work for you. Below we’ve listed possible strategies that have helped some people live meaningful lives with their experiences.

Focusing Techniques
  • Accepting that voices are not ‘the’ problem, they are a consequence of a problem. Your job is to find out more
  • Identify your voices— number, gender, age and so on
  • Learn about boundaries to apply to people and your voices (i.e., make a deal with your voices, “be quiet now and I’ll listen later”)
  • Listen out for positive voices too—they can be allies
  • Schedule a time to listen to the voices and ask them to leave you alone until that time
  • Tell negative voices that you will only talk with them if they are respectful towards you
  • Voice dialogue— let a trusted family member, friend or mental health worker talk directly to your voices
  • Work through Ron Colman & Mike Smith’s “Working with Voices II” work book with a trusted family member, friend or mental health worker
  • Write down what the voices are saying to you
Positive Emotional Techniques
  • Go for a picnic
  • Listen to energetic music
  • Look at good things achieved list
  • Look at photo albums
  • Look at the list of good things others have said about you
  • Make a list of your assets or strengths
  • Make an emergency comfort bundle (of goodies)
  • Read books, love letters, love poems
  • Read joke books & emails
  • Say positive statements to self
  • Record positive statements on tape (your voice)
  • Watch films – comedy or inspirational
Points to remember to enable me to look after myself
  • Do something nice for ‘me’ each day
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Keep regular appointments with my support network even if I am feeling OKAY
  • Look up, get perspective, stretch or shift your body
  • Plan my day; ensure I do not have long periods of time with nothing to do
  • Reach out. Talk to someone
  • Take medication as prescribed (in consultation)
  • Think about how I am feeling and be realistic about what I can achieve
  • Try to see the grey areas
Emotional Focusing
  • Discuss feelings with another person
  • List emotional triggers
  • Paint or draw emotions
  • Rainy day letter
  • Write a diary
  • Write poetry regarding feelings
Thing that may help Voice Hearers to cope
  • Acupuncture
  • Avoiding street drugs
  • Chanting or singing
  • Distraction e.g. reading, and computer games
  • Focusing on the voices
  • Going to Hearing Voices Groups
  • Having good support around you, good friends, family, nurse, counsellor etc
  • Holidays
  • Humour
  • Identifying when you are most likely to hear the voices
  • Ignoring voices
  • Isolating self
  • Keeping a diary about them
  • Keeping occupied e.g. cooking, house chores
  • Keeping physically active and healthy
  • Listening to music
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Money
  • Positive attitudes
  • Praying /speaking to God
  • Religion/Deliverance and Healing
  • Sex
  • Shouting at the voices
  • Sleeping
  • Staff listening to you
  • Talking (to a trusted person)
What may not help
  • Being over-medicated
  • Being told not to talk about voices
  • Dreams and trying to get to sleep
  • Labelling
  • Lack of sleep
  • Not having information
  • Other people denying the existence of voices
  • Other people denying your explanation of your voices
  • Professionals thinking they know more about your voices than you do
  • Side effects of the medication
  • Thinking negatively
  • Being socially isolated
Relaxation Techniques
  • Acknowledge fear, worry, and stress and let go consciously. Trust
  • Count your breaths
  • Dancing or walking
  • Focus on the position of your body
  • Focus solely on breathing & breathe deeply
  • Give yourself permission to relax
  • Guided fantasy dreamtime
  • Learn (figure 8) Yoga breath
  • Listen to guided relaxation on tape
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Massage hands, feet, head, etc
  • Relax each muscle individually
  • Swimming or floating
  • Yoga
Things that may work for me in a crisis
  • Ask for help sooner not later
  • Create a personalised crises plan when you feel well
  • Cry
  • Find a safe place
  • Hand in my medication and other similar items
  • Have PRN medication
  • Kick boxes around outside
  • Let people know where I am
  • Let someone know how I am feeling

Download your PDF copy of these coping strategies

For more information about the Hearing Voices approach, attend one of our free information sessions or contact us today.

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