S41: How do we improve access to therapies for people who hear voices?

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By September 11, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Gordon Kay

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: How do we improve access to therapies for people who hear voices?

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Gordon Kay is a senior Social Worker and a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy practitioner with an interest in improving access to therapies for people who hear voices. He has worked within community mental health services, rehabilitation settings, forensic and correctional services. He is currently a PhD student at Griffith University and adjunct lecturer at the University of Queensland.

The research project I am involved in is broadly focused on Improving access to therapy for psychosis, but more specifically I am interested in a guided self help approach to group based therapy that integrates cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis (CBTp) with the knowledge and values of the peer led hearing voices networks (HVN). There is some evidence for group based CBTp, there is also evidence for low intensity forms of CBTp that focus on the key component parts of therapy, and the HVN has modified some of the low intensity CBTp strategies that makes them more acceptable to voice hearers and widely accessible. The aim of my research is to bring together the common elements of CBTp and the HVN, and integrate them into something new. A group-based ‘Coping with Voices’ intervention so we can determine its perceived benefits, acceptability and feasibility within the Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Service. Between 2013 and 2017 our mixed methods multi-site study received well over 100 participants and 63 voice hearers agreed to take part in the research. I am now in the write up phase of the study and am pleased to be presenting the preliminary results at this year’s TheMHS conference.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: The prevalence of voice hearing is between 2% and 10%. Generally, voice hearers perceive their voices to be intrusive and distressing, and many voice hearers are socially excluded. There is robust evidence for the positive impact of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis (CBTp) for voice hearers. Improvement has been demonstrated in both formal research trials and routine services, with persistence of effects at follow-up and high service user satisfaction with therapy. CBTp has been found to be cost-effective, and capable of producing net savings in healthcare costs. However, only small numbers of voice hearers access CBTp meaning that many potential benefits are not realised unless better means of delivery are found.

Learning Objective 2: The audience will take away from this session an understanding of why improving access to therapy for voice hearers is important. What are the most effective component parts of therapy for voice hearers and how to deliver group work that integrates CBTp techniques.

Kay, G., & Kendall, E. (2017). Response to brophy (2017). commentary on "responding to the needs of voice hearers and expanding access to evidence-based and innovative psychosocial interventions" (gordon kay, elizabeth kendall, & frances dark, 2017). Australian Social Work, 70(4), 511-513
Kay, G., Kendall, E., & Dark, F. (2017). Are hearing voices networks compatible with cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis? Australian Social Work, 70(3), 312-323
Wykes, T. (2017) The Recovery Project: The Who, What, Where, and When of Psychological Treatments for Psychosis. Conference presentation. The RANZCP 2017 Congress, Adelaide Convention Centre, 30 April-4 May 2017

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