Annual Conference

TheMHS 2014 S095: Speaking without fear: Voice Hearers teaching professionals how to respectfully work with voices

By August 29, 2014 No Comments

 You can read an abstract for this session here

Robyn Martin & Lyn Mahboub

Lyn provided a background to the Hearing Voices Movement, now over 25 years old, and with a network spanning over 25 countries. Unlike the medical model which defines voices as, amongst other things, symptoms of illness, the Hearing Voices approach deems them as a common human experience that are potentially meaningful.

In elaborating on the meaningfulness of voices, the following was presented:

  • Voices can make psychological sense in the context of the current events of the individual.
  • Making sense of experiences facilitates the individual in getting on with their lives giving hope for recovery and control.

Robyn outlined the Maastricht Interview and its adaptation for use in the Masters of Social Work program at Curtin University. 

The Maastricht Interview (developed by Dr Escher and Prof Romme) is a useful tool in the Hearing Voices approach, as it assists students in learning to talk with people about their voices. In utilising the Maastricht Interview, a deeper understanding can be gained into who the voices represent, and what social/emotional problems they may reflect?

In the adaptation of the Maastricht Interview for use within the Masters program, a comprehensive collaboration occurred with nine Hearing Voices mentors, nine students, and unit coordinators. Over two and a half days, students interviewed their mentors, honouring respectful engagement and lived experiences. The mentors in turn assessed the students on communication skills, rapport and demonstration of respect.

Feedback from the experience from Hearing Voices mentors included:

  • It was wonderful to be heard.
  • I was heard, and I wasn’t judged.
  • It was great to hear the stories of others and make connections with my own.

Feedback from the students included:

  • It was a powerful experience.
  • The experience was moving and emotional.
  • What stood out most was the human experience of it, and the collaboration.

Whilst the Masters of Social Work is currently not being offered at Curtin, the Richmond Fellowship is keen to explore the experience of using the Maastricht Interview as a tool to educate and deepen knowledge from Voice Hearers.