Narratives of voice hearing and mental health

Tomlinson, Amy (2021) Narratives of voice hearing and mental health. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This thesis focuses on the experience of voice hearing and effects on mental health and wellbeing. It is composed of two separate papers: a systematic literature review and an empirical paper. Section one, the paper titled “Understanding indicators of clinical need and methods of reducing distress for children who hear voices: A Systematic Literature Review” aimed to establish the current research base which focuses specifically on the experience of voice hearing in children and the factors related to their current emotional health. The paper synthesised 13 quantitative studies. The majority of studies looked at different factors and two studies detailed interventions. The findings of the review suggest traumatic life events and cognitive appraisals may be important in the experience of distressing voice hearing. However no firm conclusions could be drawn due to small sample sizes and the variable quality of the included articles. There was some indication of CBT strategies being useful in mitigating distress however more evidence is needed. More research taking a consistent approach needs to be conducted in this area to establish the factors that may make some children who hear voices more vulnerable to experiencing distress and how they can be supported to manage their experiences. Section two, the empirical paper titled, “‘I have finally realised I’m not crazy’: A narrative analysis of mental health and mediumship’”, aimed to explore how unusual experiences develop over time and how these experiences come to be seen as mediumistic. A data set of 14 interviews with mediums originating from a qualitative, pluralistic project was re-analysed using narrative analysis to consider how mediums view their experiences in relation to their own mental health. Findings show that mediums’ early experiences were often traumatic and builds on previous research by demonstrating that attempts to fit in with social norms particularly around ‘healthy’ and ‘sane’ increases this trauma and distress. Participants sought out support from key figures, and validating responses were important for them to accept and establish their mediumistic identity.

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Thesis (PhD)
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19 Jul 2021 09:10
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 03:10