The image on the book cover is a self portrait taken in 1982.

I developed the following for the Hearing Voices Network resource group I started at Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital in December 2014. Many people have told me they found them useful – but for some reason I never thought to post them on this website. I’m doing so now, as I wish to be more active in creating blogs and vlogs for posting here. I’m hoping this list will prompt me to expand on it – something I keep saying I need to do, but just don’t get to. I’ve learned so much — about myself — about my voices — since 2014 thanks to the Hearing Voices Network and ISPS – the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. For example, in 2017, I learned at the ISPS International Conference in Liverpool that I am an empath. I’d never heard the time, but as I began reading and cogitating, I began to understand things I’d experienced as a child and adolescent — things that confused and troubled me for a while but because they weren’t permanent, didn’t do any real damage. As I’ve been exploring what it means to be an empath (I recommend Dr. Judith Orloff’s book, The Empath’s Survival Guide). As I continue to explore, I learn new strategies for understanding myself and living in the world, which fosters my resilience and strengthens my recovery.

• Laugh

• Keep doing the things you love, even when some voices mock you for doing them.

• Don’t act on anything the voices tell you (to do) without real-world input

• If you start to get scared, stop listening. Then find someone you trust and talk, play a game, watch a movie, or just hang out. If no one is available, call someone. Later, when you’ve calmed down and it’s convenient, turn back to the voices and consider what they’re saying, and whether it’s correct, or true.

• If you don’t believe what the voices are saying is true, ask questions. Or state your own position. When I have done this, the disagreeable voices always back off—the kind and helpful ones become even more supportive.

• A lot of people, myself included, manage their voices as they manage other relationships—asking the voices to respect their needs and responsibilities to themselves and other people.

• Standing up to the voices can be a very good thing especially if you know what they’re saying is not true or if they’re telling you to do things that you know are wrong – that will hurt you or someone else. 

• It’s a really good idea to practice standing up to your voices with support—an HVN support group, friends, your therapist. When you have the time, asking the voices questions (e.g., why do they say the things they say to you—why do they hold this or that opinion) can be very helpful. The kind voices often respond in very helpful ways. The negative voices often have nothing to say—so I tend to feel free to dismiss them—and they lose their power over me.

• Kind voices don’t tell you to do things that you know are wrong.

Trust yourself and what you know to be true.

• Stand your ground – if you speak the truth, the voices can’t argue.

• Be reasonable and respectful, but stand your ground.

• Making an appointment to talk often works.

• The voices often lie. Even the kind ones. 

• The voices are fallible.

• The negative voices aren’t omniscient but it often (though not always) seems as if the positive voices are.

• More? To come