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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A form of psychotherapy where the individual is encouraged to accept negative thoughts and feelings as a normal part of daily functioning, and to commit to behaviours that are based on the individual’s own goals and values.

Anorexia: A mental health disorder which impacts a person’s relationship with food, weight and body shape.

Avatar Therapy: A form of therapy where individuals create a computer generated avatar to represent their voices, which they then interact with in a simulation of the voice-hearing experience. Under direction from the therapist, the client challents the voice and it gradually comes under their control. Avatar therapy is not currently available in the UK outside specific clinical trials.

 

Bipolar Disorder: A mental health condition that can affect your moods, and which is characterised by periods of depression (feeling very low) and mania (feeling very high and overactive) or hypomania (less severe mania).

Broca’s Area: Part of the brain, usually at the front part of the left hemisphere, and which has functions linked to speech production. 

 

Carer’s Assessment: An assessment for adults who are caring for another individual which enables the council to decide whether or not they qualify for support. If you care for someone, it is a chance to discuss how your caring responsibilities impact on your daily life.

Cognitive Analytical Therapy: A form of talking therapy that focuses on an individual’s relationship with themselves, others, the world around them and their past experiences to understand their current experiences, feelings, thoughts and behaviour.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A type of talking therapy that aims to target a person’s thoughts, in order to change how they behave and feel.

Compassion: A concern for the suffering or misfortunate of others and themselves. Sometimes defined as ‘a sensitivity to the suffering of self and others, alongside a determination and commitment to doing something about it’.

Compassion Focused Therapy: A form of talking therapy that aims to encourages people to be compassionate to themselves, their voices and other people.

Coping strategy: A behaviour an individual uses to deal with challenges.

Creative visualisation: A process where an individual is encouraged to generate a visual mental image that relates to a particular experience in order to recreate and transform the impact the experience has on their well-being.

Crisis houses and services: Crisis houses offer intensive, short-term support so that you can manage and resolve your crisis in a residential setting (rather than hospital).

Dissociation: The major characteristic of dissociative behaviour involves a detachment from reality. Dissociation covers a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experiences. 

Earworm: The experience of having a tune or piece of music stuck in your head.

Electroconvulsive Shock Therapy: A psychiatric treatment in which seizures are electrically induced in people to treat certain mental health conditions.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR): A type of therapy that uses eye movement and other forms of stimulation to assist in the reprocessing of traumatic experiences.

Felt presence: A feeling of the presence of a person or agency that is not heard or seen.

Formulation: A framework or explanation often used in cognitive behavioural therapy that links together, thoughts, feelings, experiences and behaviour.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI): A technique used by neuroscientists to measure activity in the brain through detecting changes associated with blood flow.

 

Hallucination: A sensory experience (hearing a voice, seeing, tasting or feeling something) that occurs in the absence of any external stimulus.

Hearing Voices Group: A peer support group for people who hear voices.

Hearing Voices: The experience of hearing a voice that other people do not hear.

Hearing Voices Movement: A movement whose central premise is the idea that hearing voices is a meaningful human experience rather than a symptom of pathology.

Hearing Voices Network: A peer-focused national network linking Hearing Voices Groups and other similar initiatives.

Hypnogogic: Relating to the state immediately before falling asleep. Hypnogic visions and voices are relatively common experiences that take place just as you are drifting off to sleep.

Hypnopompic: Relating to the state immediately before waking up from sleep. Hypnopompic visions and voices are relatively common experiences that take place as one is waking up.

Inner speech: A term psychologists use to describe verbal thought; talking to oneself in silence.

Institutional racism: A form of racial discrimination that has become normal within the practices of an organisation or institution.

Intervoice: A charity set up to support the development of the international Hearing Voices Movement.

Intrusive thoughts: Unwanted thoughts which you find distressing. They occur spontaneously and are difficult to control or get rid of.

Maastricht interview: A structured interview exploring the characteristics and content of voices in relation to a person’s life experiences. The interviewer and the voice-hearer use the information gathered through the interview to produce a concise account of voice-hearing experiences called “a construct.”

Marius Romme: A Dutch psychiatrist who co-founded the Hearing Voices Movement.

Mental health crisis team: A team that attends individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis and need urgent support.

Mindfulness: A psychological process and state that encourages an individual to be aware of their present experiences.

Musical hallucination: The experience of hearing music when none is being played.

 

National Health Service (NHS): The publicly funded national health care system in the UK. It provides free or low cost healthcare to all legal residents of the United Kingdom.

Neurostimulation: Artificially induced activation or modulation of the nervous system.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): It provides national guidelines and advice to improve health and social care.

Open Dialogue: An approach to therapy that a a consistent family and social support network.

Peer support: The process by which individuals with similar experiences provide knowledge, experience, social, emotional or practical support to one another.

Peer support worker: An individual who is appointed to offer support to another individual through shared experiences.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A mental health disorder that occurs after traumatic experience and impacts a person’s thoughts, behaviours and feelings.

Predictive processing: A way of understanding the brain as a system that generates predictions about the world based on past experiences and patterns of behaviour.

Private speech: Speech spoken to the self for communication, guidance and regulation of behaviour.

Prolonged exposure: A form of therapy designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder by re-experiencing the traumatic event through thoughts and behaviour, rather than avoiding the trauma. 

Pseudo-hallucination: A now discredited concept that refers to an experience that resembles a hallucination, but the individual is aware that the experience is “not real”. 

Psychiatrist: A medical practioner who assesses, diagnoses and treats mental illness.

Psychologist: Someone who studies the human mind and emotions and behaviour and how different situations have an effect on people. 

Psychosis: A mental health problem that causes people to perceive or interpret the world differently from those around them. It can include unusual experiences such as hearing voices and seeing visions, as well as paranoia and beliefs that other people do not share.  

Psychotic disorder: A group of mental health conditions that involve experiences of psychosis. Examples include schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. 

 

Randomised controlled trial: A type of scientific experiment where people participating in the trial are randomly allocated to either the group receiving the treatment under investigation or to a group receiving standard treatment as the control.

Relating Therapy: A therapy that encourages individuals to treat their voices as if they were people with who they are experiencing a difficult relationship with.

Sandra Escher: A journalist who co-founded the Hearing Voices Movement with her partner, Marius Romme.

Schizophrenia: A mental health disorder characterised by a disturbance in behaviour, thought and perception which impacts upon a person’s ability to function. 

Self-harm: A behaviour used to harm the self in response to distressing situations – for example, cutting.

Sensory information: Information in the form of visual, sound, touch, smell or taste. 

Social exclusion: Exclusion from the prevailing social system and its rights and privileges, typically as a result of poverty or the fact of belonging to a minority social group.

Talking therapy: An approach to therapy where an individual uses speech to talk to a professional about themselves; feeling, behaving and thinking for example.

Temporoparietal junction: An area of the brain where the temporal and parietal lobes meet.

Therapist: A mental health professional who is skilled in a specific therapy and works with individuals to support them with their well-being.

Tinnitus: The medical term for the experience of hearing a ringing or buzzing noise in the ear.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS): A non-invasive (i.e. does not require surgery) form of neurostimulation that uses a constant low current delivered by electrodes to stimulate or modify targeted areas of the brain.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): A non-invasive (i.e. does not require surgery) form of neurostimulation that involves changing magnetic fields to create an electrical current in a very small area of the brain. It involves a “coil” being held against the scalp for the duration of stimulation and feels a bit like someone is gently tapping on the scalp while it is applied.

Trauma: An event that causes a person to feel distressed – both during the event and after the event.

Unusual beliefs: Beliefs about the world that other people do not share. Sometimes called ‘delusions’ in a clinical context.

Visions: The experience of seeing things that other people don’t.

Voice Collective: A London based project that offers support to young people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual experiences and their parents or carers.

Voice Dialogue: A technique used to engage and speak with a person’s voices or ‘multiple selves’.

Voice-hearer: On a very simple level, a voice-hearer is someone who hears voices. The term ‘voice-hearer’ is also a ‘culturally meaningful and politically charged identity’ (Woods, 2013), the adoption of which signals affiliation with a wider network of people who share not just the common experience of hearing voices, but specific values and viewpoints. This might include being critical of mainstream psychiatry. Many people who self-identify as voice-hearers in this way are members of the Hearing Voices Movement and seek to empower other voice-hearers, challenge stigma and discrimination, and improve access to care and support for people who hear voices that is empowering and recovery-focused.

Voice-hearing: The experience of hearing a voice that other people do not.

Wernicke’s Area: A region in the brain involved in understanding language and language development.

Work Capability Assessment: An assessment used to determine whether an individual is able to work, or participate in work-related activities.

Wernicke’s Area: A region in the brain involved in understanding language and language development.

Work Capability Assessment: An assessment used to determine whether an individual is able to work, or participate in work-related activities.

A-Z of terms

A

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A form of psychotherapy where the individual is encouraged to accept negative thoughts and feelings as a normal part of daily functioning, and to commit to behaviours that are based on the individual’s own goals and values.

Anorexia: A mental health disorder which impacts a person’s relationship with food, weight and body shape.

Avatar Therapy: A form of therapy where individuals create a computer generated avatar to represent their voices, which they then interact with in a simulation of the voice-hearing experience. Under direction from the therapist, the client challents the voice and it gradually comes under their control. Avatar therapy is not currently available in the UK outside specific clinical trials.

B

Bipolar Disorder: A mental health condition that can affect your moods, and which is characterised by periods of depression (feeling very low) and mania (feeling very high and overactive) or hypomania (less severe mania).

Broca’s Area: Part of the brain, usually at the front part of the left hemisphere, and which has functions linked to speech production.

C

Carer’s Assessment: An assessment for adults who are caring for another individual which enables the council to decide whether or not they qualify for support. If you care for someone, it is a chance to discuss how your caring responsibilities impact on your daily life.

Cognitive Analytical Therapy: A form of talking therapy that focuses on an individual’s relationship with themselves, others, the world around them and their past experiences to understand their current experiences, feelings, thoughts and behaviour.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A type of talking therapy that aims to target a person’s thoughts, in order to change how they behave and feel.

Compassion: A concern for the suffering or misfortunate of others and themselves. Sometimes defined as ‘a sensitivity to the suffering of self and others, alongside a determination and commitment to doing something about it’.

Compassion Focused Therapy: A form of talking therapy that aims to encourages people to be compassionate to themselves, their voices and other people.

Coping strategy: A behaviour an individual uses to deal with challenges.

Creative visualisation: A process where an individual is encouraged to generate a visual mental image that relates to a particular experience in order to recreate and transform the impact the experience has on their well-being.

Crisis houses and services: Crisis houses offer intensive, short-term support so that you can manage and resolve your crisis in a residential setting (rather than hospital).

D

Dissociation: The major characteristic of dissociative behaviour involves a detachment from reality. Dissociation covers a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experiences.

E

Earworm: The experience of having a tune or piece of music stuck in your head.

Electroconvulsive Shock Therapy: A psychiatric treatment in which seizures are electrically induced in people to treat certain mental health conditions.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR): A type of therapy that uses eye movement and other forms of stimulation to assist in the reprocessing of traumatic experiences.

F

Felt presence: A feeling of the presence of a person or agency that is not heard or seen.

Formulation: A framework or explanation often used in cognitive behavioural therapy that links together, thoughts, feelings, experiences and behaviour.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI): A technique used by neuroscientists to measure activity in the brain through detecting changes associated with blood flow.

 

H

Hallucination: A sensory experience (hearing a voice, seeing, tasting or feeling something) that occurs in the absence of any external stimulus.

Hearing Voices Group: A peer support group for people who hear voices.

Hearing Voices: The experience of hearing a voice that other people do not hear.

Hearing Voices Movement: A movement whose central premise is the idea that hearing voices is a meaningful human experience rather than a symptom of pathology.

Hearing Voices Network: A peer-focused national network linking Hearing Voices Groups and other similar initiatives.

Hypnogogic: Relating to the state immediately before falling asleep. Hypnogic visions and voices are relatively common experiences that take place just as you are drifting off to sleep.

Hypnopompic: Relating to the state immediately before waking up from sleep. Hypnopompic visions and voices are relatively common experiences that take place as one is waking up.

I

Inner speech: A term psychologists use to describe verbal thought; talking to oneself in silence.

Institutional racism: A form of racial discrimination that has become normal within the practices of an organisation or institution.

Intervoice: A charity set up to support the development of the international Hearing Voices Movement.

Intrusive thoughts: Unwanted thoughts which you find distressing. They occur spontaneously and are difficult to control or get rid of.

M

Maastricht interview: A structured interview exploring the characteristics and content of voices in relation to a person’s life experiences. The interviewer and the voice-hearer use the information gathered through the interview to produce a concise account of voice-hearing experiences called “a construct.”

Marius Romme: A Dutch psychiatrist who co-founded the Hearing Voices Movement with Sandra Escher.

Mental health crisis team: A team that attends individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis and need urgent support.

Mindfulness: A psychological process and state that encourages an individual to be aware of their present experiences.

Musical hallucination: The experience of hearing music when none is being played.

N

National Health Service (NHS): The publicly funded national health care system in the UK. It provides free or low cost healthcare to all legal residents of the United Kingdom.

Neurostimulation: Artificially induced activation or modulation of the nervous system.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): It provides national guidelines and advice to improve health and social care.

O

Open Dialogue: An approach to therapy that a a consistent family and social support network.

P

Peer support: The process by which individuals with similar experiences provide knowledge, experience, social, emotional or practical support to one another.

Peer support worker: An individual who is appointed to offer support to another individual through shared experiences.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A mental health disorder that occurs after traumatic experience and impacts a person’s thoughts, behaviours and feelings.

Predictive processing: A way of understanding the brain as a system that generates predictions about the world based on past experiences and patterns of behaviour.

Private speech: Speech spoken to the self for communication, guidance and regulation of behaviour.

Prolonged exposure: A form of therapy designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder by re-experiencing the traumatic event through thoughts and behaviour, rather than avoiding the trauma.

Pseudo-hallucination: A now discredited concept that refers to an experience that resembles a hallucination, but the individual is aware that the experience is “not real”.

Psychiatrist: A medical practioner who assesses, diagnoses and treats mental illness.

Psychologist: Someone who studies the human mind and emotions and behaviour and how different situations have an effect on people.

Psychosis: A mental health problem that causes people to perceive or interpret the world differently from those around them. It can include unusual experiences such as hearing voices and seeing visions, as well as paranoia and beliefs that other people do not share.

Psychotic disorder: A group of mental health conditions that involve experiences of psychosis. Examples include schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

R

Randomised controlled trial: A type of scientific experiment where people participating in the trial are randomly allocated to either the group receiving the treatment under investigation or to a group receiving standard treatment as the control.

Relating Therapy: A therapy that encourages individuals to treat their voices as if they were people with who they are experiencing a difficult relationship with.

S

Sandra Escher: A journalist and child psychologist who co-founded the Hearing Voices Movement with Marius Romme.

Schizophrenia: A mental health disorder characterised by a disturbance in behaviour, thought and perception which impacts upon a person’s ability to function.

Self-harm: A behaviour used to harm the self in response to distressing situations – for example, cutting.

Sensory information: Information in the form of visual, sound, touch, smell or taste.

Social exclusion: Exclusion from the prevailing social system and its rights and privileges, typically as a result of poverty or the fact of belonging to a minority social group.

T

Talking therapy: An approach to therapy where an individual uses speech to talk to a professional about themselves; feeling, behaving and thinking for example.

Temporoparietal junction: An area of the brain where the temporal and parietal lobes meet.

Therapist: A mental health professional who is skilled in a specific therapy and works with individuals to support them with their well-being.

Tinnitus: The medical term for the experience of hearing a ringing or buzzing noise in the ear.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS): A non-invasive (i.e. does not require surgery) form of neurostimulation that uses a constant low current delivered by electrodes to stimulate or modify targeted areas of the brain.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): A non-invasive (i.e. does not require surgery) form of neurostimulation that involves changing magnetic fields to create an electrical current in a very small area of the brain. It involves a “coil” being held against the scalp for the duration of stimulation and feels a bit like someone is gently tapping on the scalp while it is applied.

Trauma: An event that causes a person to feel distressed – both during the event and after the event.

U

Unusual beliefs: Beliefs about the world that other people do not share. Sometimes called ‘delusions’ in a clinical context.

V

Visions: The experience of seeing things that other people don’t.

Voice Collective: A London based project that offers support to young people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual experiences and their parents or carers.

Voice Dialogue: A technique used to engage and speak with a person’s voices or ‘multiple selves’.

Voice-hearer: On a very simple level, a voice-hearer is someone who hears voices. The term ‘voice-hearer’ is also a ‘culturally meaningful and politically charged identity’ (Woods, 2013), the adoption of which signals affiliation with a wider network of people who share not just the common experience of hearing voices, but specific values and viewpoints. This might include being critical of mainstream psychiatry. Many people who self-identify as voice-hearers in this way are members of the Hearing Voices Movement and seek to empower other voice-hearers, challenge stigma and discrimination, and improve access to care and support for people who hear voices that is empowering and recovery-focused.

Voice-hearing: The experience of hearing a voice that other people do not.

W

Wernicke’s Area: A region in the brain involved in understanding language and language development.

Work Capability Assessment: An assessment used to determine whether an individual is able to work, or participate in work-related activities.

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