Narratives of Voice Hearers

First-person accounts of voice-hearing

In collaboration with the Hearing the Voice project at the University of Durham, this strand of CASS research explores interviews with two different groups of voice-hearers: self-identified spiritualists and those using Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services.

Using methods in corpus analysis, we aim to improve understanding of these voice-hearing experiences. Of key importance is the consideration of why, for some, this is a highly distressing experience and, for others, this becomes an occupational lifestyle. Corpus analysis can help us to investigate different aspects of the experience of voice-hearers in the data, including whether indeed it manifests as an auditory perception, how ‘characterful’ the voice is described to be, and the relationship between the voice-hearer and their voices. By analysing these first-person accounts, we can gain insights into how the participants perceive their own agency and the potential to manage their voices, as well as the root of any anxiety caused by them.

We will use the findings of this project to better understand the support needs of voice-hearers with clinical diagnoses, and inform interventions that are based on interactions and constructive dialogue with the voices. By tracking these first-person accounts over time, we will also investigate the potential effects of engagement with support services on how participants manage and cope with their voice-hearing experiences.


Principal Investigator: Professor Elena Semino (Lancaster University)

Senior Research Associate: Dr Luke Collins (Lancaster University)

Co-Investigator: Dr Angela Woods (Durham University)

Collaborators: Dr Zsófia Demjén (University College London)

Dr Ben Alderson-Day (Durham University)

Dr Peter Moseley (Durham University)