Lived experiences of voice-hearing for men who have been imprisoned in the UK

Prof Doc Thesis

Lewry, C. 2021. Lived experiences of voice-hearing for men who have been imprisoned in the UK. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsLewry, C.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Despite the growth of the Hearing Voices Movement, the phenomenon of voice-hearing is still seen to be dominated by positivist and reductionist literature, focussing on cause-and-effect frameworks with the aim of offering a fix or cure to people who have lived experiences of hearing voices. Many research studies have been conducted in both clinical and non-clinical populations, however there is currently no research into the experiences of voice-hearing for men who have been in prison. Although voice-hearing is not necessarily a detrimental phenomenon in subjective mental health, there are those that find their voice-hearing distressing. Therefore, there are psychological support services available to address these needs, if and when they become problematic. However, healthcare services that work with mental health difficulties such as psychosis or trauma, are considered to have the highest prevalence of voice-hearing experiences, still often driven from a diagnostic pathologising perspective.
Questions, therefore, arise around how men who have been imprisoned in the UK experience voice-hearing, the meaning that is attributed to this, and their understanding of psychological support available to them in the prison system. The present study seeks to explore these questions through the illumination of phenomenological inquiry. Semi-structured online and telephone interviews were conducted with three men who have lived experiences of voice-hearing and have been imprisoned in the UK. Issues discussed included self-identity, confinement, violence, survival and death, time, and service provision. The research also found the essential need for person to person relating and the importance of individual narratives, especially in the context of access to forensic and clinical mental health services. The research aims to express contributors’ individual narratives and offer a humanistic and pluralistic understanding of the phenomenon, more in line with social justice values, drawing upon and contributing to the literature in the field of counselling psychology.

KeywordsVoice-hearing; VH; auditory verbal hallucinations; AVH; men; prison; male prisoners; lived experience; phenomenology; hermeneutics
PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
Online20 Dec 2021
Publication process dates
Submitted08 Dec 2021
Deposited20 Dec 2021
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