Episode 7 — Hearing Voices

The standard psychiatric understanding of auditory hallucinations is that they are a symptom of serious mental illness, and ought to be treated with antipsychotic medication, but could there other ways of understanding this phenomenon? Can such symptoms ever have meaning in their own right? We explore whether voices could sometimes be the psyche’s attempt to heal itself. In the show, we mention the Hearing Voices Network.

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Here’s the dream we analyze: I was walking along on a frozen lake near the shore. Suddenly the ice under my feet gave way and I felt myself falling through. My boots were immediately soaked, pulling me under. My coat quickly became too heavy. As my head slipped below the surface, I saw my mother walking some distance from me. She didn’t see me; nobody did. I didn’t make a sound. I only had time to think: this is my death, and nobody will see me. I was going down very quickly, with no time to even struggle. About 1.5 meters below the surface, I had a final quick thought; maybe I’m dreaming. Then I woke up.”