Exploring the experience of hearing voices: A qualitative study
Aims: A trend has emerged in the last two decades which views hearing voices as a meaningful experience and attempts to facilitate both their exploration and the development of effective strategies of coping with them. This study explores the experience of hearing voices, aiming to highlight the complexity of the phenomenon and the meaning that the experience has for the person. Methods: Semi?structured interviews were conducted with 15 individuals who currently hear voices and are being treated by the Thessaloniki Psychiatric Hospital. The interview material was analysed by the abbreviated version of grounded theory. Results: The two out of six main categories presented in this paper concern: (a) ?the function of voices?, which includes what the voices say and how the hearer deals with them; and (b) ?understanding hearing voices?, which includes the explanations given by voice hearers regarding the source and origin of voices as well as the relation of voices to reality and to their thoughts. Conclusions: The study highlights that hearing voices is a complex experience which voice hearers deal with in a variety of ways, and that voice hearers develop sophisticated frameworks for making sense of that experience.