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Hearing Voices Network

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The Hearing Voices Network is a self-help user-run organization for people who 'hear voices'. Although members may have a psychiatric diagnosis, the group promotes an alternative approach, where voices are not necessarilly seen as signs of mental illness.

They argue that since some people can lead a valuable and productive existence while hearing voices, the largely drug-based and potentially coercive treatment of mainstream medicine might do more harm than good in people who can otherwise function adequately.

It was founded in 1989 in Manchester by five mental health workers, but has somewhat distanced itself from the psychiatric profession through its alternative philosophy. The general approach of the network is shared with other groups around the world, which are often grouped as the 'Hearing Voices Movement'.

Dutch psychiatrist Marius Romme, the co-author of Accepting Voices, has provided an intellectual basis for this group. He advocates a view that the hearing of voices is not necessarily an indication of mental illness, and that patients should be encouraged to explore their voices and negotiate with them.

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