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Compassion-informed approaches for coping with hearing voices: literature review and narrative synthesis

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>8/09/2023
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date8/09/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Compassion-informed talking therapies have gained increased attention with people who hear voices and practitioners alike. Developing inner kindness can reduce powerful critical voices and self-stigma, thus increasing people’s ability to cope with challenging voice hearing experiences, and potentially increase overall wellbeing.

The current review aimed to explore how compassion-informed approaches to coping with voice hearing are understood and reported across the existent voice-hearing literature. Academic Search Ultimate, MedLine and PsychINFO databases were searched for suitable papers, using the terms: [“hear* voice*” OR “voice hear*” OR “auditory hallucinat*”] AND compassion*.

Fourteen papers were identified for inclusion: six quantitative studies, six qualitative reports, and two theoretical reviews. Included studies host a total sample size of 855 people, representative of clinical and community populations, across adolescence and adulthood. The reviewed research originated from the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, and the United States of America.

Self-compassion and building a compassionate alliance with one’s voices can be challenging for many voice hearers to initially embrace. Over time, building a mutually compassionate relationship with one’s voices can help empower the voice hearer by resolving, rather than increasing, inner conflicts, and may increase opportunities to experience the presence of agreeable voices.