Hearing network has the voice of reason on schizophrenia

WE HEAR YOU: Peter Bullimore is helping people overcome the voices inside their heads through understanding, a program run by the Hearing Voices Network. 
Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0729sgvoices1

WE HEAR YOU: Peter Bullimore is helping people overcome the voices inside their heads through understanding, a program run by the Hearing Voices Network. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0729sgvoices1

TO most, schizophrenia is a word with a throng of different connotations.

But, from now on, those primary meanings shouldn’t exist.

And there’s one simple reason behind it.

“It’s a made up word, made over 100 years ago. It’s just used to categorise people when we don’t understand their experience,” Hearing Voices Network training consultant Peter Bullimore said. 

“I don’t think (schizophrenia) can be prevalent because it doesn’t exist.”

Hailing from Sheffield in England, Mr Bullimore has been delivering training focusing on hearing voices and paranoia for more than a decade.

Researchers at the University of Sydney are working with the Hearing Voices Network and, debunking a host of schizophrenic myths. 

Mr Bullimore’s aim is to work with the experience without having to use any anti-psychotic drugs.

“I think everybody can hear voices at different stages of their lives, it’s about the severity of it,” he said. “The voices quite often talk about painful events in a life, so it’s difficult to hear them and we try to ignore them.

“I’ve heard voices since I was seven years of age. That was from a lot of traumatic experiences in my childhood, but through meeting people through the Hearing Voices Network, I was able to make the relationship between what the voices say and life events,”

Travelling to Orange after holding a similar workshop in Taree, the Hearing Voices Network hosted 50 people on Monday looking at short-term coping strategies.

Tuesday’s workshop was about understanding.

And Mr Bullimore says that understanding often surrounds where the voices originate from - trauma.

“It’s about basic areas of your life you haven’t dealt with,” he said.

“When you work through those areas of your life and the voices become less problematic because you’re forming a relationship.”

nick.mcgrath@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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