Hearing Voices

Mar 25, 2014

Credit Travis Isaacs / Creative Commons

Teresa of Avila very unambiguously reported hearing voices. She's a saint. John Forbes Nash heard voices. He won a Nobel prize. Robert Schumann heard voices that spurred him to write great music.

Philip K. Dick was guided by one inner voice, specifically female, that he would hear for much of his life. He probably holds the record for most film adaptations for words written of any author ever.

Mahatma Gandhi described a voice he could hear; not a metaphorical inner conversation, but a voice.

I could go on. Hearing voices is not that unusual. 

Some of the guests this hour will argue that hearing voices can be folded into a rewarding life. It all depends. For Nash and Schumann, hearing voices was part of a very bad experience. For the others, and for our guests, it's a more complicated thing.

The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services sponsored the kickoff of The Connecticut Hearing Voices Network on March 25 at Real Art Ways in Hartford. It will be part of the International Hearing Voices Network -- a network of support groups for people who hear voices, see visions, and have other unusual perceptions. 


  • Peter Bullimore is a voice hearer. He owns a training/consultant agency, Asylum Associates, and is the founding member of the Paranoia Network in England. He also holds a teaching and research post at Manchester University and is a published author on issues of voices and trauma.
  • Lisa Forestell is a voice hearer. She is also the Director of Community Supports at the Western Mass Learning Recovery Community, and a board member and group facilitator and trainer for Hearing Voices Network USA.
  • Dr. Raveen Mehendru is a psychiatrist at the Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital
  • Janet Ruffing is a Sister of Mercy and professor in the practice of Spirituality and Ministerial Leadership at Yale Divinity.