When soft voices die

Auditory verbal hallucinations and a four letter word (love)

Simon McCarthy-Jones*, Larry Davidson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Understandings of auditory verbal hallucinations (also referred to as "hearing voices"), and help for people distressed by them, are dominated by a biomedical framework. Yet, many people who have sought help for the distress and/or impairment caused by hearing voices express dissatisfaction with treatment solely within this framework, highlighting the need for a more rounded, biopsychosocial-spiritual approach. This paper examines the neglected role of a fundamental part of human experience, love, in the experience of hearing voices. First, we argue a lack of love is likely to play a causal role in voice-hearing experiences. Second, we demonstrate that a lack of love is central to the distress and dysfunction often caused by hearing voices. Finally, we show that love plays a core role in recovery. Given this centrality of love, we argue that an interdisciplinary approach to hearing voices involving the mind sciences and theology/religion may be fruitful. The relevance of this for psychotherapeutic interventions for people who hear voices is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-383
Number of pages17
JournalMental Health, Religion and Culture
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • hearing voices
  • psychosis
  • schizophrenia

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'When soft voices die: Auditory verbal hallucinations and a four letter word (love)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this