A new global movement among professional clinical psychologists is taking a very different approach to treating patients who 'hear' phantom voices.
Instead of trying to silence or ignore the voices, patients are being encouraged to 'engage' with the voice—whether perceived as benign or malevolent.
Rufus May, a UK clinical psychologist who himself is part of the four percent of the population that hears voices, was recently treating a patient when one of her voices, called 'Top Dog', asked for its own Facebook page.
When they granted its request, Top Dog "went on a forum for other people who hear voices and said, 'Hey you lot, I'm a voice. Is anybody else out there a voice and they want to share ideas with me'?"
Now May says there's a whole community of voices online, who talk to each other from different countries around the world.
Many older readers would no doubt have once regarded such overt encouragement of the 'voices' as unthinkable in any western ('Christian') country a few years ago.
However, it's right in line with the adage (often attributed to G.K. Chesterton) that if people stop believing in the God of the Bible, they don't then believe in nothing, they'll believe in anything—see www.creation.com/superstition•
Why it's healthy to give imaginary voices their own Facebook pages, abc.net.au, 5 December 2013.