Accepted Paper:

"Problems that make you feel powerless": challenging biopsychiatry's notion of trauma in the Hearing Voices Network  
Sandra Gonzalez (University of the Basque Country)

Paper short abstract:

This paper draws upon governmental theories of self-management in order to address HV's notion of trauma and its (dis)continuities regarding the biopsychiatric approach. This is achieved through the bibliographic review of the literature produced by the HV's founders since 1989 to the present.

Paper long abstract:

Hearing Voices (HV) is a mental health service-user/survivor movement based on a social justice approach and the centrality of experts by experience in the phenomenon of hearing voices. This paper draws upon governmental theories of self-management in order to address HV's paradigm towards recovery from mental distress. Whilst it is embedded in the psy-complex, the main purpose is to analyse its continuities and discontinuities with respect to the biopsychiatric notion of trauma and its neoliberal self-management based upon hiper-responsible and neurochemical 'ideal patients'. This is achieved through the bibliographic review of the literature and research agenda produced by the HV's founders, Marious Romme and Sandra Escher since 1989 to the present.

This analysis points out that interpersonal traumatic events play a key role in the HV's mode of self-management and therefore in the relations and conceptualizations of self, illness and agency. First, the assumption of the notion of interpersonal trauma frames the self as relational and constituted by inner and outer power relationships. Second, it makes possible the production of meaningful connexions between self and illness through techniques of the self. And third, it enables the production of experiential knowledge, a collective experience of illness, through mediations. As a result, the HV's model of self-management proposes an entirely disruptive approach that reframes the modes of relating towards the self and one's voices based upon the way subjectivity is produced and transformed in relation to traumatic personal events.

Panel P01
Trauma subjectivities - the experience and imaginaries of suffering in the 21st century