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Masterclass: Hearing Voices, Demonic and Divine

Tuesday 23rd January 2024

Park Plaza, Boar Lane, City Square, Leeds, LS1 5NS

12.00pm Registration & Lunch, 1.00pm Welcome and 4.00pm Close


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Recent research on auditory verbal hallucinations has shown that they are experienced not only by those with major mental disorders, but also by others in the general population in the absence of a psychiatric diagnosis, including those for whom they are spiritually significant. The phenomenology of this wider spectrum of experiences shows both continuities and discontinuities with the psychopathology of mental disorders. The course will draw on research from the Hearing the Voice project, funded by Wellcome Trust, and will engage with perspectives from the critical medical humanities. 

The course, led by Professor Emeritus Christopher C.H. Cook, Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University, will draw on examples of spiritual voices from historical and theological perspectives, as well as from contemporary research, in order to better understand how such experiences can be meaningful, both in positive and negative ways, for patients and others. Attention will be given to problems of epistemic injustice faced by voice hearers, positive and negative spiritual coping, and lessons for clinical practice. The importance of context and meaning of voice hearing experiences, and the entanglements of spiritual and psychiatric phenomenology, will be explored. 

After attending this course delegates will be able to:
1. Understand the spiritual/religious significance of voices for patients and others
2. Recognise the problems of epistemic injustice faced by voice hearers and respond sensitively
3. Identify the entanglements of spiritual and psychiatric perspectives both in clinical context and in the academic literature 


This course is aimed for Psychiatrists, other mental health professionals & mental health chaplains and is eligible for 3 CPD points.

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