A Fresh Approach to Taboo & Violent Voices

Elephant in the roomWhilst hearing voices is often a taboo in western cultures, linked with media stereotypes and images of ‘madness’, there are some kinds of voices that are even harder to talk about – ‘taboo voices’.

Taboo Voices may include ones that speak of violent and/or sexual themes – things that person, and those around them, find very distressing. They can be extremely graphic, sometimes overlapping with violent thoughts, impulses or disturbing visions.

This course, run over 4 weeks, offers trainees the opportunity to explore the experience of hearing taboo & violent voices and how we can safely support people who feel very overwhelmed by what their voices say.

Course Details

Next course start date: 1 October 2016

Each online course consists of 4 x 2 week modules featuring online access to a learning video (60-90 mins), an interactive discussion area and video Q&A. Each week, new content is posted and you will have the opportunity to watch and learn at your own leisure. On completion of the course, participants will be awarded a certificate of completion. Find out more about online training here.

How to book: just fill out your details at the bottom of this page.

Download: Course Flyer


Full: £65
This rate is for people who are having their place paid for by the NHS, statutory or commercial organisations.

Reduced: £40
This rate is for people who are paying for their place themselves or are having their place paid for by a voluntary sector or charitable organisation.

Concessions: £15
This rate is for those who are unable to afford the reduced rate (for example, because they are on a low waged, unwaged or from a country where the other fees are exclusionary). If you want to attend the training but really cannot afford the concessions rate, please let me know. It is important to me that everyone who wants to take part has the chance to, and financial issues can be a real barrier to participation.


1. Taboo & Violent Voices: an introduction

This module lays the groundwork for the rest of the course. It explores what we mean by ‘taboo’ and ‘violent voices’ and what it is about these voices that can be so difficult to hear (and hear about). It explores our reactions to these voices and the why this can be so problematic. Rai, the trainer, shares some of her personal experience of these voices and how they have impacted on her life.

2. Re-framing Taboo & Violent Voices

This module explores how, as supporters, the way we view – and react to – the voices people hear can become part of the problem. Rather than viewing them as ‘the enemy’, this modules explores ways in which we can view taboo and violent voices as a ‘crisitunity’ and a potential for learning and growth. With this in mind, we will explore issues around risk and what we can do to make it less likely that someone will act on commands from violent voices.

3. Finding a Safe Starting Point

If someone is hearing a voice, or voices, that feel very overwhelming or aggressive – there are lots of different challenges to helping them find a way through this experience. One of the biggest challenges is finding a place to start that feels safe for both the voice-hearer and supporter. Using an example as a base, this module explores some of the challenges to working with voices and how we can support people to a) make an informed choice if they want to do any work around those voices and b) find a safe way of starting the work.

4. Helping People Make Sense of Taboo & Violent Voices

This module explores how we can help people explore, express, deal with and make sense of voices that say taboo or violent things. Rather than seeking an overall ‘answer’ or ‘fix’, we will be looking at a range of options and directions people can take when trying to understand and deal with these voices – and how we, as supporters, can help to facilitate this process.

This course is suitable for:

People who are interested in supporting others who hear taboo or violent voices and feel comfortable thinking about issues around this, including: peer supporters; group facilitators; mental health professionals; family members; voluntary sector; social care professionals; probation/criminal justice sector.

Find out about future courses

If you would like to find out when the next course runs, please join my mailing list. I am careful not to spam – but will send out occasional updates with new training opportunities, events and resources.

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Any questions, please e-mail me.

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