We like to share about books we have read that we have found insightful or helpful regarding hearing voices. To follow are some reviews of them.

The Third Man Factor by John Geiger

This book review is from the Sunday Star Times, by Liz Porter.

When John Geiger read Sir Ernest Shackleton’s memoir of his 1914-1917 Antarctic expedition, he was transfixed by the legendary polar explorer’s tale of his battle for survival after the team’s ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice.

In the final weeks of the expedition, Shackleton and two companions had made a heroic, last-ditch attempt to reach a British whaling station, so they could get help to the other members of the expedition who were sick, exhausted and waiting 1100 kilometres away at Elephant Island. Filthy, ragged, dehydrated and ill-equipped, the trio trekked 38 kilometres across glaciers and icy mountain ranges on the island of South Georgia, reaching the British settlement 36 hours later.

The Toronto-based writer was in awe of Shackleton’s powers of physical endurance. But it was the metaphysical aspect of the story that stayed with him — the “unseen presence” that, according to the explorer, had accompanied the three men on the last harrowing stage of their journey.

“It seemed to me often that we were four not three,” Shackleton wrote in his memoir, South. Later, in his public lectures about the expedition, he referred to this presence as his “divine companion”. 

Read more: The Third Man Factor by John Geiger

Living with Voices : 50 Stories of Recovery

This book is edited by Marius Romme, Sandra Escher, Jacqui Dillon, Dirk Corstens and Mervyn Morris, UK, PCCS Books in association with Birmingham City University, 2009, 346pp., (paperback), ISBN: 13 9781906254223

Living with Voices is an important addition to the new wave of publications which include and promote first-person narratives describing and explaining psychotic-like experiences.  This is the third book in a series on understanding and working with voices.  In the first two publications, Accepting Voices and Making Sense of Voices, Romme and Escher challenge the reader to think in a radically different way about voice-hearing experiences.  Accepting Voices is aimed primarily at voice-hearers and recounts the experience of 13 people who hear voices and have come to accept them and use them as part of their everyday lives. It focuses on techniques to manage voices and emphasises personal growth as an important part of the recovery process.  The second book in this series, Making Sense of Voices, is aimed at mental health professionals and outlines a structured approach to assessment, in which relevant psycho-social aspects of the voice-hearer’s life are explored and incorporated into the formulation.  In terms of treatment, it discusses self-help and social empowerment, psychological interventions such as CBT, and alternative therapies.

Read more: Living with Voices : 50 Stories of Recovery

The Bridge Between Two Worlds by Odette Nightsky

This book is subtitled a "Shaman’s view of Schizophrenia and Acute Sensitivity". Odette Nightsky experienced what she calls ‘ her own darkness of the soul’ in her 20’s. Rather than follow the psychiatric path, she chose to follow the shamanic path to find healing. She is now a trained Shamanic guide and member of The College of Shamanic Studies U.K. 

Her book is  written in an easy to read style. It was refreshing to read a book with a different framework for hearing voices other than illness.

Odette  prefers the term “Acutely Sensitive” to “schizophrenia” as she has found in her work that most people have been spiritually wounded. Leaving them profoundly sensitive to energies and to other realities.

Odette's experience as a shaman gives her an in depth view of one trained to walk in other realities.  The explanation at the beginning states “the Shaman lives the mythology of the unconscious”. Many voice hearers do hear and experience gods and other beings from mythologies but have no framework as the West has discarded these experiences as fantasy and delusions.

Odette speaks not only as a healer but also from personal experience which gives her book a richness of one who has walked the path. She writes:

Read more: The Bridge Between Two Worlds by Odette Nightsky

Penina UliUli - A Book Review

There are many perspectives on the voice hearing experience. In many ways they can be as unique as each person is. Some people may view voice hearing as a spiritual experience. As a way of speaking to their spirit guides and to their ancestors. Within this category we have many cultural expressions. Within New Zealand and the Pacific Islands our cultural heritage is very strong.

In a new book out called “Penina Uliuli, Contempory Challenges in Mental health for Pacific Peoples”, they have provided a very thorough exploration into the topic of Pacific mental healths' unique needs.

I attended the lectures by those that complied the book at the latest TheMHS conference in Auckland and was very impressed. Too often people are treated as symptoms, rather than as a person with a mind, a body, and spirit. In this book time and time again it talks of healing the spirit of a person. I especially enjoyed the section by Karen Lupe.

The other area is which there was a lot of interest was that of the Afakasi. A person of different races. One expression was ”A coconut at a Hangi.” The veritable confusion that occurs in a person's psyche when they are of two different spiritual cultures. The Palagi / pakeha, which seeks to have individual wealth and self gratification, on one half and the Polynesian that seeks to be part of a family group, that puts family needs before the needs of the self. The integration of the multiracial groups within a person I am sure will be a subject that will be explored further in the years to come.

There was an interesting section on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, and the negative effects that the terrible effects it has on the mental health of all these people later in life. It certainly presses home that no amount of alcohol is a safe amount when a woman is pregnant. It also touched on some of the issues faced in mental health for adopted children. A subject that has come up often in hearing voices groups and discussions.

It is a very interesting read, I would well recommend it. I got my copy out from the library to read, but it is on Amazon.

Great resource, great read.

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