Mindfulness for Voices (M4V)

A study to investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness-based group therapy for people diagnosed with hearing voices.

Being distressed by hearing voices (‘auditory hallucinations’) is common for people diagnosed with schizophrenia. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) offered on a one to one basis is the recommended treatment, but is rarely available in practice. One solution is to offer therapy in groups so patients can receive therapy at the same time.

The Mindfulness for Voices (M4V) study was a National Institute of Health Research-funded study which investigated the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based group based therapy for people diagnosed by hearing voices (‘auditory hallucinations’). M4V was developed by Professor Paul Chadwick (Chief Investigator) and his research team. The study focuses on helping people to learn new ways of managing and living with their voices. The intervention incorporates elements of CBT with the addition of emphasising the principles and practices of mindfulness meditation.

The randomised controlled trial finished recruiting the 108 participants in Sussex and Hampshire towards the end of 2013. Half the participants received the M4V group therapy over a 12-session period and the other half received their usual mental health care. Participant defined goals for recovery as well as measures of psychological health, anxiety, depression, self-esteem and mindfulness were assessed at baseline, post-group and six months after the end of therapy. The results indicated that the therapy can reduce the distress caused by voices, enhance mood, improve personal control and promote recovery. However, some of the findings were not maintained over the follow-up period of six months, suggesting that further work needs to be done to strengthen the benefits.

To find out more you can read the published paper, Group mindfulness-based intervention for distressing voices: A pragmatic randomised controlled Trial. Chadwick, P., Strauss, C., Jones, A. M., Kingdon, D., Ellett, L., Dannahy, L. & Hayward, M. (2016). Schizophrenia Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2016.04.001