“Hearing Voices”

Someone was “hearing voices” and felt that she had a unique link to another reality. Here are letters to her from Diane Shisk and Janet Foner.1

Dear X—,

I remember you from the workshop.It is good to hear from you again.We in RC agree with you that it is not a disease to hear voices, but we do not think that the voices you are hearing are real.

We think that what is reality for one human is reality for all—that there are not parts of reality that are available only to some people.There is a world that can be seen, felt, and heard by all humans (unless they have a disability or distress recording that is interfering).It is our experience that when people hear voices that others do not hear, the voices are coming from a distress recording.The person is not diseased, and disease is not the cause of hearing the voices.However, there is a distress recording interfering with the person’s perception of reality.That recording, and all distress recordings, can be discharged. It will help you in discharging the recording if you decide that the voices are not real—that they are coming from a recording of something hurtful that happened to you in the past.

I’m sorry if it makes you feel bad to have me or someone else tell you that the voices are not real.We do not mean to invalidate you.You are a beautiful, smart, and loving person.I remember that. But on this point, the distresses from your past are confusing you and we are not being your allies if we agree with you that the confusion is true.We will have to keep pointing you to reality for you to be able to discharge the old recordings.

I’m glad you will be at Janet’s workshop.I know it will be a good resource for you.

With love,

Diane Shisk
Alternate International Reference
Person for the RC Communities
Seattle, Washington, USA


Dear X—,

Thank you for writing. I have read and agree with what Diane Shisk said in her reply to your letter, and here are some additional thoughts:

“Mental health” oppression is extremely hard on people, particularly those who have been in mental “hospitals” or otherwise involved as “patients” in the “mental health” system. (I use quotation marks because these terms are based on “mental health” oppression, not reality.) The effect of the oppression is to make us doubt ourselves. We internalize it and conclude that something is wrong with our minds. We need to trust our own thinking and experiences, but we also need to be open to noticing and discharging the patterns that have influenced them.

Because we “mental health” system survivors have been so invalidated, we often feel it necessary to try to prove that we are right. But we are not always right. Discharge and re-evaluation will help us distinguish between what is true and what is not. And until we have completely re-evaluated our experiences, we can trust RC theory as a valid guide. We can also trust RC leaders who have proven themselves trustworthy.

The theory of RC has been developed over the last sixty-four years. In that time nothing has been put into it that has not been tested thoroughly by many, many people. Therefore, it is much more accurate than many theories. I’ve found that I can rely on it to inform my discharge process. I’ve discharged about any piece of it that confuses me or seems to be in conflict with something else I believe, and after I’ve discharged a lot, the theory that was confusing has become much clearer to me. An example is when I first heard RC theory about “benign reality.”2 I didn’t understand what reality was and had never had my attention fully on its benign nature. After lots of discharge, and many attempts to get my attention into the present, I was able to connect with actual reality for the first time.

I think it will be the same or similar for you. If you can discharge on the idea that the voices you hear are distress recordings, it will be easier for you to accept that they might not be real. You can talk in your Co-Counseling sessions about what the voices remind you of or what you think might have caused them to appear in your mind. You can trust your mind. It will bring up exactly what you need to discharge on. After many sessions, with lots of discharge, it will become clearer to you what these voices are really about.

I hope my thoughts about this are useful to you and that you will try doing this. I would love to hear how it goes. I am looking forward to meeting you at the “Mental Health” Liberation Workshop.


Janet Foner
International Liberation Reference
Person for “Mental Health” Liberation
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA

1 Diane Shisk is the Alternate International Reference Person for the RC Communities. Janet Foner is the International Liberation Reference Person for “Mental Health” Liberation.
2 The theory states that basic reality is benign. Anything else, in other words “pseudo-reality,” is the result of distress patterns.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00