Shamanism and hearing voices


We in Hearing Voices Network Cymru do not believe that every voice hearer is a “schizophrenic” nor that voice hearing is essentially a “bio-chemical imbalance of the brain”.

The purpose of the Hearing Voices Network Cymru website is to raise awareness of voice hearing.  Consistent with that intent, we produce this section on shamanism and voice hearing.

We do not necessarily agree with all perspectives in the following websites, but we believe that it is important to bring the following perspectives to your attention.


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Phil Borges has visited many of the remaining cultures whose beliefs encourage a spiritual communion with the environment. He began to interview and photograph many of the people in these cultures and their spiritual mediators, the Shamans.

The vast majority of the shamans he met were identified then nurtured to become healers or seers after they suffered what we in our culture refer to as a psychotic break from reality. Crazywise centers around a young man struggling with his sanity, world renowned mental health professionals, and a survivor-led movement…all challenging a mental health system in crisis.

Go here to see the remarkable videos.


Shamanic perspectives on schizophrenia and voice hearing
Indigenous populations developed a variety of medicinal practices over millenia. These are often referred to as shamanic practices. While there are many variations within these traditions, it seems clear that some at least developed an understanding of the phenomenon we know as hearing voices. In their terminology, what is referred to as “soul stealing”, “soul loss”, and “soul pieces”, can be seen as analogous to aspects of schizophrenia and mental illness. Click on title for more information

Excerpt from ‘The Bridge Between Two Worlds” A Holistic/Shamanic Guide to Schizophrenia

Western Psychiatry, traditional cultures and alternative approaches to healing  An interview with a Sangoma (African traditional healer) on the topic of mental illness from a traditional African perspective. Includes a case study of treating a schizophrenic patient using a combination of Shamanic and Jungian methods.

Different perspectives (including shamanism) from Hearing Voices Network New Zealand
There are many cultures and different sectors of society that experience hearing voices and have visions other than  within the confines of mental health facilities. It is important that we acknowledge this as many people hearing voices and are well. By looking at these experiences we can learn many helpful strategies and other ways to view the voice hearing experience. – a shaman who believes that trees talk to him from time to time.

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