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A weird but interesting journey: Personal traumatic growth for individuals with hallucinations

Dixon, Lily; Sanderson, Chris; Alexander, Tim; Holt, Lucy


Lily Dixon

Chris Sanderson

Lucy Holt


Objectives: Hallucinations can be traumatic. However, research into 'post-traumatic growth' in relation to hallucinations is scarce. This study aims to further our understanding of personal growth in the context of hallucinations. Design: A phenomenological qualitative approach was used to explore experiences of personal growth with hallucinations, adopting Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven people who experience hallucinations. Participants were asked about experiences of personal growth, their expectations of individual transformation, and facilitating and hindering factors in the attainment of personal growth. Transcripts were analysed ensuring suitable saturation and representation of the data was achieved. Results: One overall theme (A journey towards personal growth) and five subthemes were identified: A difficult journey taken day by day, Stigma, Acceptance, Finding the right support, and Personal growth. Conclusions: Findings supported personal growth in the context of hallucinations and highlighted facilitators and barriers. Practitioner points • There is scarce literature supporting the development of personal growth with hallucinatory experiences and it is empirically limited. The present research provides greater information into the phenomenon to inform service provision. • The importance of acceptance and maintaining hope for change was highlighted. • Services and the use of coping strategies were both identified as facilitative and hindering of personal growth. • This research provides a necessary alternative to the often negative literature; challenging societal perceptions and helping promote much needed hope in clinicians, the public and individuals experiencing hallucinations.


Dixon, L., Sanderson, C., Alexander, T., & Holt, L. (2018). A weird but interesting journey: Personal traumatic growth for individuals with hallucinations. Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy, 08(03), Article 343.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 22, 2018
Online Publication Date Jun 29, 2018
Publication Date Jun 29, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 24, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy
Print ISSN 2161-0487
Publisher OMICS International
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 08
Issue 03
Article Number 343
Keywords Hallucinations; Hearing voices; Positive; Growth; Qualitative
Public URL
Publisher URL


Article (338 Kb)

Copyright Statement
©2018 Dixon L et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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