The critical voice; A heuristic enquiry into the experience of hearing a critical inner voice to deepen our understanding of its meaning and purpose

Dyson-Horton, Georgina Anne (2021) The critical voice; A heuristic enquiry into the experience of hearing a critical inner voice to deepen our understanding of its meaning and purpose. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling. [Thesis]

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The purpose of this thesis is to discover new ways of thinking about and understanding one’s critical inner voice. The critical voice is defined as words that are heard internally, are typically negative towards the self and others and not Auditory Verbal Hallucinations.

The research question asks if there is a meaning or purpose to the critical voice as this has often been overlooked in previous research and literature. Theories on the aetiology of the critical voice come from a Psychodynamic perspective, however by applying an Existential Philosophical perspective it is possible to widen the lens in order to discover more about it.

The chosen methodology is Heuristic which elucidates participant’s lived experience and personal meanings. Heuristics provides a richness of data by using verbatim extracts and this showcases the texture and grain of participant’s thought processes.

Seven adult women participated in this study aged between 30 and 56. The interviews were semi-structured with emphasis on talking about what was important to them. The criteria for participation were for adults over eighteen and therefore the participant’s gender and age range proved interesting.

The results yielded exciting and novel findings, which are grouped into thirteen Gathered Themes, each of which have sub themes. For example, the critical voice is ‘Not All Bad’; it can be a ‘Little Friend’; it ‘Changes Throughout Life’ and the Menopause can effect it. It was found that the Critical Voice is connected to one’s whole being and also to our external world. Of particular interest are the findings entitled ‘Safe Criticism’ where participants found ways to be critical without harm to the other.

The implications for Counselling Psychology are that the critical voice can be both a blessing and a curse; it is interconnected within oneself and to our outer world. The findings suggest that it is important to look to our own beliefs and values so that when working with clients we do not inadvertently overlook a necessary function of the client’s inner world.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 34960
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2022 08:51
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2022 07:29

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