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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 58 (2016) 2, 132 - 139

Essay

A personal diagnosis for patients who hear voices: symptoms can improve in a meaningful context

H.J.T.M. Corstens, M.A.J. Romme

background In his controversial book Beyond dsm-5 (written in Dutch) Jim van Os makes a plea for a ‘personal diagnosis’.
aim To describe how a personal diagnosis can be made in the case of patients who hear voices.
method We described and tested extensively how we achieved a personal diagnosis for patients who hear voices.
results This method enabled us to establish a relationship between hearing voices and events in a patient’s personal life. This association plays an important role in the patient’s recovery.
conclusion Such a personal diagnosis has important advantages, both for the patient who hear voices and for the professional: it is drawn up with the personal involvement of the patient, and strengthens the working relationship; the patient’s personal history plays a central role. A personal diagnosis empowers the patient, it is written in language that the patient can understand. It also reveals possible ways of solving the patient’s personal problems and can thereby lead to further treatment and recovery.

keywords auditory verbal hallucinations, hearing voices, personal diagnosis