UK Network

Division of Clinical Psychology


Working with voices from a structural dissociation perspective

Presenter: – Dr. Angela Kennedy

I will present how the Theory of Structural dissociation of the Personality (TSDP) can inform our understanding of voice hearing in persons with psychotic disorders. Some aspects of the relation between dissociation and psychosis will be addressed, along with issues of differential diagnosis. However the main focus of the workshop will be on working with the relationship between voices and the person hearing them. Voice dialogue is an approach to working with voices that accepts them as having meaning within the context of people’s lives whatever their mental health diagnosis.  Voice dialogue emphasises the relationships that people have with their voices. Compassion is therefore an important aspect of facilitating better relationships with voices. It helps build resilience in order to address the traumas represented by the voices and it mitigates against the shame and stigma of having such experiences. This workshop will outline basic skills for engaging with such dissociated elements in order to aid mentalizing, facilitate internal cooperation between aspects of the self, and ultimately improve emotional well-being.

Dr Angela KennedyDr Angela Kennedy has been a Psychologist in the NHS for 24 years and is a trauma therapist working in Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. She is currently service lead for a specialist psychological therapies team working with people who experience enduring psychotic symptoms.  She is actively creating systems for services to be ‘Trauma-Informed’ and is Project Lead for compassion focused management and culture in TEWV.  Angela is on the board of the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation and is the psychological therapies lead for the North of England Clinical Network (NHS England).