How it works

What happens at the initial assessment? 

You will meet for an initial assessment within six weeks of referral to the Voices Clinic. The assessment will be conducted by one of our clinic assistants. They will discuss your voice hearing experience with you to find out whether the clinic is right for you. They will also help you to complete a few questionnaires about your experiences. If the clinic is right for you, one of the clinic assistants will contact you to arrange a course of therapy. If the clinic is not right for you at the present time, you will continue to receive your usual care within the Assessment and Treatment Service. 

Level 1 therapy 


You will meet with a therapist for one hour each week over the course of four weeks. The therapy will help you to identify and use your coping strategies as consistently as possible. 

At the end of the four weeks you will meet again with a Voices Clinic assistant to carry out the next assessment. They will discuss with you how things have gone and whether you need to carry on with therapy. If you are still distressed by your voices you will be offered Level 2 therapy. 

Level 2 therapy 

At this stage you will be offered one of the following therapies, dependent upon your particular  Assessment and Treatment Service and some practical consideratons:

Group mindfulness-based therapy

12 sessions of group therapy to explore and challenge the patient’s beliefs about themselves and the voices they hear, using cognitive behaviour therapy with a mindfulness-based approach. 

Individual relating therapy

Eight sessions of individual therapy that teach the skills of assertiveness and how to stand up for oneself within difficult relationships, both with voices and other people.

Guided Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for voices

Four to eight sessions of individual therapy that helps patients to re-evaluate the beliefs they have about themselves and their voices. This therapy is linked to the self-help book using CBT techniques, 'Overcoming Distressing Voices' (Mark Hayward, Clara Strauss and David Kingdon).

Who works in the clinic? 

The clinic is was established by Mark Hayward  – an experienced therapist who works in the Research and Development Department at Sussex Partnership. Mark supervises the delivery of therapy, which is provided by therapists who work in the Assessment and Treatment Services. 

Dr Mark Hayward

I qualified as a Clinical Psychologist in 2001 and have practiced clinically within NHS services for people with severe and enduring mental health problems over the past 20 years. My current interest in education and research has two outlets: teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of Sussex where I am an Honorary Senior Lecturer; and developing the strategy for research and development within Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust where I am the Director of Research.  

My research activities have focussed primarily on the exploration of voice hearing within relational frameworks – acknowledging the voice as an interpersonal ‘other’ and researching differing aspects of the relationships that people develop with their voices. These relationships are currently the subject of therapeutic scrutiny as new forms of individual and group therapy seek to facilitate acceptance of self and voices through the use of assertiveness and mindfulness training.