Sussex Psychosis Research interest Group (SPRiG)

Mindfulness for Voices (M4V)

The Mindfulness for Voices (M4V) study, run within the Research & Development Department at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has begun recruiting service users to the study.

M4V, a National Institute of Health Research study which is worth £183,000, aims to investigate the effectiveness of a psychological intervention that uses mindfulness meditation within group based therapy to help people diagnosed with schizophrenia who hear voices. It is estimated that between 4 to 5 percent of people experience some form of hallucination each year, most commonly hearing voices. People diagnosed with schizophrenia often experience voice hearing, and although for some hearing voices is comforting, for other it is often associated with high levels of distress, low self-esteem and social isolation.

Mindfulness mediation has been adapted by Professor Paul Chadwick’s (Chief Investigator) research team for people who hear voices and focuses on helping people to learn new ways of managing and living with their voices. The intervention incorporates elements of CBT but emphasises the principles and practices of mindfulness meditation. This study is the second phase of a three phase evaluation. In an uncontrolled pre-post study, mindfulness-based therapy (MBT) groups were found to be beneficial as voice hearers reported lessening distress, improved personal control and improved psychological health.

Research Assistants will be recruiting 144 service users (diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder) distressed by hearing voices from Sussex and Hampshire into a randomised controlled trial. Half of the service users from each county will receive mindfulness-based therapy (MBT) offered in a group format over a 12-session period (each group will contain a maximum of 12 service users). The other half will receive the treatment they usually receive from their mental health teams. Service user defined goals for recovery as well as measures of psychological health, distress and personal control will be assessed at baseline, post-group and six month follow-up for all participants.

If mindfulness therapy is effective, then support will be offered to mental health teams to provide group therapy to people. By offering training in the mindfulness for voices approach, the study aims to facilitate local services with setting up and running mindfulness for voices groups. 

For more information on the study please contact:

Leanne Bogen-Johnston (Research Assistant for Sussex) on 07795343127 or email: