Wise words from the West Wing


I was re-watching the second season of the TV series The West Wing today. One of the episodes (#10, Noël) included a scene which, although speaking to a range of experiences, seemed particularly applicable to voice-hearing.

One of the characters, Josh, is struggling with some experiences resulting from having been shot, and has just come out of his first session with a trauma therapist.

He had been referred there by his friend and boss, Leo, who as a veteran and the White House Chief of Staff, is no stranger to trauma himself.

Unbeknownst to Josh, Leo has been waiting for him after his session. After a few typically smart-mouth comments, Josh discloses to Leo that his recent hand injury wasn’t due to having accidentally smashing a glass, as he had been claiming, but due to having punching his hand through a window. In response Leo tells the following story, which you can watch here (preferable) or read below:

“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out.

A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on

Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’

The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.'”

As applied to voice-hearing, I think the story speaks for itself.


(I should clarify though that I am not using this story to dismiss the very helpful role played by some psychiatrists and religious figures in voice-hearers’ recoveries).


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