Eleanor Longden overcame her diagnosis of schizophrenia to earn a master’s in psychology and demonstrate that the voices in her head were “a sane reaction to insane circumstances.”

Why you should listen

Despite what traditional medicine may opine, Eleanor Longden isn’t crazy -- and neither are many other people who hear voices in their heads. In fact, the psychic phenomenon is a “creative and ingenious survival strategy” that should be seen “not as an abstract symptom of illness to be endured, but as complex, significant, and meaningful experience to be explored,” the British psychology researcher says.
 
Longden spent many years in the psychiatric system before earning a BSc and an MSc in psychology, the highest classifications ever granted by the University of Leeds, England. Today she is studying for her PhD, and lectures and writes about recovery-oriented approaches to psychosis, dissociation and complex trauma.

What others say

“A consultant psychiatrist ... encouraged her to listen to her voices and try to understand what they meant.” — Nina Lakhani, The Independent UK, October 25, 2009

Eleanor Longden’s TED talks

Eleanor Longden on the TED Blog
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Health

Treating the diagnosis rather than the individual: A look at the increase in recognized disorders and prescriptions

August 8, 2013

By Grace Rubenstein Eleanor Longden’s new TED Book, Learning from the Voices in My Head, charts her harrowing journey from terrified young woman trembling in a psychiatric ward to a stable, successful doctoral candidate who has learned to live peacefully with her inner voices, medication-free. She recounts how her mind shattered into pieces and how […]

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Health

Eleanor Longden’s selections for further reading on voice hearing

August 8, 2013

Eleanor Longden’s riveting story — featured in today’s talk and more in depth in the new TED Book, Learning from the Voices in My Head — raises many provocative questions. Longden talks about her recovery after a diagnosis of schizophrenia, in the process calling into question the attitudes of traditional psychiatry, the role of drug manufacturers and […]

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