Category: Honorary Lifetime Member

Marius Romme

Marius Romme

(Biography written at time of nomination)

Together with Sandra Escher, his wife, Marius Romme is one of the most important founders of the hearing voices movement and one of the first psychiatrist who broke down the schizophrenia concept.

Marius was a professor of community psychiatry and Sandra was a researcher and journalist. In 1985 one of his patients Patsy Hage, who suffered from hearing voices and looked for a way to handle them, gave him a wakeup call. He realized that hearing voices was not just a symptom of schizophrenia but a real experience. He couldn’t answer her questions, psychiatry had no answers. Sandra Escher proposed that she should tell her story on a popular television program.

During the TV program Marius invited people to react. His call was meant for all people, not just the ones receiving psychiatric care. 700 people reacted. Many people had no psychiatric complaints at all and had given the voices a place in their lives. And so the hearing voices movement was born.

Sandra conducted research with young children who heard voices, 60 % got rid of their voices. Much of voice hearing seemed to be connected to dramatic, traumatic life events, which was an unique finding at the time. For additional information watch (click on settings to select English subtitles).

He said: “Only living fish swim against the stream’’, that was characteristic of the Marius’ style. He always talked very directly and to the point, which did not make him popular in mainstream psychiatry. He was not afraid to criticize our Rotterdam 2019 ISPS conference which did not spend enough time on therapy for voice hearing, in his opinion. I visited him at home and explained to him that I also am a person who is “swimming against the stream” and that this conference is about new paradigms.

I was very glad that he visited our 2019 ISPS conference and think that he truly deserves the term Honorary Member of ISPS.
Margreet de Pater

Further information:

A Lancet article:
Sandra Escher research:
The Maastricht approach on hearing voices: