Friday Night Flicks: The Doctor Who Hears Voices

In the interests of privacy, this film has an actress (Ruth Wilson) playing “Ruth,” who seeks help when she starts hearing voices telling her to kill herself — but that’s the real Dr. Rufus May, and he says Ruth’s story is based entirely on fact.

May is a National Health Service therapist in the U.K.  However, he is seeing Ruth outside his NHS practice because, as a junior doctor (similar to a medical resident in the U.S.), she does not want the hospital where she works to learn she’s not just depressed, as she told them; she is hearing voices.  Ruth says if they found that out, she would be “sacked and sectioned” — fired, and detained under the Mental Health Act.

May uses voice dialogue, a type of therapy that validates the experience of voice-hearing, as he works with Ruth.  A number of voice-hearers say they are helped by this approach, but there are psychiatrists who say the practice encourages delusions.  That’s just one controversial aspect of the film — and May’s practice, and May himself.

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