Q. I met a man recently who seems totally OK except for one thing. He hears a voice that tells him what to do. It seems like most of the time it is telling him to do what is right in business, or at least it seems to him to be the right thing once the voice has mentioned it to him. He makes it sound like his conscience, but he admits that most of what the voice says is something he hadn’t about until the voice tells him. He says he consulted with a therapist, who told him it was “mild dissociative disorder” and he doesn’t need therapy or pills as long as what the voice says is reasonable.
Does this make sense? I am interested in him but I don’t want to get too involved with somebody who has serious issues.
I should add that acting on what this voice told him recently turned him into a whistleblower at work, and he may be in danger of losing his job over it.
A. It is difficult to know what the voice is that he is referring to but what the therapist said about it may be a good indicator. The therapist said that he has a “mild dissociative disorder.” Having a mild case of dissociative disorder is not “exactly” a good diagnosis. Getting diagnosed with a mild case is better than a severe case of dissociative disorder but it would have been better had the therapist said that there were no signs of a mental illness.
If he decides not to enter treatment, you should proceed into this relationship with caution.
Should he decide to enter counseling as a way to have an objective monitor of the voice (which I would highly recommend), there is a chance the relationship could work but without therapy, his condition could worsen, to the point where he has a “severe dissociative disorder.” If his condition should worsen, it would be difficult for him to engage in a healthy relationship until the voice was under control or eliminated. I hope this helps.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Nov 2008
Randle, K. (2008). Voice of Conscience?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/11/03/voice-of-conscience/