One in four patients with schizophrenia responds poorly to antipsychotic medication, continuing to hear persecutory auditory hallucinations, but a promising new therapy technique shows encouraging results.

Two key points from the article, which appears in MD Magazine:

  • “AVATAR, an acronym for Audio Visual Assisted Therapy Aid for Refractory auditory hallucinations…allowed patients to create an avatar, or visual representation of the source of their perceived auditory hallucinations, known as the “persecutor,” whose speech closely matched the pitch and tone of the persecutory voice in their heads. Patients were then encouraged to engage in a dialogue with the avatar, who was controlled by a therapist. Instead of propagating a relationship where the persecutory voice dominates a submissive patient, the therapist could control the avatar so it would slowly yield control to the patient as time passed.”
  • “The results are especially encouraging because the trial involved a sample of people suffering from persistent psychoses who reported unremitting and distressing auditory hallucinations for at least the previous year, despite regular supervision and continuing pharmacological treatment. Moreover, more than a third of all patients across both therapy groups had a clinical record of treatment resistance and were prescribed clozapine before the start of the study.”

Read the full article, AVATAR Therapy for Auditory Hallucinations: If You Can’t Beat the Voices, Join Them, Here