Use of an avatar can help treat patients with schizophrenia who hear voices, a UK study suggests.
The trial, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, focused on patients who had not responded to medication. Using customised computer software, the patients created avatars to match the voices they had been hearing. After up to six therapy sessions most patients said their voice had improved. Three said it had stopped entirely.
The study was led by psychiatrist emeritus professor Julian Leff, who spoke to patients through their on-screen avatars in therapy sessions. Gradually he coached patients to stand up to their voices.