Avatar Therapy Helping Those With Schizophrenia

Pilot Project Gives Form To Voices Heard By Patients

A new type of treatment for schizophrenia patients is a case of “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” It’s called Avatar Therapy, and those tormented by voices in their heads are asked to create a computer generated representation of the voice, then interact with it in real life. While those with schizophrenia usually hear domineering, derogatory, hostile voices, therapists can control the avatar over time, making it more docile. For some patients, the voices have stopped entirely. The study was conducted by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research, while the Avatar pilot project began testing in 2009.