Patients who hear voices benefit from talking to an Avatar

The therapy involves a computerised representation of the voice that gives patients more control over it, say UK researchers

AVATAR therapy, a new type of digital-based relational treatment, can help patients control distressing voices, according to a new review.

A recent UK trial shows the therapy, which allows "face-to-face" dialogue between the patient and a computerised representation of their voice, provides rapid and substantial reductions in voice frequency and distress, compared with an active control.

"The important thing about AVATAR therapy is that it offers an effective new approach to working with distressing voices (aka auditory hallucinations)," says researcher Dr Thomas Ward of King's College London.

"It involves innovative use of digital technology to allow 'face-to-face' dialogue between the voice-hearer and a computerised representation of their voice (the avatar), with a therapeutic focus on increasing power and control over the voice."

Dr Ward and