Virtual Reality Avatar Therapy for People Hearing Voices

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Psychiatric University Hospital, Zurich
Updated on 24 September 2021
psychotropic drugs
group therapy
hearing voices


Hearing voices is probably the worst form of acoustic hallucinations; which can be experienced as severely disturbing and is influenced by diverse factors including the ability of the individual to influence and control the hallucinatory experience itself. In recent years virtual reality has become a treatment option. In the so-called AVATAR Therapy, patients with schizophrenia and acoustic hallucinations design a visual and auditory recreation (avatar) of the entity to which they attribute their hallucinations. Working with a therapist over the course of several sessions, participants change the avatar from controlling to benevolent. Avatar Therapy involves similar processes to learning and cognitive restructuring, comparable to other psychotherapeutic interventions. The investigators plan to conduct an interventional study using a cross-over design, to compare the feasibility and efficacy of virtual reality avatar therapy for patients with acoustic hallucinations (independent of psychiatric diagnosis) with a cognitive behavioural group therapy aimed to improve social competence.

Condition Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorders, Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorders (Pediatric), Hearing Voices When No One is Talking (Symptom), Hearing Voices When No One is Talking (Symptom), Hearing Voices When No One is Talking (Symptom), schizophrenia disorders, schizoaffective disorder, psychotic disorders, psychotic, psychotic disorder, Hearing Voices When No One is Talking (Symptom), Hearing Voices When No One is Talking (Symptom), Hearing Voices When No One is Talking (Symptom), Hearing Voices When No One is Talking (Symptom), Hearing Voices When No One is Talking (Symptom)
Treatment Assertiveness Training Program (ATP), Virtual Reality Avatar Therapy (VRAT)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04099940
SponsorPsychiatric University Hospital, Zurich
Last Modified on24 September 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Consistent acoustic hallucinations, with the presence of voices for at least two months
Participants are competent to give informed consent, as determined by the referring physician or psychiatrist
German language proficiency as a native speaker or level B1 Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL)

Exclusion Criteria

Current neurological disorder
Current substance use or withdrawal
Concomitant group psychotherapeutic intervention
Clear my responses

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