Psychological therapies for auditory hallucinations (voices)

Current status and key directions for future research

Neil Thomas*, Mark Hayward, Emmanuelle Peters, Mark Van Der Gaag, Richard P. Bentall, Jack Jenner, Clara Strauss, Iris E. Sommer, Louise C. Johns, Filippo Varese, José Manuel García-Montes, Flavie Waters, Guy Dodgson, Simon McCarthy-Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    104 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This report from the International Consortium on Hallucinations Research considers the current status and future directions in research on psychological therapies targeting auditory hallucinations (hearing voices). Therapy approaches have evolved from behavioral and coping-focused interventions, through formulation-driven interventions using methods from cognitive therapy, to a number of contemporary developments. Recent developments include the application of acceptance- and mindfulness-based approaches, and consolidation of methods for working with connections between voices and views of self, others, relationships and personal history. In this article, we discuss the development of therapies for voices and review the empirical findings. This review shows that psychological therapies are broadly effective for people with positive symptoms, but that more research is required to understand the specific application of therapies to voices. Six key research directions are identified: (1) moving beyond the focus on overall efficacy to understand specific therapeutic processes targeting voices, (2) better targeting psychological processes associated with voices such as trauma, cognitive mechanisms, and personal recovery, (3) more focused measurement of the intended outcomes of therapy, (4) understanding individual differences among voice hearers, (5) extending beyond a focus on voices and schizophrenia into other populations and sensory modalities, and (6) shaping interventions for service implementation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S202–S212
    Number of pages11
    JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
    Volume40
    Issue numberSUPPL. 4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

    Keywords

    • auditory hallucinations
    • cognitive behavioral therapy
    • psychological therapy
    • psychosis
    • psychosocial intervention

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