FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Has anything changed due to Covid-19?
We have received ethical approval to conduct all our research meetings and therapy sessions through phone or video calls if it is not possible to meet safely in person.
Can I be trained as a therapist in AVATAR therapy?
In addition to the 4 main AVATAR2 trial sites, we will be training a number of NHS clinicians to deliver AVATAR therapy across other sites. The trial will help us to understand how to disseminate the AVATAR approach more widely in the future including training more therapists. However, at this stage we are not able to train therapists outside of the trial. For information about the AVATAR software please visit http://www.avatartherapy.co.uk.
Can I access AVATAR therapy if I am based outside the UK?
A key aim of the AVATAR2 trial is to facilitate wider dissemination in the future, if it is shown to be effective, so that AVATAR therapy can be made available to those who could benefit. However, at this stage in its development we unfortunately cannot offer AVATAR therapy outside of the trial, which is taking place in England and Scotland.
Can AVATAR Therapy have any negative side-effects?
AVATAR2 builds on an earlier trial involving 150 people, in which AVATAR therapy resulted in significant improvements in voice frequency, severity and distress at the end of therapy when compared to Supportive Counselling. However, this cannot be guaranteed. There was no evidence of any serious adverse event being related to either therapy. Early sessions can involve some anxiety as the avatar is faced for the first time. However, the person is supported by the therapist throughout the process as they build power, control and self-confidence in dealing with the avatar.
Can I receive therapy later if I am in the Treatment as Usual (TAU) group?
Yes, widening access to AVATAR therapy is a key aim of the AVATAR2 trial and we will offer AVATAR therapy to everyone in the TAU group once their involvement in the research has finished.
Who can take part?
If you are aged over 18 and have experienced a distressing voice (or voices) for longer than 6 months, then you may be eligible to take part. If you are under the care of one of our NHS partners, then please contact your team to be referred. If you live outside these areas, then please contact us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are happy to accept self-referrals to the study from people who are receiving care from a specialist mental health team. Please note that your team will need to support your participation in the study.
Will I receive any payment for taking part?
We are offering a financial reward for taking part in the research meetings at the three time-points, to say thank-you for your time. We do not offer a financial reward for attending therapy sessions. We will cover travel expenses for attending all AVATAR2 meetings, both research and therapy.