RESOURCES

Explore a range of AVATAR-related resources and useful links below.

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PUBLICATIONS

 

STUDY PROTOCOL
 
Garety, P., Edwards, C.J., Ward, T. et al. (2021) 

Optimising AVATAR therapy for people who hear distressing voices: study protocol for the AVATAR2 multi-centre randomised controlled trial 

Trials 22, 366

Craig, T. K., Rus-Calafell, M., Ward, T., Leff, J. P., Huckvale, M., Howarth, E., ... & Garety, P. A. (2018)
 
AVATAR therapy for auditory verbal hallucinations in people with psychosis: a single-blind, randomised controlled trial 
 
The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(1), 31-40

Ward, T., Rus-Calafell, M., Ramadhan, Z., Soumelidou, O., Fornells-Ambrojo, M., Garety, P., & Craig, T. K. (2020)
 
AVATAR therapy for distressing voices: A comprehensive account of therapeutic targets
 
Schizophrenia Bulletin, 46(5), 1038–1044

Rus-Calafell, M., Ward, T., Zhang, X. C., Edwards, C. J., Garety, P., & Craig, T. (2020).
 
The role of sense of voice presence and anxiety reduction in AVATAR therapy. 
 
Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(9), 2748

 

O’Brien, C., Rus‐Calafell, M., Craig, T. K., Garety, P., Ward, T., Lister, R., & Fornells‐Ambrojo, M. (2021)

Relating behaviours and therapeutic actions during AVATAR therapy dialogue: An observational study
 
British Journal of Clinical Psychology

 
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PRESENTATIONS & CONFERENCES

AVATAR2 Launch Event

Our Launch Event on 11th January 2021 was a huge success. If you missed it, you can watch the full recording here in which Professor Philippa Garety, Professor Tom Craig and the trial team introduce the AVATAR2 trial and provide software demonstrations and Q&A.

 
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USEFUL LINKS

What is hearing voices?

This three minute animation explores what it’s like to hear voices, how common they are, and the different ways in which people interpret and find meaning in voice-hearing experiences.

 

Produced by Hearing the Voice, Durham University

Coping with voices: Being with people

Hearing voices can come in many forms – some voices are friendly, helpful, insightful and inspiring whilst others are scary, critical or commanding. This animation, produced by the University of Oxford and the McPin Hearing Voices Lived Experience Advisory Panel, shares the stories of people who hear one type of voices: those which threaten them or criticise them. Our hope is that this animation inspires more conversations about voices, because nobody should be hearing nasty voices alone.

Understanding Voices

This invaluable website contains over 100 pages of information on different ways of understanding voices and supporting those who are struggling to cope with their experiences.

The voices in my head

To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn't know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.

Voices in the dark: An audio story

What’s it like to hear voices? Are they hallucinations or a normal human experience? Chris Chapman explores what they are, why they happen and how they are being understood. Produced by Mosaic - the Wellcome Trust’s online science magazine, the podcast features interviews with researchers from Hearing the Voice researchers at Durham University as well as some familiar faces from our own Avatar research.

 
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JULIAN LEFF

Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, KCL

Inventor of AVATAR therapy

Berman, P. (2018)


Julian Leff: Changing the face of schizophrenia treatment

The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(4), 302

 

Sitting at home in Hampstead, north London, Julian Leff had an idea that would change treatment for schizophrenia. Leff had been reading the report of a survey about symptoms of schizophrenia, which found that the aspect of auditory hallucinations patients found most distressing was the feelings of helplessness. “I thought, that's not surprising, because the voices are invisible. So I wondered, what if we could give them a face?” He approached researchers in information technology and virtual reality at his former college, University College London (UCL), and using police identikit technology and voice modification software, together they worked with patients to create avatars for the voices they heard. Then—with Leff behind the screen, talking both in his own voice as therapist, and as the avatar—he began a dialogue with the patients. Leff remembers the first man he tried it with came to his next appointment saying the voice had disappeared. “‘It's as though she's left the room.’ And it gave me quite an eerie feeling that it had worked. I was learning on the job, but this surpassed my wildest dreams.”

Read more about Professor Leff: