Avatar Therapy Helps Schizophrenia Sufferers Silence Their Demons

This is pretty fascinating and yet so simple conceptually. An innovative idea that’s simple to institute and shows promising results… you can’t ask for much more.

NewsFeed

For years therapists have used computer simulations to create a safe, virtual space where people can confront their real-world phobias of everything from planes to spiders. Now the treatment is being adapted for schizophrenia patients to help them talk back to the frightening voices inside their heads. “The idea was that if we give the invisible entity a human face then it can be much easier for the patient to converse with it,” Julian Leff, the University College London psychiatrist who developed the treatment, told the BBC.

Here’s how it works: The therapist presents a patient with a computer-generated avatar that represents a particularly distressing voice. The patient then customizes the avatar’s face, hair and pitch of its voice. Next the doctor, who is seated in a separate room, brings the avatar to life onscreen by saying frightening things through a voice-altering technology that emulates the pitch selected by…

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