Avatar Therapy

Avatar Therapy is a new approach to the treatment of certain mental health conditions, particularly auditory hallucinations (hearing voices). The therapy was invented by Prof. Julian Leff to improve the lives of schizophrenic patients suffering from persecutory voice hallucinations despite the best available drug treatment. In Avatar Therapy, computer avatars are designed by patients to give a face to the voices they hear; these avatars then interact with the patient in a simulation of their persecutory voice. Under direction from therapists, patients are encouraged to challenge the voice and allow it to come gradually under the patient's control.

Current state of Avatar Therapy

For detailed information about the science of Avatar Therapy please refer to our Publications List.

The first randomised clinical trial of Avatar Therapy was run by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London funded by the Wellcome Trust. This trial involved 150 patients with persecutory voices divided between two therapy approaches. The results of this trial were published in the The Lancet Psychiatry. A summary of the outcomes of the study can be found in this UCL Press Release. A short video about the Avatar Therapy trial can be seen in this BBC News report.

A new clinical trial of Avatar Therapy is now underway involving King's College London, University College London, University of Manchester and University of Glasgow. This trial began recruiting patients early in 2021.

Avatar2 trial web site

This new trial will use the UCL Avatar Therapy software system. This is software that facilitates the provision of Avatar Therapy by managing the process of avatar enrolment and the running of therapy sessions. This software will become available at the end of the trial as a CE-marked Class 1 medical device approved for clinical use. More details of the system ....

Training courses for clinicians wishing to use Avatar Therapy with patients are currently under development.

Who to contact for more information

  • If you are interested in taking part in the new clinical trial of avatar therapy, please contact the Avatar2 trial team at avatar@kcl.ac.uk.
  • If you are interested in how the Avatar Therapy software system works or what hardware would be required to run the system once it is made available, please contact Prof. Mark Huckvale at the Department of Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, University College London: m.huckvale@ucl.ac.uk
  • For other enquiries please contact enquiries@avatartherapy.co.uk

© 2021 Avatar Therapy Ltd. Last modified 15:13 26-Aug-2021. by Mark Huckvale