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What do we mean when we say ‘hearing voices’?


Hearing voices is a term used to describe the experience of hearing someone or something talking when the source of the voice is not directly present. Some people also hear other noises and sounds.


There are a number of different terms used to describe this experience, including 'voice-hearing' or 'auditory hallucinations'.

Hearing voices is more common than people realise. About 10% of people report that they have heard voices at some time in their life. However, for some people these are persistent experiences and can be very distressing. 

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One-to-one psychological therapies are used to help people who have persisting and distressing experiences of hearing voices. There are different types of psychological therapy.


Avatar therapy is a new type of therapy for hearing voices that is not yet available in routine practice.


In previous research, people who have received avatar therapy reported high rates of satisfaction with this therapy, and they were less troubled by hearing voices after receiving it.


However, it is not yet known how avatar therapy compares with the current standard therapy for hearing voices.


The AMETHYST study will directly compare avatar therapy with standard therapy to find out whether it is more effective.


We will also measure other important differences between avatar therapy and standard therapy such as satisfaction, how easy it is to do, adverse effects, impacts on other symptoms, costs of delivery, and how it works.

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