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Schizophr Bull. 2014 Jul;40 Suppl 4:S202-12. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbu037.

Psychological therapies for auditory hallucinations (voices): current status and key directions for future research.

Author information

Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia; Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, The Alfred, Melbourne, Australia;
School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK; Research & Development Department, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Brighton, UK;
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, Department of Psychology, London, UK; National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), London, UK; Psychological Interventions Clinic for Outpatients With Psychosis (PICuP), SLaM, London, UK;
VU University and EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Parnassia Psychiatric Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands;
School of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK;
Jenner Consult, AUDITO, Groningen, The Netherlands;
Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands;
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, Department of Psychology, London, UK; Psychological Interventions Clinic for Outpatients With Psychosis (PICuP), SLaM, London, UK;
School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK;
Department of Psychology, University of Almería, Almería, Spain;
School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia; Clinical Research Centre, North Metro Health Service Mental Health, Perth, Australia;
Early Intervention in Psychosis, Greenacre Centre, Ashington, UK;
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and Its Disorders, Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; Department of Psychology, Durham University, Durham, UK.


This report from the International Consortium on Hallucinations Research considers the current status and future directions in research on psychological therapies targeting auditory hallucinations (hearing voices). Therapy approaches have evolved from behavioral and coping-focused interventions, through formulation-driven interventions using methods from cognitive therapy, to a number of contemporary developments. Recent developments include the application of acceptance- and mindfulness-based approaches, and consolidation of methods for working with connections between voices and views of self, others, relationships and personal history. In this article, we discuss the development of therapies for voices and review the empirical findings. This review shows that psychological therapies are broadly effective for people with positive symptoms, but that more research is required to understand the specific application of therapies to voices. Six key research directions are identified: (1) moving beyond the focus on overall efficacy to understand specific therapeutic processes targeting voices, (2) better targeting psychological processes associated with voices such as trauma, cognitive mechanisms, and personal recovery, (3) more focused measurement of the intended outcomes of therapy, (4) understanding individual differences among voice hearers, (5) extending beyond a focus on voices and schizophrenia into other populations and sensory modalities, and (6) shaping interventions for service implementation.


auditory hallucinations; cognitive behavioral therapy; psychological therapy; psychosis; psychosocial intervention

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