The Promise Of Avatar Therapy For Mental Illness

avatar brain illustrationAuditory hallucinations are something that affect a wide range of people. They are a form of hallucinations that occur when a person hears sounds, although no auditory object is present. Typically these sounds include human voices, or other talking voices. The condition has three categories of talking voices: a person narrating his/her own actions, a person hearing another voice speak one’s own thoughts, or hearing one or more voices arguing.

These hallucinations can be a part of serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorders. People who suffer from these hallucinations, still battle with their disease despite the use of antipsychotic medication. Daily interactions are greatly impaired, ranging from their ability to work and form relationships. A contemporary therapy has been created to treat this disease, avatar therapy.

Avatar therapy is heavily based on computer technology that allows patients to create a human, or non-human avatar, that they believe is talking to them. Here, the first step is choosing the face and voice that the avatar will have, it is important that the patient can visualize who they believe is talking to them. In actuality, the avatar that the patient believes is speaking, is the therapist using the voice and tone of the avatar the patient has created. This realism is a key aspect of the therapy.

Through this therapy, it is believed that the patient will be able to gain control of their avatars through guided discussion from their therapists. The overall goal of this therapy is to facilitate dialogue between the patient and the avatar, specifically encouraging the patient to oppose its avatar. This way, the patient learns to stand up to their avatar and gain its control, according to a Semantic Scholar article.

People dealing with psychotic disorders often have…