TagThe Lancet Psychiatry

Reading of the Week: Is AVATAR Therapy a Breakthrough for Those Who Hear Voices? The New Lancet Psychiatry Paper

From the Editor

“The voices won’t leave me alone.”

A patient made this comment to me recently. And it’s an experience many patients have had. Despite medications and follow up, the voices continue to be problematic.

This week, we look at a new paper from The Lancet Psychiatry which considers a novel approach: AVATAR therapy.

In this study, patients who experienced auditory hallucinations created a computerized simulation (avatar) of the voice they most wanted to influence, including what the voice said, how it sounded, and how the “entity” with the voice looked like. Patients, working with a therapist who controlled the avatar, then had therapy sessions in which they could talk to it. Patients were compared on several measures to those who only received supportive therapy.

The paper has received significant media attention including CNN and BBC.

1124avatar2The Face of the Voice – and a Step Toward Healing?

Spoiler alert: the therapy helped – at least initially – but the results are complicated. (And, no, this isn’t “fake news,” to borrow a phrase from an American politician.)

In this Reading, we consider the paper and its findings.

DG

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Reading of the Week: Better Sleep, Less Psychosis? The Freeman et al. Study on Sleep & CBT

From the Editor

If students sleep better, are they less likely to have mental health problems like paranoia?

In this week’s Reading, we look at a new study from The Lancet Psychiatry. In this single-blind, randomized controlled trial, Oxford professor Daniel Freeman et al. consider students from 26 universities with insomnia, assigning them CBT (offered over the internet) or the usual care.

Spoiler alert: the students with CBT did better.

Sleep: good for babies, teddy bears, and students

In this Reading, we review that paper and consider the broader implications.

DG

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Reading of the Week: I Can’t Sleep – Insomnia, Part II of II

From the Editor

It’s one of the most common patient complaints: I can’t sleep.

What many of our patients aspire to…

Insomnia affects 6 to 10% of the population. It’s a common problem – and often chronic. But are we mishandling insomnia?

In a two-part, two-week series, we look at the latest in insomnia research.

Last week. Fewer Pills, More Therapy. The new Clinical Practice Guidelines.

This week. Insomnia, Is There an App for That? The GoodNight Study.

This week, turning to a new paper from The Lancet Psychiatry, we consider an online insomnia program to prevent depression relapse.

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Reading of the Week: David Cameron’s “Life Chances” Speech, And More

From the Editor

As stigma fades, as mental health problems are recognized and discussed, we have an opportunity to re-think old approaches.

This week, the Readings touch on two large issues: how to handle mental illness in our society, and what to do about addiction and the law. The first comes from a recent speech by the Prime Minister of Britain; the second, from an editorial in The Lancet Psychiatry.

 

Readings have drawn from many sources over these past few years – journals, books, and newspapers. This is the first time we’ve looked to 10 Downing Street for material. But perhaps it wouldn’t be the last time. More and more, people discuss these issues with thoughtful comments; the political class can be counted among them. #Progress

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