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.
Thomas, N., Hayward, M., Peters, E., Van Der Gaag, M., Bentall, R. P., Jenner, J., … McCarthy-Jones, S. (2014). Psychological therapies for auditory hallucinations (voices): Current status and key directions for future research. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40(SUPPL. 4). https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbu037