Could avatars help people who hear voices?

Use of an avatar could help treat patients who hear voices, a UK study suggests.

Hearing voices is one of the most well-known symptoms of schizophrenia. One in four patients with schizophrenia find their symptoms do not respond to medication.

Psychiatrist Professor Julian Leff has come up with a new way to help patients cope with tormenting voices: creating computer-generated avatars to put a face to the voice. The patient then confronts the avatar in specially designed therapy sessions.

Health Check's Dr Ayan Panja went to see the system in action.