Doctors can personify the voices heard by people with schizophrenia. Instead of tormenting patients, the avatars get nicer over time, and in some cases totally relieve auditory hallucinations.
Schizophrenia: a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that others do not hear, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation. About 65% of patients with schizophrenia experience verbal auditory hallucinations, typically in the form of voices that emanate from perceived “others,” who tend to fit the same unsavory profile – they're domineering, derogatory and unremittingly hostile. (source) They tell them to do violent things, they cause them to lose control. But in a test in 2009-2011, there was a breakthrough in dealing with these violent voices. Giving the voices a face. The therapy allowed patients to create an avatar, or visual representation of the source of their perceived auditory hallucinations, known as the “persecutor,” whose speech closely matched the pitch and tone of the persecutory voice in their heads. Patients were then encouraged to engage in a dialogue with the avatar, who was controlled by a therapist. The results of the therapy were astounding, with some patients finding their hallucinations completely vanishing. Of course, there were some that did not have any change, but with the second round of testing an even higher percentage of patients found that their hallucinations lessened. According to the study’s lead author Tom K J Craig, PhD, FRCP, emeritus professor of social psychiatry at King’s College London, “The operation of power within this relationship is viewed as crucial…the voice-hearer assum[es] a submissive role characterized by feelings of inferiority and powerlessness that can reflect social relationships more generally,” researchers wrote. “The therapist (switching between speaking as therapist and as avatar) facilitates a dialogue in which the voice-hearer gradually gains increased power and control within the relationship, with the initially omnipotent voice loosening its grip over the hearer by becoming more conciliatory over time." Basically, they made the avatar be nicer overtime and gave the patient the feeling of having control over it. For the full article: here