Loughborough University
AVATAR for repository_140723.pdf (1.52 MB)

Hypothetical active voicing in AVATAR therapy

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-03, 13:16 authored by Felicity Deamer, Emma RichardsonEmma Richardson, Thomas Ward, Philippa Garety, Tom KJ Craig, Mar Rus-Calafell, Clementine Edwards

This paper explores AVATAR therapy, an innovative therapeutic intervention for people experiencing auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) where participants interact with their ‘voice’ in the form of a co-designed visual representation of their voice. Previous research has found AVATAR therapy to be successful in its aim to initiate change in the participant’s relationship to and experience of their voice, but no study has explored the interactional practices employed as they unfold in this complex multi-party interaction between therapist, participant and avatar voiced by the therapist. We build on previous research and question what it is about this innovative, interactional technique that might be contributing to the efficacy of this therapy? Using Conversation Analysis, we examine the therapist’s use of “Hypothetical Active Voicing” (HAV), where the therapist formulates a proposed turn at talk in their interaction with the participant for the participant to reformulate in their next turn with the avatar. We show how, unlike in traditional dyadic therapeutic settings, participants are immediately able to enact the therapist suggested dialogue. We find that as the therapist increases their assertiveness, control, and precision in the delivery of HAV, so does the participant increase their assertiveness towards the avatar, thus contributing to the aims of the therapy. 


Wellcome Trust (FWBCAVATAR 098272/z/12/z)

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London



  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • Communication and Media

Published in

Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice


Equinox Publishing


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice and the definitive published version is available at [insert DOI link].

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  • en


Dr Emma Richardson. Deposit date: 2 August 2023

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