Preliminary study of a rehabilitation program based on attentional processes to treat auditory hallucinations

Cogn Neuropsychiatry. 2016 Jul;21(4):315-334. doi: 10.1080/13546805.2016.1208610. Epub 2016 Jul 18.


Introduction: Despite the effectiveness of pharmacological treatment, residual hallucinations do not completely resolve in some medicated patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of attention training for reducing hallucinations in individuals with psychosis.

Methods: A randomised controlled trial was performed in which 20 individuals suffering auditory hallucinations received auditory stimulation similar to their internal voices, which was integrated into the RehaCom program of attention training. An equal number of individuals suffering auditory hallucinations did not receive this training. Cognitive and symptomatological variables were evaluated before and after the intervention period in both groups.

Results: Only data of 16 subjects were analysed. Auditory hallucinations no longer occurred by the end of the training program in five of eight individuals, whereas their frequency, intensity and negative content and associated anxiety were significantly reduced in the remaining three. No changes in hallucinations were observed in the control group. Attentional processes and executive functions were significantly better in patients who underwent the training than in those who did not at the end of the intervention period.

Conclusions: Attention training can help people with auditory hallucinations develop an ability to ignore them, which can reduce or eliminate them entirely.

Keywords: RehaCom; Training attention; auditory hallucinations; cognitive rehabilitation; psychosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / psychology
  • Hallucinations / rehabilitation*
  • Hearing Disorders / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotic Disorders / complications*
  • Psychotic Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Young Adult