Relating Therapy for distressing auditory hallucinations: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Schizophr Res. 2017 May:183:137-142. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2016.11.019. Epub 2017 Mar 9.


Auditory hallucinations (AH) are a common and distressing experience and patients report distress reduction to be a priority. Relating Therapy adopts a symptom-specific and mechanism focused approach to the reduction of AH distress. We conducted this single-blind, pragmatic, parallel groups, superiority pilot RCT within a single mental health centre in the UK. Patients (18+years) with persistent and distressing AH, irrespective of diagnosis were randomly allocated to receive either Relating Therapy and Treatment-as-usual (RT) or Treatment as-usual alone (TAU). Assessment of outcome was completed pre-randomisation (T0), 16weeks post-randomisation (T1) and 36weeks post-randomisation (T2). The primary outcome was the 5-item Distress scale of the Psychotic Symptoms Rating Scale - Auditory Hallucinations (PSYRATS-AHRS) at T1. We randomly assigned 29 patients to receive RT (n=14) or TAU (n=15). Twenty-five patients (86%) provided complete datasets. Compared with TAU, RT led to reductions in AH distress in the large effect size range across T1 and T2. Our findings suggest that Relating Therapy might be effective for reducing AH distress. A larger, suitably powered phase 3 study is needed to provide a precise estimate of the effects of Relating Therapy for AH distress.

Keywords: Auditory hallucinations; Distress reduction; Randomized controlled trial; Relating Therapy; Voice hearing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hallucinations / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome*