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A randomised controlled pilot study of Experience Focused Counselling with voice hearers

Schnackenberg, Joachim; Fleming, Mick; Martin, Colin R.


Joachim Schnackenberg

Colin R. Martin


Background: There is a need for improved psychosocial interventions for distressed voice hearers.
Aims: To evaluate a novel approach to hearing voices: Experience Focused Counselling (EFC) aka Making Sense of Voices.
Study design and methods: Twelve voice hearers were randomly assigned to a 44-week EFC or Treatment As Usual intervention as part of a pilot study design.
Results: At the end of intervention, EFC showed clinically large treatment effect improvements on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale – Expanded Version psychotic symptoms (Cohen’s d=1.6) and overall psychopathology domains (d=1.3), and the Psychotic Symptom Rating Scales voices (d=1) and delusions (aka nonshared reality) (d=1) scales. EFC voice hearers also felt more able to do first trauma disclosures (n=4) than TAU group voice hearer (n=1).
Discussion: EFC improvements may have been related to the focus on reducing voices-related distress. EFC holds some promise as a safe and effective intervention for voice hearers, with possible improvements in general psychopathology, psychosis, voices and non-shared reality (aka delusions)-related distress. This will need replicating in more powerful studies.


Schnackenberg, J., Fleming, M., & Martin, C. R. (2017). A randomised controlled pilot study of Experience Focused Counselling with voice hearers. Psychosis, 9(1), 1-13.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 29, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 5, 2016
Publication Date Jan 17, 2017
Deposit Date Jan 30, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jul 6, 2017
Journal Psychosis
Print ISSN 1752-2439
Electronic ISSN 1752-2447
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1
Pages 1-13
Keywords Experience focussed counselling, hearing voices, making sense of voices, psychosis, randomised controlled trial, schizophrenia
Public URL


A randomised controlled pilot study of experience focussed counselling with voice hearers (61 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychosis on 05/07/2016 available online:

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