Imagery rescripting for the treatment of trauma in voice hearers: A case series

Georgie Paulik, Craig Steel, Arnoud Arntz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Background: High rates of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are reported in people who hear voices (auditory hallucinations). A recent meta-analysis of trauma interventions in psychosis showed only small improvements in PSTD symptoms and voices. Imagery Rescripting (ImRs) may be a therapy that is more effective in this population because it generalizes over memories, which is ideal in this population with typically repeated traumas.Aims: The primary aims of this study were to investigate whether ImR reduces (1) PTSD symptoms, and (2) voice frequency and distress in voice hearers.Method: We used a single arm open trial study, case-series design. Twelve voice hearers with previous traumas that were thematically related to their voices participated. Brief weekly assessments (administered in sessions 1-8, post-intervention, and at 3-month follow-up) and longer measures (administered pre-, mid- and post-intervention) were administered. Mixed regression analysis was used to analyse the results.Results: There was one treatment drop-out. Results of the weekly measure showed significant linear reductions over time in all three primary variables - voice distress, voice frequency, and trauma intrusions - all with large effect sizes. These effects were maintained (and continued to improve for trauma intrusions) at 3-month follow-up. On the full assessment tools, all measures showed improvement over time, with five outcomes showing significant time effects: Trauma, voice frequency, voice distress, voice malevolence and stress. Conclusions: The findings of the current study suggest that ImRs for PTSD symptoms is generally well tolerated and can be therapeutically beneficial among individuals who hear voices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-725
Number of pages17
JournalBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number6
Early online date12 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


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