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Impact of an auditory hallucinations simulation on trainee and newly qualified clinical psychologists: A mixed methods cross-sectional study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Simon James Riches, Fareeha Khan, Shifaa Kwieder, Helen Fisher

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Early online date19 Dec 2018
Accepted/In press17 Dec 2018
E-pub ahead of print19 Dec 2018


King's Authors


Simulation training is an effective teaching tool enabling learners to gain a subjective understanding of a range of skills. Our aim in this study was to pilot and evaluate a newly-designed simulation of auditory hallucinations as a future training tool for clinicians. This was a mixed-methods study in two parts. In Phase 1, trainee and qualified clinical psychologists (N=25) attended the London-based immersive art exhibition, Altered States of Consciousness (ASoC), which included an auditory hallucinations simulation. The exhibition aimed to improve understanding of what it feels like to hear voices by providing members of the public with an individualised simulation of auditory hallucinations. Participants completed pre-/post-exhibition measures of their mood and attitudes towards auditory hallucinations and other unusual sensory experiences. In Phase 2, a subgroup of Phase 1 participants (N=15) took part in a semi-structured interview and completed the post-exhibition questions again approximately six months later. Post-exhibition, there were significant increases in understanding what it feels like to hear voices (large effect), compassion towards people who hear voices (large effect), and comfort talking to people who hear voices (medium effect). Scores were partially maintained at follow-up. Participants reported that the simulation provided numerous benefits to their training and clinical practice, including increases in subjective understanding, compassion, and confidence, and suggested several future training applications for the simulation, including with a range of healthcare professionals. Therefore, we conclude that this simulation has potential for training clinical psychologists and other healthcare professionals who work with people who experience auditory hallucinations.

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