Coping with hallucinated voices in schizophrenia: A review of self-initiated strategies and therapeutic interventions Academic Article uri icon


  • This article reviews the state of knowledge about strategies used by people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia to cope with hallucinated voices, and considers the role of coping in psychological treatments for persisting symptoms. The use of self-initiated ('natural') coping strategies appears almost universal amongst voice-hearers. These strategies are similar across cultures, and include diverse behaviours, only a minority of which is specific to hallucinations. Most strategies are reported by at least some users to be effective, but more sophisticated outcome studies are lacking. Some evidence for the efficacy of certain behavioural techniques of coping, for the manipulation of auditory input, and for strategies involving subvocalisation, is available from experimental studies. Therapeutic enhancement of natural coping strategies for persisting symptoms has demonstrated some efficacy, but its benefit for voices is unknown. Despite this, it has become an established part of some CBT interventions for psychosis. Further advances in knowledge and practice may come from utilisation of coping models in research, longitudinal and ideographic methods of study and a movement away from descriptive coping lists to investigations of coping styles, mechanisms of action, and the process of coping.

publication date

  • May 2007