Distraction techniques

What are distraction techniques? 

Distraction techniques are a form of coping skill, taught during cognitive behavioural therapy. These techniques are used to distract and draw attention away from the auditory symptoms of schizophrenia, such as auditory hallucinations (e.g. voice-hearing) and intrusive thoughts. These approaches are not a stand-alone intervention for schizophrenia, but rather a strategy for coping with illness symptoms, used in conjunction with ongoing pharmaceutical and psychological therapies. There are three key ‘distraction’ approaches: cognitive distraction, behavioural distraction, and physiological distraction, though techniques can overlap. Cognitive distracters can include reading aloud, humming, as well as voice mastery (e.g. replying to the voices, responding only to pleasant voices, or describing hallucinations aloud). Behavioural distracters are largely social, with the person making a conscious effort to interact with other people to change focus and remove attention from the voices. Physiological techniques can include relaxation strategies, doing exercise, using an earplug in the dominant ear, and playing music.

What is the evidence for distraction technique approaches?

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests no benefit of distraction technique programs over health promotion programs for symptoms or study retention.

September 2020

Last updated at: 3:15 am, 11th September 2020
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