Empathy-based training is a powerful tool to allow individuals to step into the shoes of someone who is living with a specific indication. The STARR Coalition has created an Auditory Hallucination Simulation in which participants can experience one symptom associated with brain disorders, auditory hallucinations. This exercise has transformed perceptions of brain disorders for individuals who have participated in this exercise.
Many individuals living with brain disorders experience a litany of sensory perceptions. This causes a tremendous amount of difficulty performing day-to-day tasks. This computer-based simulation was created to give people a small glimpse into the mind of someone living with auditory hallucinations, most commonly associated with schizophrenia.
This type of empathy training gives providers of mental health services, family members, friends, peers and our communities a greater understanding of the complexities of living with schizophrenia. We hope this exercise gives you new insight and awareness.
It must be noted not everyone is willing or able to do this exercise. DO NOT perform this exercise if you have ever been treated for symptoms of auditory hallucinations. Also, not everyone is comfortable participating for various reasons. We suggest all staff participate but please respect the wishes of those who choose to abstain.
Unlike other auditory hallucination simulations, instead of passively listening, this computer-based program requires you to complete several tasks. Before you begin, please do the following:
- Be sure to wear headphones. Just listening through speakers will not give you the same effect. Make sure the volume is high enough to block out any environmental noise.
- You will need something to write with and a piece of paper. Do not use your phone or other devices for any section.
- Please take a moment to answer the debriefing questions after completing the simulation. It is a part of the entire experience.
- If at any point you become disoriented or want to stop, stop. Simply remove the headphones and proceed to debriefing.
- And most importantly, if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness and have experienced auditory hallucinations, DO NOT DO THIS EXERCISE.
After the experience, it is common to feel anxiety, confusion, frustration, or exhaustion. Take a few minutes to identify exactly how you are both physically and emotionally. It is nearly impossible to comprehend continually living with auditory hallucinations. The fact is, many individuals can experience other hallucinations such as visual, olfactory (sense of smell), tactile (sense of touch) and gustatory (sense of taste).