Julian Leff obituary

My friend Julian Leff, who has died aged 82, was a psychiatrist who broke new ground in the treatment of schizophrenia, including through an approach that involved intensive group and individual work with families instead of just the patient alone. He also invented avatar therapy, in which patients create computer avatars of the voices they hear and thus find a way to talk back to their hallucinations. It has proved so effective that it is now being pursued in four centres across Britain.

Julian was born in Kentish Town, north London, to Vera (nee Levy), a writer, and Sam, a doctor. He left Haberdashers’ Aske’s school at the age of 16 and went to University College London medical school, where he qualified as a doctor. He worked as a house officer at University College hospital and the Whittington hospital before turning to psychiatry.

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