Innovations in Practice: Avatar-based virtual reality in CAMHS talking therapy: two exploratory case studies
Falconer, Caroline J.
Davies, E. Bethan
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BACKGROUNDAvatar-based virtual reality therapy is an emerging digital technology that can be used to assist the treatment of common mental health problems. This may be particularly appealing to young people who are highly familiar with digital technologies and may provide a medium to facilitate communication within face-to-face therapy.METHODWe present two case summaries of young people who used ProReal, who had difficulties engaging in talking therapies. ProReal is a software package providing avatar-based virtual reality therapy, used as part of talking psychological therapies provided within a CAMHS outpatient clinic. Young people completed pre and postuse routine outcome measures and took part in qualitative interviews assessing their experience of ProReal.RESULTSOutcome measures showed a reduction over time. The two young people felt ProReal was highly accessible, with both young people positively describing how ProReal helped them externalize their inner worlds to help them to reappraise their thoughts, feelings and experiences. They also reported ProReal being a helpful tool to facilitate communication with the clinician.CONCLUSIONThese case summaries demonstrate how ProReal can be readily integrated into clinical practice and how it can facilitate communication and therapy with young people who find it difficult to express themselves.