Consultant clinical psychologist at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Dr Daniel Freeman has been awarded a major research grant to study how VR can help with persecutory delusions.
Professor Daniel Freeman, who is also a researcher at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, was awarded the grant together with his colleagues, Professors David Clark (also at the University of Oxford), Mel Slater (University of Barcelona) and Graham Dunn (University of Manchester). Their work will be supported by the Precision Psychological Therapies theme in the NIHR Oxford Health BRC.
The researchers will use the grant, awarded by the UK Medical Research Council Developmental Pathways Funding Scheme, to develop an extended Virtual Reality Cognitive Treatment, VRCT.
The grant enables the team to use the latest consumer equipment, and test it in a clinical trial.
Based on patient feedback, VRCT scenarios for four treatment sessions will be developed, each scenario having different levels of difficulty, and with a virtual coach present to help encourage the patient.
A shared manual for patients and mental health staff is planned. Patients will then go on to test VRCT in an early Phase II clinical trial.
Read more about how virtual reality could be a mental health gamechanger, in an article by Daniel and Jason Freeman for the Guardian.