UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Virtual reality therapy could help people with depression

15 February 2016

A new study from UCL and ICREA-University of Barcelona has found that an immersive virtual reality therapy could help people with depression to be less critical and more compassionate towards themselves, reducing depressive symptoms.

The study lead, Professor Chris Brewin (Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) said: “People who struggle with anxiety and depression can be excessively self-critical when things go wrong in their lives... In this study, by comforting the child and then hearing their own words back, patients are indirectly giving themselves compassion. The aim was to teach patients to be more compassionate towards themselves and less self-critical, and we saw promising results. A month after the study, several patients described how their experience had changed their response to real-life situations in which they would previously have been self-critical.”

Image: Participant playing the role of an adult comforting a crying child (credit: UCL)