Users of OVR social engagement gradually face problematic situations to feel safer, more confident and more in control. The VR environments provide the reassurance they can try out new things safely, according to Oxford VR
➨ OVR social engagement is a user-centred experience that translates evidence-based cognitive-behavioural therapy through immersive VR environments
➨ It is delivered over half-hour weekly sessions by a trained member of staff rather than a clinician
➨ The therapy is now available to National Health Service patients in the UK
UK-based Oxford VR has launched an immersive tech-based mental health therapy to help individuals overcome anxious social avoidance.
Developed by Oxford VR clinicians and a team of programmers, designers, artists and animators, OVR social engagement is a user-centred experience that translates evidence-based cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) through immersive VR environments.
OVR social engagement is delivered over half-hour weekly sessions. During a session, the user puts on a VR headset and enters a virtual world where they are guided by a virtual coach and required to complete a series of graded tasks, in different environments that might trigger anxiety, such as a street scene, a bus and a shop.
The user gradually faces problematic situations to feel safer, more confident and more in control. The VR environments give users the reassurance they can try out new things safely, according to Oxford VR.
By completing the tasks, the user learns how to cope in these situations and the evidence confirms that the behavioural changes made in the VR environments transfer to the real world. The therapy is automated and does not require a qualified clinician and can be delivered by a trained member of staff.
OVR social engagement is now available to National Health Service (NHS) patients in the UK via providers of NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies and other mental healthcare providers.
Commenting on Oxford VR’s social engagement VR therapy, director of clinical partnerships June Dent said: “The immersive nature of VR provides a powerful new way to engage individuals and helps them to regain confidence and overcome those trigger situations. This innovative program applies proven evidence-based psychological techniques.”
The launch of OVR social engagement follows the successful closing of Oxford VR’s £10 million funding round.
New investors Optum Ventures and Luminous Ventures, along with existing supporters Oxford Sciences Innovation, Oxford University Innovation and GT Healthcare Capital Partners, participated in the £10 million series A funding round of the Oxford University Department of Psychiatry spinout.