Using Cutting Edge Virtual Reality Technology to Treat Depression

By Dr. Rob Purssey

Self criticism can be a helpful tool but for many people it can be damaging, pulling us away from the things that matter most to us or slowing us down with anxiety or depression. A wealth of research shows however that we can learn to manage overly self critical thoughts and feelings using self compassion.

However, many of us are resistant to self-compassion.

Check out this awesome study in which they used an immersive virtual reality scenario. Participants interacted compassionately with a crying virtual child while embodied in a virtual adult body.

In the second phase, one group of participants then embodied the child body and could experience a recording of their compassionate gestures and words being delivered to them from this (child) embodied first-person perspective.

By having participants embody an adult and then a child virtual body in succession, our scenario effectively provided a self-to-self situation enabling participants to deliver compassionate sentiments and statements to themselves.

Fascinating stuff.

Participants of the study had three 8 minute virtual reality exposures each one week apart, at the end of the three experiences. 60% of the 15 participants reported decreased depression symptoms a month later.

Self compassion is a skill that can be learned to help live life more meaningfully, and is a core part of acceptance and commitment therapy.


Full study here – http://bjpo.rcpsych.org/content/2/1/74

5 Reasons Why Accessing Therapy via Telehealth May be Right For You
Read More
Trauma Does Not Have to be a Life Sentence

In an ideal world every child will be nurtured, loved and protected. Unfortunately, as my news feed keeps reminding me, we don’t live in an ideal world, the world is not a fair place and numerous children encounter adverse and even traumatic situations far too early in life. These highly traumatising life events may involve […]

Read More
Redefining Success: Ditch Resolutions, Embrace Your Values

By Ms Ali V Flint Learn more about Ali The January air seems thick with a kind of angsty, overwhelmed, tension, laced with melancholy of the holidays end and a brave hope for a more joyful, abundant, promising New Year. We are almost through January now, and the excitement of a fresh start might be […]

Read More
Get in touch

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Preferred Contact Number

    Your Message

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    7 Marie Street, Milton
    Brisbane, QLD 4064
    07 3193 1072
    Opening Hours
    Monday, Thursday, Friday:  8:30am-5:30pm

    Tuesday & Wednesday: 8:30am-9pm
    (receptionist available until 6pm).