The i4i Mental Health Challenge Award: Immersive virtual reality to transform the lives of patients with psychosis
PhD DClinPsy CPsychol FBPsS
Professor of Clinical Psychology
- Lead, Oxford Cognitive Approaches to Psychosis (O-CAP)
- NIHR Research Professor
- Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer, Oxford VR
- Fellow, University College Oxford
- Fellow, British Psychological Society
The purpose of my work is to make significant advances in the understanding and treatment of mental health disorders, particularly delusions and hallucinations. Drawing on a variety of approaches, including epidemiological studies, psychological experiments, clinical trials, and a ground-breaking virtual reality laboratory, I use the theoretical knowledge to develop carefully tested psychological treatments that will truly make a difference.
At the moment several randomised controlled treatment trials are in progress. This includes a test of a new targeted, personalised psychological treatment for persecutory delusions, called the Feeling Safe Programme. This is a translational treatment built upon advances by my research group in the theoretical understanding of paranoia. There are also a number of studies running that will lead to a greater understanding of the causes of psychotic experiences. The research is supported by the NHS National Institute of Health Research, UK Medical Research Council (MRC), and the Wellcome Trust.
I am co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer of Oxford VR, a spinout company from the University using automated immersive technologies to increase access to evidence-based psychological therapies. Oxford VR’s focus is on developing clinically validated, cost-effective, user-centred treatments for conditions with significant impact on patients, the health system and wider economy. Oxford VR builds on my research into the use of virtual reality to understand and treat psychological disorders.
I’m also committed to making knowledge of the best psychological research and treatments for mental health problems available to the general public. Therefore I’ve written a number of popular science books on mental health issues. The latest to appear is The Stressed Sex: Uncovering the Truth about Men, Women, and Mental Health, which sets out to answer a simple, but crucial, question: are rates of psychological disorder different for men and women? This important issue has been largely ignored in all the debates raging about gender differences.
Recent open access papers