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
- Founder of 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 founded and am a non-executive board member of Oxford VR, a spinout company from the University. Oxford VR built on my research into the use of virtual reality to understand and treat psychological disorders. I founded the company in 2016 with Jason Freeman, Mel Slater, Bernhard Spanlang, and Mavi Sánchez-Vives.
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