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Embodying self-compassion within virtual reality and its effects on patients with depression

Falconer, CJ; Rovira, A; King, JA; Gilbert, P; Antley, A; Fearon, P; Ralph, N; ... Brewin, CR; + view all (2016) Embodying self-compassion within virtual reality and its effects on patients with depression. British Journal of Psychiatry Open , 2 (1) pp. 74-80. 10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.002147. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Self-criticism is a ubiquitous feature of psychopathology and can be combatted by increasing levels of self-compassion. However, some patients are resistant to self-compassion. Aims: To investigate whether the effects of self-identification with virtual bodies within immersive virtual reality could be exploited to increase self-compassion in patients with depression. Method: We developed an 8-minute scenario in which 15 patients practised delivering compassion in one virtual body and then experienced receiving it from themselves in another virtual body. Results: In an open trial, three repetitions of this scenario led to significant reductions in depression severity and self-criticism, as well as to a significant increase in self-compassion, from baseline to 4-week follow-up. Four patients showed clinically significant improvement. Conclusions: The results indicate that interventions using immersive virtual reality may have considerable clinical potential and that further development of these methods preparatory to a controlled trial is now warranted.

Type: Article
Title: Embodying self-compassion within virtual reality and its effects on patients with depression
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.002147
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.002147
Language: English
Additional information: © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1485743
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