Innovations in Practice: Avatar-based virtual reality in CAMHS talking therapy: two exploratory case studies

Caroline J. Falconer, E. Bethan Davies, Rebecca Grist, Paul Stallard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Avatar-based virtual reality therapy is an emerging digital technology that can be used to assist the treatment of common mental health problems. This may be particularly appealing to young people who are highly familiar with digital technologies and may provide a medium to facilitate communication within face-to-face therapy. Method: We present two case summaries of young people who used ProReal, who had difficulties engaging in talking therapies. ProReal is a software package providing avatar-based virtual reality therapy, used as part of talking psychological therapies provided within a CAMHS outpatient clinic. Young people completed pre and postuse routine outcome measures and took part in qualitative interviews assessing their experience of ProReal. Results: Outcome measures showed a reduction over time. The two young people felt ProReal was highly accessible, with both young people positively describing how ProReal helped them externalize their inner worlds to help them to reappraise their thoughts, feelings and experiences. They also reported ProReal being a helpful tool to facilitate communication with the clinician. Conclusion: These case summaries demonstrate how ProReal can be readily integrated into clinical practice and how it can facilitate communication and therapy with young people who find it difficult to express themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-287
Number of pages5
JournalChild and Adolescent Mental Health
Issue number3
Early online date25 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • case report
  • e-health
  • Mental health
  • qualitative methods
  • therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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