WHAT IS PROREAL?
Innovative 3D virtual world technology gives patients a secure and confidential way to visually describe how they experience the world. With support users can label strong feelings and name issues, as well as articulate hopes and concerns – all of which are critical for building resilience and supporting recovery. Seeing the technology live is the best way to understand it; alternatively, this short video provides the context for its design and use.
WHERE IS IT USED?
NHS (clinical): South London & Maudsley’s Personality Disorder (Bethlem Royal Hospital) service, Mersey Care secure care, Oxford Health ‘s CAMHS, Birmingham & Solihull adult secure care, Bradford District Care.
Charities (social care): Action for Children, Off the Record (Bristol). Corporate (coaching): IBM, Motorola, HP
WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE FOR EFFICACY?
Independent research shows that the technology is highly engaging for patients. Feasible in various clinical settings with both adults and young people, its use is associated with positive emotional and cognitive responses, reductions in psychological distress and the building of empathy and insight – particularly for those who find verbal expression difficult. Improvements to the therapeutic alliance are also reported. No harmful side effects have been reported. Research findings are here, with the following studies available here:
- Falconer, et al (2017) BMJ Evidence-Based Mental Health “Adjunctive avatar therapy, adults, MBT” Cooper, M et al (in press) Avatar-based school counselling.
- Van Rijn (in press) Case study – ‘Richard’, a 14yr old with high functioning autism and anxiety. Pederson, R (in press) Avatar-based counselling, adults with eating disorders (by request) Van Rijn (2015) British Journal of Guidance and Counselling; adult offender mental health.
Use in corporate settings has reduced intervention costs by 40% based on online use (including guided selfhelp / homework). South London & Maudsley NHS FT’s commercial use was based on providing a more engaging treatment modality. Further research is planned to assess engagement and accelerated treatment outcomes.
Training for clinicians is usually carried out on-site / face-to-face; online and blended learning options are also available. Use is based on integration with existing practices and therapeutic modality.
|• Easy for patients||✓|
|• Secure data||✓|
|• Useful for group or 1:1 work||✓|
|• Works with ‘low-spec’ devices||✓|
|• Backed by NHS England||✓|
|• Supports face to face or remote working|