Developing novel virtual reality treatments for eating disorders

Theme Mental health

Workstream Psychological interventions

Status: This project is ongoing

The aim of this project is to develop novel treatments for eating disorders using immersive virtual reality (VR). The treatments will be designed to address different aspects of eating disorders. These aspects have been selected with the help of patient and public involvement, engagement and participation (PPIEP) focus groups and existing evidence.

We will use the person-based approach to design and optimise these new treatments. The person-based approach is an evidence-based research method used for developing health interventions. is an evidence-based research method used for developing health interventions.

We will use feedback from people with lived experience to design, test, analyse and refine the new treatments. Their views and perspectives are combined with existing research evidence. This helps to ensure that the intervention designed is both as engaging and as effective as possible.

The interventions we design will be based around:

  • a virtual cafe environment where people with eating disorders can practice scenarios they find challenging
  • a gamified task aimed at retraining attention away from underweight bodies
  • an intervention to explore inhabiting and viewing different versions of one’s body in VR

Designing a virtual café environment means we are currently looking to recruit:

We will be asking these individuals to take part in online focus groups or individual interviews, to help us design scenarios for a VR café which could be used in the treatment of eating disorders.

Follow the links above to find out more and complete the relevant screening survey if you are interested in taking part in this part of our research.