Mindwave were approached by an OCD team at a leading Mental Health NHS Trust to design and develop a virtual reality experience for safe use in OCD exposure therapy, in order to treat young people with a phobia of germs.

The brief was to translate existing evidence-based therapy into a VR experience to: give clinicians more control over the therapeutic environment; provide opportunities to integrate other data sources (e.g. wearables); and create a prototype to prove the concept.



We began by conducting user research to identify common needs of the service users, and found that the clinic bathroom was routinely used during exposure therapy. However, it was often unfit for its therapeutic purpose due to not being dirty enough, or experiencing long queues. With this in mind, we created a virtual bathroom that would allow for a more manageable regulation of the therapeutic space.

It was important that clinicians were able control all the variables in the virtual environment, so we carried out extensive research to ensure that everything they needed was available, including customisable details such as hair, tissues, grime and mould to personalise the space for service users, all with minimal preparation.

The next steps of the project will involve gathering physiological data on an individual’s response and mapping this against their reported experience. Additionally, Mindwave is in the process of seeking funding to develop a clinical trial and develop the evidence base of VR used for therapeutic purposes.



  • A prototype VR experience using Oculus Rift that allows clinicians greater control over the conditions of the therapeutic environment.



CLIENT: South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (funded by Bethnal Green Ventures)