This episode of Emotion Lab is dedicated to the story of Mimerse, a Stockholm based VR company that builds evidence-based treatments for mental health conditions. Graeme Cox is joined by William Hamilton, the company’s Founder and CTO, and together they explore the growing value of VR in improving understanding and treatment of mental health conditions.

William’s interest in VR and mental health was piqued when he was studying for his Masters in Clinical Psychology whilst working as a developer for leading internet-based intervention researcher, Professor Per Carlbring. Over time, they began to realise the potential of VR in the area of psychology; “VR is a dream come true for psychologists,” explains William. “It allows you to create a real-life experiment in which you can fully control the environment.” Together, the pair quickly realised the huge opportunity for the technology within this largely unexplored remit and decided to pursue it.

The story behind Mimerse

Founded in 2014, Mimerse builds evidence-based treatments for mental health conditions using immersive technologies and William describes the company as a “virtual pharmacy for mental health.” On a mission to empower people in self-management, Mimerse began working with leading universities and hospitals to clinically validate automatic VR in the treatment of phobias. By using VR in this way, patients can be exposed to a simulated environment inducing a fear

response, in a safe environment. Automated virtual reality exposure therapies (VRETs) are self-help treatments conducted by patients and supported by a virtual therapist, along with auditory feedback. As well as providing safe spaces for individuals to confront their phobias and improving access to therapy, there is also growing evidence demonstrating the role that VRETs can play in improving adherence and efficacy of self-guided treatments.

Scaling up mental health services

In recent years, the rise in mental health issues has been well documented alongside the capacity challenges faced by health systems like the NHS in managing the growing demand for treatment and support. Now, the proven efficacy of scalable technology platforms could offer an accessible solution that addresses at least part of the problem, however it is important to remember that automatic psychological treatments do not replace therapists. Instead, the purpose is to support their practice by blending traditional and tech-led therapy interventions to create an optimal approach to management that can be adapted for each individual.

Miloff A, Carlbring P, at al. Measuring Alliance Toward Embodied Virtual Therapists in the Era of Automated Treatments With the Virtual Therapist Alliance Scale (VTAS): Development and

Psychometric Evaluation.

J Med Internet Res. 2020 Mar 24;22(3):e16660. doi: 10.2196/16660. PMID: 32207690; PMCID: PMC7139418.

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Get in touch with the guest – William Hamilton

This sentiment is echoed across the healthtech space, with the recent Topol review predicting that new technologies will

give clinicians the “gift of time,” redefining their roles rather than instigating the replacement of human contact and


Despite the rapid advancement of technology, not all VR headsets are created equally and there is currently significant

variability in the quality of such devices. Therefore, when enlisting VR for this type of intervention, or in any facet of

healthcare, utilising the right device that has capabilities to provide accurate and appropriate feedback measurements is

critical. Ultimately, advancement of VR as digital therapeutic is reliant, not only on efficacy of the platform, but also on

building trust across both clinical and patient communities.

If you’d like to find out more about how VRETs could be about to transform mental healthcare, make sure you listen into

the full episode over at: [HYPERLINK TO PODCAST EPISODE]

Get in touch with emteq:


Get in touch with the guest – William Hamilton