Volunteers needed for Virtual Reality Mindfulness based Program

The Retreat York is pleased to announce an exciting research opportunity that is in need of volunteers.

Volunteers needed!

Volunteers needed for Virtual Reality Mindfulness based Program

The Retreat York is pleased to announce an exciting research opportunity that is in need of volunteers.

Would you like to try mindfulness?

Would you like to try virtual reality?

Now you can!

The Retreat York needs volunteers to trial a Mindfulness based programme using Virtual Reality. This is an exciting project to be part of –  you will have the opportunity to experience virtual reality in your own home and will complete a programme of Mindfulness based cognitive therapy over a 10 week study period. There is absolutely no financial cost to you; we just need your time and your feedback on the experience.

Project lead and Clinical Psychologist at The Retreat, Dr Katja Osswald said: “We’re very excited about this! We already know this type of therapy is helpful for people who experience low mood and anxiety, but we want to see if it can be delivered using virtual reality.”

Interested? To be eligible to take part you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Self-identify as having low mood and anxiety, or have previously been treated for low mood and anxiety – you do not need to have a formal diagnosis
  • Be able to commit to 10 week study period, from 11 January – 19 March 2021
  • Be able to complete approximately 2 hours of sessions each week for a period of 8 weeks, using a headset we provide. Each session is approximately 20 minutes.
  • Complete a series of online questionnaires throughout the period and a telephone interview in the first and the final week.

There are further criteria to determine suitability – we’d love to talk it through with you. To find out more details about the research, please email the Research Team at research@theretreatyork.org.uk. We’ll provide you with further information and an expression of interest form if you are interested. We will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

What does our Compassionate Mind Training Group involve?

Our Compassionate Mind Training online group will present you with key understandings that will help you to gain insights into your own and others’ psychology.  With clear guidance and support, you will undertake exercises that are designed to help you to gradually develop and strengthen the skills that underpin a healthy mind and healthier ways of relating to yourself.  You will be encouraged to practice these skills and exercises in between sessions in order to get the very best out of the group. Compassionate mind training includes mindfulness and visualisation exercises, self-reflection using written exercises and also group discussions. 

There will be opportunities for discussion with other members of the group, but there is no pressure to share anything unless you feel comfortable doing so.  This isn’t a therapy group as such in the sense that we don’t focus on sharing difficult past experiences.  The focus is mostly on the present, and on our experiences of doing the exercises.  If you prefer one-to-one sessions, we also offer compassion focused individual therapy – Please contact us if you wish to explore this.

You can find out more about the group on our information sheet here.

How do I apply to attend?

You can apply to join the group by calling us on 01904 412551. We will take some information from you and you will be offered an assessment appointment with the group facilitator.

Helping people for over 200 years







How to access the service

All therapies are accessed via our Initial Therapies Assessment.

To refer yourself to our general therapies service, or just to talk to us about whether we can help, please call us on 01904 412551.

Alternatively, you can complete the form (on a laptop or PC) here and email it to us at outpatients@theretreatyork.org.uk

What is Online/Video Therapy?

Our online therapy service allows us to offer help and support to people not able to access our York-based service face-to-face. Online therapy is a developing area for counselling and psychotherapy, and is also known as webcam counselling, e-therapy, web therapy, internet therapy and distance therapy. This service allows you all the benefits of face-to-face sessions with a therapist, via your personal computer and from the comfort of your home. 

Our skilled counsellors, psychologists and therapists will listen to you in a non-judgmental way in a private, confidential setting. They can help you with your current difficulties, past experiences or anxieties about your future with the aim of helping you improve the quality of your life and relationships.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Any one of us can experience something that we find traumatic. This could be something recent that has happened to us or it could be from our earlier years. Either way, around 30% of people who experience something traumatic go on to develop symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Traumatic events can vary widely, from road traffic or other accidents, involvement in military combat, near death experiences, or some form of abuse as a child or adult.

PTSD is a name given to a range of symptoms that someone may experience. Often, when we experience a situation that is traumatic, we may at first feel quite numb, but later experience symptoms such as:

  • Nightmares or frightening thoughts
  • Re-living the traumatic event, often termed ‘flashbacks’
  • Avoidance of reminders of the event and of talking about it
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Hyper vigilance and alertness to possible danger
  • Problems with concentration and memory.

These are all symptoms of PTSD and are usually very distressing to us.

What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.

It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.

Some people with autism can live relatively independent lives, but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a group of behavioural symptoms that include:

  • Inattentiveness – most people with ADHD will have a short attention span and may be easily distracted.
  • Hyperactivity – there is likely to be some restlessness, fidgeting or overactivity. This can also lead to difficulties in sleeping and increased anxiety.
  • Impulsiveness – people with ADHD may do things without thought for the consequences, without very much reflection and without having a plan.

Some adults will have ADHD without it being diagnosed at a younger age. Those who are diagnosed at a young age are likely to continue to experience problems, though the symptoms might reduce.

What therapies do you offer?

We offer a range of individual and group therapies in line with NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance. All of our therapists are highly trained, experienced and committed to continued professional development. Many therapists have training in more than one therapy modality, and are therefore in the best position to offer tailored, individualised therapy to meet your needs, drawing from the most up to date, evidence-based interventions.

Our therapies are usually delivered face to face, in relaxing therapy rooms. However if you are unable to come to The Retreat for your appointments, whatever the reason, we may be able to offer you an appointment via video link, using a secure platform called VSEE. 

How do I access the service?

All therapies are accessed via our Initial Therapies Assessment.

To refer yourself to our general therapies service, or just to talk to us about whether we can help, please call us on 01904 412551.

Is the service confidential?

All our services are confidential, and our therapists and clinicians follow professional codes of conduct which include principles around confidentiality. This means we will not disclose information about you to a third party without your consent, unless we had significant concern for either your safety or the safety of someone else. We would make every attempt to discuss this with you if the situation arose.

Can I get involved in The Retreat?

We welcome representation from people who have finished their therapy or support within our services. There are a number of ways you can get involved, from joining us at information sharing events, helping us raise the profile of our services through the media, or consulting with us to help develop new service or recruit new staff. Please contact us for more information. 

Get in Touch. Talk to us.

If you need to speak to us, we are here to help. Our team of qualified therapists are at your service in person, or via a video call.

Heslington Rd, York, YO10 5BN

Call Us: 01904 412 551