Virtual therapies treating real world trauma (incl. audio)


“Created at the University of Southern California’s Medical Virtual Reality Lab, SimCoach is just one of several initiatives the lab has pioneered for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

‘The safe environment really is the idea of giving people opportunities to interact with this content, either in a therapy context or in private,’ says Skip Rizzo, the lab’s director and a clinical psychologist.

‘It’s totally confidential, there’s no tracking, there’s no monitoring of the system, people can ask this virtual agent questions about post-traumatic stress. The agent can ask them questions about the types of symptoms that they are experiencing and give a little feedback as to how difficult it might be for them.”

In another form of exposure therapy pioneered by Dr Rizzo and his team, a software system called Bravemind provides a sophisticated, lifelike virtual reality environment for helping patients revisit the scene of trauma.”

By Antony Funnell at ABC Radio Nation

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