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Assisting Psychological Therapies

 

Xenodu systems are being utilised by the NHS (National Health Service, UK) with custom-designed interactive virtual environments to assist cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders and learning disabilities.

This involves a long-term research and development project in partnership with The University of East Anglia and Norfolk & Suffolk NHS as well as other research partners.

Drawing on collaboration with multiple disciplines from Psychology, Video Production, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Human-Computer Interface Design this project aims to investigate feasibility and effectiveness of a novel computer-based system for psychological therapy.

Read the latest research here:

The Psychology of Social Networking Vol. 2 - Virtual Environments With Chroma-Keying Video Capture In Psychological Therapy (Gega L. et al. 2015)

A Video-based Virtual Environment for Teaching Social Skills to Adolescents with Autism: In Search of Generalisation (Barry O. 2015)

A Comprehensive Cognitive Behavioral Program for Offenders - Trying and Practicing in Virtual Immersion (Langdon P. et al. 2015)

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking - Virtual Environments Using Video Capture for Social Phobia with Psychosis (Gega L. et al. 2013)

 

This research has found that people with social anxiety and learning disabilities can be helped to overcome their fears and learn appropriate social skills by viewing themselves taking part in a range of virtual scenarios.

Controlled exposure therapy sessions for social phobia and learning disabilities with patients in NHS clinics have utilised custom-designed hardware installations and over a hundred virtual environments (2-7 mins in duration) including public speaking, public transport, shops, streets, parties, bars, cafés, speed-dating, medical consultations and a job interview.

Therapeutic Outcomes
• Providing the opportunity for systematic practice and improvement of competence in social skills such as conversation or body language.
• Building self-awareness and self-assurance to enable exposure to real-life events which would normally present challenges or create anxiety.
• Questioning unproductive understanding of insecurities.
• Enabling understanding that anxiety can be perpetuated by avoidance strategies and inaccurate interpretation of events in feared scenarios.
• Demonstrating that anxiety declines when exposure to feared scenarios is practiced whilst inhibiting impulses to avoid such situations.

A range of psychological therapies and learning-related applications are currently undergoing further research and development using our systems.

For more details about clinical research please feel free to get in touch here.

 

 

 

Xenodu in the News

 

The UK national press have been reporting on our innovative virtual therapy system for social anxiety and learning disabilities, developed through new research by the University of East Anglia with the NHS (National Health Service).

 


Virtual answer for the socially anxious.

Link to: ITV Anglia News

 


Virtual environments help treat offenders.

Link to: BBC Look East News

 

Out-of-body virtual scenarios 'help social anxiety'.

Link to: BBC News Online

 

 

 

Assisting Health Education and Promotion

 

Our work with NHS has also included various interactive projects to both protect and promote public health in the community and to develop the communication skills of NHS staff.

Pledge 2012 was initiative run by Norfolk County Council in association with Norfolk & Suffolk NHS and used Xenodu systems to celebrate the London Olympic and Paralympic Games by inviting members of the public to participate in a county-wide legacy project.

Through the use of custom-designed Pledge 2012 Pods at events throughout Norfolk, participants were asked to make a pledge against a special Olympics-themed video background and were able to see themselves running around an athletics track or cycling around a velodrome.

Pledges ranged from simply committing to take regular exercise, to healthy eating or doing something specific such as taking up a new sport or running a half marathon.

Each pledge was then uploaded to an online interactive map of Norfolk on which participants were able to zoom in and watch their pledges and those made by others.

Our work with Surrey and Borders NHS has involved development of a Technology Enhanced Learning system which uses virtual humans to train medical staff how to be better communicators with patients and colleagues.

This project draws on a multi-disciplinary network of expertise to promote curiosity driven learning in the development of social and emotional interaction skills in order to change behaviours of learners in real-word practice.

This involves creating a real sense of social presence through the use of our innovative technologies and by developing authentic virtual characters with believable personalities, diverse points of view, detailed back-stories, family backgrounds and medical histories, all taken from real-world scenarios to portray a wide range of responses.

The project aims to build empathetic practice by giving learners the chance to identify missed opportunities to fully understand the socio-economic factors in challenging situations and by giving them a licence to fail in simulated high-stakes scenarios to enable them to safely learn from their mistakes.

 

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