“The University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) is an academic research center that combines creative narrative with advanced immersive techniques such as virtual reality to provide veterans with urgently needed options in the treatment of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Treatments with immersive technologies like virtual reality involve exposure therapy.
The patient dealing with PTSD or other disorders is encouraged to confront traumatic memories in virtual settings with the help of a trained therapist.”
By Sonya Haskins for VR Fitness Insider
Image & Video: Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT)
“Virtual reality therapy for post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) was demonstrated at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton HiMARC’s Motion-Assisted Multi-Modal Memory Desensitization and Reconsolidation (3MDR) has patients walk on a treadmill toward the stimulus, sounds and images that may remind them of events that brought on traumatic memories.
The therapist is with them through this experience, guiding, directing and asking them a series of questions as the soldier or veteran confronts these memories.
“It was incredible. I don’t know how else to describe it. My senses were heightened. I was even sensitive to the clanging sound of the carabiner on my harness,” Capt. Anna Harpe said after experiencing the 3MDR system.
“Patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or other anxiety conditions are finding real solutions in a virtual world.
Stéphane Bouchard, Canada Research Chair in clinical cyberpsychology has demonstrated how a virtual tour of an animated space can help people battle their personal demons.
Afraid of spiders?
Virtual reality therapy allows patients to confront spiders, a bit at a time, with visuals so real in a three-dimensional, computer-simulated environment as to evoke the same emotions as the real thing.”
“Veterans and active duty military members are using virtual reality to relive the worst moments of their life in an innovative counseling program being offered for free at the University of Central Florida’s PTSD Clinic.
“It’s a very intense program but the advantage is that we can really take care of this disorder and treat this disorder thoroughly and effectively in a short period of time,” said Dr. Deborah Beidel, the founder of UCF Restores, a program that uses a combination of counseling and exposure therapy to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Iraq War veteran Bruce Chambers was one of the first patients to go through the therapy.”
“At USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies Albert “Skip” Rizzo and his team are using virtual reality — a technology in the midst of booming growth — to help combat veterans fully process and recover from PTSD.
In Rizzo’s “Bravemind” program, patients revisit painful memories in a VR setting, under the care of a trained therapist. This sense memory allows them to access the memory clearly and, in doing so, to fully process it.
It’s a revolutionary type of exposure therapy that has so far netted promising results.”
“Virtual reality is already used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers – now it’s helping the victims of terrorist attacks
Researchers are carefully building virtual-reality versions of the Bataclan theatre and Paris streets to simulate the horrific attacks of last November. It’s not for some sick game, but to help victims suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
VR headsets are being used to treat a variety of psychological issues: to help people with autism train for stressful social situations, such as job interviews; to overcome phobias; and to reduce pain, particularly in people with severe burns, by distraction.
VR has been used to treat PTSD for more than a decade, the improvement and commercialisation of VR headsets of late has certainly helped, says Dr Albert “Skip” Rizzo, the director of medical virtual reality at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California.
Dr Rizzo is working with a consortium of European collaborators to build a virtual Paris scenario.
“With VR headsets selling out faster than manufacturers can create them, the future looks bright for mass adoption, and that could well mean that an Oculus Rift looks just as natural in the doctor’s surgery as stethoscopes and needles.
Here is a list of some novel uses for VR in mental health and beyond:”
1. As a treatment for paranoia
2. Providing phantom limb pain relief
3. As a super-effective pain killer
4. Helping PTSD sufferers live with their trauma
5. As a controlled virtual environment for alcoholics
6. As training for lazy eyes
7. As social cognition training for young autistic adults
“Virtual reality (VR) has come a long way since the 1990s. Today we stand at a tipping point, where VR is about to disrupt so many sectors such as research, sports, the military, education, entertainment, car manufacture, and even healthcare.
According to research and consulting firm IndustryARC, augmented and virtual reality in healthcare is predicted to generate $2.54 billion globally by 2020 .”
“An Argentinian psychologist named Fernando Tarnogol, has created a software platform called Phobos that uses VR to treat extreme fears and anxieties like acrophobia (fear of heights) and arachnophobia (fear of spiders) by mimicking the triggering conditions in a safe, controlled virtual environment.
Tarnogol hopes that in the future, people with a wide range of anxieties and phobias will use VR as a safe, low-cost supplement to traditional exposure therapy.”
Image, text and video by Cara Santa Maria for Fusion.net