Treating Trauma with Virtual Reality
Treating Trauma with Virtual Reality

Treating Trauma with Virtual Reality

National Post Reports

Virtual reality is providing therapeutic benefits for patients suffering from phobias or post-traumatic stress, according to a report in the National Post. The story cites research in the US and Canadian efforts in the area:

"The September 2009 edition of Monitor on Psychology, a publication of the American Psychological Association, cited an analysis of 22 studies that found significant declines in symptoms of anxiety following virtual reality therapy, including social phobia, agoraphobia and fear of flying. There is now a Canada Research Chair in Clinical Cyberpsychology - University of Ottawa psychology professor Stephane Bouchard- with a $6-million facility to study virtual reality."

The article points out that virtual reality therapy isn't a replacement for traditional approaches. Its effectiveness is based on following standard evidence-based procedures and integrating it with talk and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Virtual reality arose primarily from military simulation and has a long history, but one that includes as much unfulfilled promise as delivery. Virtual reality headsets have often suffered the limitation of 'lag': computer processing power hasn't been sufficient to overcome the slight gap between movement and simulation. The idea that virtual reality could "fool the brain" into thinking it was in a real space has been a seemingly insurmountable barrier.

It was games that gave virtuality momentum. Recognizing that a 3D immersive environment didn't need to look real to feel really engaging, games became the source of new technologies that could be used for training, collaboration and therapy.

Remedy has been developing virtual applications to facilitate patient outreach and support and medical training. While the 3D environments that arise from game technology may not make you feel like you're in the 'real world', the sense of presence and engagement has been proven to increase learning retention.

The combination of approaches: of virtual reality head-sets and virtual environments and, increasingly, augmented reality are creating new therapeutic and community-building tools that will increasingly widen the forms of media used to tackle healthcare challenges.

doug thompson
Treating Trauma with Virtual Reality

doug thompson

Doug Thompson is CEO of Remedy which he founded a decade or so ago with a couple of old laptops and one of those fax machines with curling paper. Doug keeps a pulse on innovation and on maintaining the team-based culture that has allowed Remedy to grow from that modest start.

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