Virtual Reality – Study tests VR-exceeded psychotherapy

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Games have long been known to have positive effects on people. In England, a study is currently underway to find out whether virtual reality could even be used for psychotherapy.

Games are often a way to relax and switch off. In addition, some people learn other languages in this way or allow themselves to be inspired to develop their creativity. Meanwhile there are numerous possibilities for gamers. For example, different consoles are available, PCs – and for some years now also virtual reality.

If necessary, VR could even help with mental illnesses in the future. At the beginning of July, a large study on VR therapy was started in the United Kingdom. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supports the study, which is carried out together with gameChange, with four million British pounds.

“Our VR therapy is designed for people who suffer from diseases such as schizophrenia and whose anxieties are so strong that even everyday tasks such as using public transport, shopping and communicating with other people become a challenge,” said Daniel Freeman, senior researcher at gameChange.

This is how it works

The idea behind the study is simple. Through virtual reality, patients are confronted with corresponding everyday situations and can thus learn at their own pace to master the situations and develop control strategies. The patients have six different scenarios with different levels of difficulty at their disposal. These include closed rooms and public transport. Each session lasts 30 minutes and is accompanied by a coach.

Currently, 400 patients are treated with Virtual Reality and another 400 without VR. At the end, the results are compared and evaluated. The study began on 01 July 2019 and lasts a total of 18 months.

What do you think about all this? Could this be a medical success? Write us your opinion below in the comments.

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About Author

Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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