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In-Depth: Therapeutic VR In 2018 Is No Longer Just a Distraction

May 18, 2018

VR could soon be a resource in treating a different kind of recurring fear as well. Digital health therapeutic company Pear Therapeutics’ pipeline includes reCALL for PTSD, an immersive, experimental VR treatment that would be prescribed in conjunction with pharmaceuticals to reduce patients’ psychological trauma. So far, pilot studies have shown a “marked improvement” in PTSD scores among patients using the VR therapy compared to standard care alone.

Placing veterans or others with the condition back into a simulated version of a traumatic event might sound counterintuitive, but according to USC Davis School of Gerontology professor Albert “Skip” Rizzo, experiencing a version of the events in which they have greater control can provide a sense of resolution.

“Exposure therapy is an ideal match with VR,” Rizzo said during an NBC interview on the subject. “You can place people in provocative environments and systematically control the stimulus presentation. In some sense it’s the perfect application because we can take evidence-based treatments and use it as a tool to amplify the effect of the treatment.”

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