Popular Science, Engadget Cover ICT’s Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy

Published: October 7, 2014
Category: News

Popular Science Magazine notes that virtual reality has been used as a treatment for post-traumatic stress and cites Skip Rizzo, whose team has built a system for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which participants could be subjected–under a clinician’s care–to more than a dozen different scenarios from the Middle East.
To create the most immersive VR therapy experience, Rizzo incorporates extra sensory stimuli. He adds realistic sounds such as boots on gravel, military banter, and even indigenous birdsong, the story states.
Engadget also covered this story, adding that the system been adopted by over 60 facilities, including military bases, university centers and VA hospitals. It allows therapists to recreate a trauma in a controlled environment. By leveraging virtual reality headgear (though not specifically the Oculus Rift), directional audio, force feedback and olfactory stimuli, a trained therapist can help patients confront their trauma at their own pace.
Researchers think the system could be used to help prevent trauma as well, and are working on adapting it into a training program for both stress resilience and PTS diagnosis, notes the story.