We are currently working in partnership with the Castilla la Mancha University in Spain, who are developing software to help individuals with social and behavioural difficulties. Users can practice social interaction with a virtual tutor, including facial expression reading. VR Therapies have been shown to not only improve patients’ social skills, but also prepare them for day to day activities, such as job Interviews.
By providing a VR headset to patients who are hospitalised, and often in pain, VR has shown to be a helpful tool to help them pass the time when recovering, as time tends to go very slow in hospitals. By helping inpatients feel more calm and relaxed while immersed in a virtual world, long and arduous periods of time, have allowed patients to feel less stressed which has been shown to be beneficial.
VR can help patients deal with fears. Confronting fears goes hand in hand with immersion therapy and Virtual Reality. Experts of CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy), have created a controlled, safe and easily stopped environment which is a highly realistic simulation. By gradually exposing patients to fear-inducing situations, the repetition of this process and by increasing the intensity levels of the therapy, patterns of avoidance can be broken. Professionals have shown that phobias can be drastically diminished and effective coping skills can be built so the patients can face their anxieties.
Virtual Reality is finding its foot in the treatment of PTSD in the USA, especially with army veterans. The use of VR in PTSD treatment has shown to significantly reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms in active duty combatants.
VR Surgical Training has allowed experienced doctors or medical students to take over tasks and practice without the risk of having a real patient. This technology enables trainee surgeons to gain valuable experience in a safe environment. They can learn skills and techniques without causing harm to patients and by receiving constant instruction and feedback, they can develop key skills which they can bring to live-saving situations. A surgical procedure performed on a virtual patient enables them to try new techniques or refresh dormant skills, plus if they make a mistake, then it is done without risk to themselves or a real patient.