Virtual Reality Helping Soldiers With PTSD
University of Southern California has recently created a virtual reality program that enables veterans to relive the terrors of war all with the goal of helping them recover from that trauma.
The virtual experience places the veteran inside of a virtual world that possesses a chair that vibrates, VR glasses and war smells such as burning rubber and diesel. The whole point is to get the former soldier to relive the trauma again, however they’re doing this in a safe environment and they have a counselor there to help talk them through what’s going on.
It’s called “Bravemind” and it was created by Dr. Skip Rizzo at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies.
Rizzo said, “Essentially my goal is to drag psychology kicking and screaming into the 21st century.” A U.S. Marine, Christopher Merkle tried going back to his typical every day life after spending 10 years in the Marines.
Unfortunately, he was consumed by his post traumatic stress disorder.
Merkle said, “It just got to a point where it was inhibiting my functioning, going back to school, dealing with family, dealing with friends. It got to the point where I had to reach out for help”.
He tried “Bravemind” and thought that it really helped him push through his struggles. He said, “It’s a form of treatment I thought would be more effective,” he said. “It would get right to the problem. I said I’m not a very good talker about deep issues. I knew this would force me to bring out these issues.”
This virtual reality therapy usually demands 10 sessions and is currently being utilized at 60 different locations across the country, including Veterans Administration hospitals.
More research is underway as engineers, psychologists and a slew of people are hoping that virtual reality’s creating of real life situations can help lots of veterans who are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and people in general who are suffering some form of post traumatic stress.