virtual cure for anxiety
Did anybody else see this UMNnews article about the Fairview-University Anxiety Disorders Clinic using virtual reality simulations to help cure anxiety?
Reminds me of some of Turkle's chapters.
For nearly a year the clinic has been using virtual reality to desensitize patients to experiences that provoke fear and anxiety. The key is to repeat the exposure many times in a session, which can't be done for real when the anxiety involves things like flying and public speaking, the two major foci of current therapies. Other programs treat fear of storms, heights, closed spaces, and being interviewed.
"Immersion is everything for this to be a viable therapy," says clinic director Matt Kushner, a University associate professor of psychiatry. "We match the sights and sounds of the real experience." Afterward, patients tell the therapists what worked and what didn't. For example, fear-of-flying patients have said that the vibrations in the floor were important in making the experience realistic. Without realism, patients are unlikely to feel afraid and therefore cannot become desensitized to their fear. The therapists also teach other techniques to deal with anxiety, such as relaxation exercises.