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20 January 2011

PTSD therapy in a virtual world

(Please see update at the end of this post.)

You may have heard about virtual reality being used to help people with PTSD. Until now, I hadn't had any exposure to the idea, but then I saw this article talking about the T2 Virtual PTSD Experience.  It's an island in Second Life that's set up to allow you to get information on PTSD in a very interactive setting.  In order to get there, you need to sign up for a free account on Second Life, download the software, and login.  Once you're logged in, you get a short interactive tour to learn how to move around in Second Life, and a chance to set up your avatar.

More detailed instructions are here (t2health.org).  There's a video there that describes how the experience is set up, and what to expect when you get there (watching it convinced me to try visiting.)

I think one of the most helpful things about the Experience is that you're anonymous-- you can set up whatever username you want, dress the way you want, and unless you engage in conversation, it's a solo experience.  You will probably see other avatars walking around, so you're not technically alone, but you aren't required to interact with anyone.  I found it to be a good experience, although there were a few times in the mall that I was startled by images and noise-- but that's how the real world can be.

There is also a conference center, and even a bar in the mall.   The Experience may be a good place for vets to meet up without all of the stuff the real world adds on.  Hmm.

Anyway, go check it out.

Article on defense.gov:  http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62501

Everything you need to know to get started: http://www.t2health.org/vwproj/index.htm

Second Life:  http://www.secondlife.com

Update:  since writing this post, I've had two comments posted regarding Fearless Nation (http://fearless-nation.org/), including one from Colleen M. Crary, the founder of the organization-- definitely go check them out by clicking on the comments link below.


The use of virtual reality to cope with PTSD is still really new to me.  My first experience with the concept was a few days ago when I initially wrote this post, and I'd never come across Fearless Nation's website (or presence in Second Life).  If anyone has any additional virtual reality and PTSD resources that are publicly available, please let me know and I'll be very happy to pass the word.

2 comments:

  1. This is extremely similar to the work the non-profit Fearless Nation PTSD Support has been doing in Second Life for the last two years.

    Fearless Nation is for *all* PTSD sufferers, not just U.S. military, and FN's resources available to help people learn to deal with their PTSD are much broader and more scientifically based.

    Check them out at http://www.fearless-nation.org/FearlessNationHome.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fearless Nation PTSD Support - First in Second Life :-)

    Hello,

    I have built and run two PTSD support sims in Second Life since 2009, and the "Psychological Health Island" created by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, also known as T2, has had representatives visit my sims or islands for the last 12 months, taking pictures and information, and they have imitated many of the offerings I have created there.

    I would like my organization to be recognized as the first or one of the first to have made a safe place for trauma patients to recover.

    My 501c3 organization, Fearless Nation PTSD Support, has virtual group meetings, events, educational and awareness-raising areas specifically designed and science-based for trauma recovery. You can find out more by seeing our press page and photographs and video of our sims/islands. We help many people with
    PTSD, their families too, and have been doing so for quite some time.

    2009 press release:
    http://ptsd-news.blogspot.com/2009/11/ptsd-awareness-event-coming-to-second.html
    Our link in Second Life:
    http://slurl.com/secondlife/OAK%20BEACH/73/107/43 (Contact Anya Ibor in SL)

    Our videos:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KmJ5cMLyE4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPw2MjsNd1g
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtDEoyioyf0

    Our Flikr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/groups/fearlessnation/

    Pertinent Website Press and information pages:
    http://www.fearless-nation.org/VirtualSupport.html
    http://www.fearless-nation.org/InSecondLife.html


    Thank you,

    Colleen M. Crary, M.A.
    Founder and Executive Director
    FEARLESS NATION PTSD SUPPORT, Inc.
    ~ A 501c3 Non Profit Organization ~
    www.fearless-nation.org
    BeFearlessToday@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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