About VR8

 

VR8 builds on existing knowledge and best practice for treating patients with anxiety. The aim of the project is to develop a treatment method that can fill the gap between talking about it or imagining the situation one is afraid of and actually exposing oneself to the situation. Until now, using VR for exposure has proven to be as effective as traditional exposure therapy. However, research is lacking on how to exploit the potential of VR to create better and more individualized treatment. In VR8, we try to link an automated biofeedback system with the VR exposure treatment. That is, during the treatment itself the patients heart rate, sweat, respiration and eye movements will be recorded in order to assess the patient’s current anxiety level. The anxiety level can then be used to adapt the exposure exercise so that the patient does not stay in a too light exercise but at the same time does not exceed the patient’s boundries. 
The aim of the treatment method is therefore also to provide easier and cheaper acces to treatment for patients. 

The VR8 project consists of 5 workpackages. The workpackages each make up the different steps in the process of using virtual reality exposure therapy for social anxiety. The different workpackages will contribute to the development, testing, evaluating and implementation of the VR treatment.

The project is rooted in Centre for Telepsychiatry, Mental Health Services in the Region of Southern Denmark, but each work package draws on experts in the given field. Through this, SDU is represented with both the Maersk McKinney Møller Institute (MMMI), the Clinical Institute, the Department of Psychology, and the CIMT – Center for Innovative Medical Technology. The project is furthermore in collaboration with iMotion

Work package 1: ‘Management and dissemination’:

The overall management of VR8 which runs across all work packages.

The development of a virtuel reality-based exposure program that can be linkd to automated bio-feedback.

The clinical trial of the VR8 system.

Preparing for implementation in the psychiatry field.

Cost-effectiveness analyses of the VR8 treatment.

This new technology creates a crucial link between "talking about the problem" and "acting in real life". This link is in demand by both patients and therapists when the typical psychology treatment is not sufficient.
Mia Beck Lichtenstein
Head of Research at Centre for Telepsychiatry, Telepsychiatry Research Unit.
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