Blog

Tjeu Theunissen - 15-10-2018

Virtual reality

Virtual reality used as a treatment method for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

U-Center is constantly innovating its treatment methods to provide the best possible care. At U-center, a new Virtual Reality (VR) product is being developed to make trauma treatment more effective. With Virtual Reality glasses, patients enter a virtual world in which the senses can be stimulated better and more accurately. Specifically, the VR tool helps in the further improvement of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, a proven and widely used treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). With this, U-center has found collaboration with the company 'SilVRmind', that focuses on specialized care for patients with problems such as PTSD. The founder of SilVRmind, Tjeu Theunissen, is a researcher at Maastricht University and psychologist working at U-center for EMDR treatment. Tjeu says that the VR implementation is a challenging process that requires a lot of caution. Patients remember and / or re-experience their trauma in their own unique way; individual differences in emotional- and memory processing have to be considered. A first scientific study compares the VR EMDR therapy with traditional (non-VR) EMDR in reduction of trauma- complaints. The first findings seem to be positive. In addition to an effective reduction of distress related to the traumatic memories, patients report to feel more comfortable in sharing emotionally charged stories.