Previously, I documented a bit about health and video games before, and now it’s worth noting that the Canadian military is going to start using video games to treat PTSD. They’ll be utilizing a virtual reality space to recreate what caused the traumatic stress in the first place.
The new therapy method puts soldiers in a computer-animated situation that recreates the specific incident that left the soldiers traumatized. A therapist then helps the soldiers to work through their memories.
The VR therapy was pioneered by Dr. Skip Rizzo at the University of Southern California. He says that “the research shows, pretty consistently over the years, that by having the person gradually imagine or be exposed in VR to events in the traumatic memories, that they’re able to process emotional memories.”
The American military has been using the VR-based treatment for PTSD for years and has seen success with their program.
Health care is an ever-expanding industry so it makes sense that the world of games and health will intersect.
For an introduction to the complexities of health care in the developed world and how we can start seeing how games can impact it watch this keynote by Ben Swayer at the most recent Games for Health – Europe conference.
When it comes to general care there have been some attempts like WiiFit that brought the idea of games connected to health to the mainstream. The connection between professional game designers and health care practitioners can better bridge the divide between for-profit and for-health care. The ideal is people play games that are fun in itself, and it just so happens that the games are about (or for) healthy living.