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by William Schroeder
I am always scanning news for innovative treatments in mental health and several things recently came out that are quoted as being a “game changers.” Recently a company called Oculus Rift hit the press with their smashing success on Kickstarter for some very innovative and affordable virtual reality headsets. This technology will give therapists another tool to be able to combat a number of things like PTSD for returning soldiers to people who suffer from a wide range of phobias.
Personally I am excited about this because I am a tech geek at heart and I think there are a number of ways this could be useful. Almost any scenario that causes you anxiety or that caused you PTSD could be recreated to work through with a clinician to help create new responses to the stimulus. This could be a relationship that ended badly, a crime scene gone awry, or even an olympian training for the world stage. The Verge has had a similar idea about this and called it Virtual Reality Therapy. Either way, technology is bringing some promising ways to combat some issues that previously had been more difficult to treat.
Another area of high tech which is has great potential is fMRI. It visually displays what areas of our brain are stimulated by pain, thoughts, and emotions. This technology gives us the potential to rewire our brain a bit like a much more advanced version of neurofeedback. In a recent Ted Talk, Christopher deCharms walks the audience through potential applications of this burgeoning field. As a therapist, this would be incredible to use (if affordable) as I think it would inspire patients to be able to see their real time progress. The example in the Ted Talk shows how someone could tune their response to chronic pain.
Oculus Rift seems to be the most promising of these technologies due to the price point being so low. The company is focused on trying to cheaply get this into the hands of developers so they can create new innovative uses for it. Meanwhile the company can work to reduce the price point even further to make it available to a broader market. Either way, I am excited for future of technology and its potential application in mental health.
Brought to you by Just Mind, counselors in Austin who are working to provide their clients with the best care possible. If you liked this post, you can also check out A Holistic View on Health and The Therapeutic Fart.