STRIVE: Preventing PTSD

I am doing my final project on a now form of therapy. The therapy involves using virtual reality to treat and possibly prevent PTSD. The therapy is called Virtual Reality Exposure therapy. It takes soldiers through traumatic events they may have experienced while at war. The program not only uses images but smells, vibrations, and props. The soldiers go thought this program with the guidance and care of doctor’s and counselors so they are able to deal with and work-though their traumatic experiences.  Since this form of therapy has been successful in treating PTSD a new program has been designed to prevent PTSD. The program is still virtual reality and is called STRIVE which stands for: Stress Resilience in Virtual Environments.  Instead if soldiers going through and dealing with events that already happened the soldiers are experiencing events they might face while at war. The goal of STRIVE is to emotionally prepare soldiers for battle. PTSD usually occurs when people experience or witness and traumatic event and are not able to fully process and deal with the feelings that event caused. STRIVE takes soldiers through possible traumatic events and with the help of doctors and counselors they are being taught how to process the emotions they may face. While active in the therapy the soldier sees, hears, and smells what it is like to be at war. This virtual world the soldiers experience is meant to represent a real world experience.  We spoke about material metaphors in class and I think this is exactly that. The virtual reality they are soldiers are experiencing are digital representations of real locations and experiences.  This is another way humans have evolved with technology. If this STRIVE program works it could help prevent a lot of solders from experiencing PTSD.  One reason I really like this form of therapy is that is not medication based. So many conditions are treated with medication it is refreshing to see one that is not chemically based. Because of I also think more soldiers would be willing to go through this program. The website says that large controlled trials are being done now to see how effective STRIVE is. I am really curious to see the results of this study. I think it could be a great tool for preventing a lot of soldier’s pain. I do have some concerns about the long-term effects this could have. This program is essentially altering their natural emotional responses to situations. I hope the program works out well there are many soldiers who experience PTSD and if it can be prevented I am all for it. If this program works for PTSD I wonder what other conditions it could possibly help resolve. Only time will tell if this material metaphor has had a positive effect in preventing PTSD.  I do not see any problem with ensuring soldiers are fully prepared when going to war that includes their physical and mental health.  Hopefully this program is successful and provided to more soldiers. I plan on following up on this program after I finish this project.

http://ict.usc.edu/prototypes/strive/

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Since 2008, at least at Ft. Bragg, soldiers coming back from deployments from combat zones (Iraq, Afghanistan) have to go through mandatory two week psychological evaluation.
    Still, soldiers tend to be less than forthright often because of the stigma of PTSD and sometimes because if there is something wrong, they are often put on medical profile (which is often perceived in a negative light towards that soldier)

    I was watching a news clip by ABC news where the Army is trying out a new program to in order to deal with PTSD. They use dogs as a medium to help soldiers.

    Great topic btw for your final project.

  2. Wow! I had no idea that this type of therapy exisited. STRIVE seems really helpful and i’m glad they are finding ways to help soldiers to get past their traumatic experiences from war. I can’t wait to learn more about it with your final project.

  3. I remember your presentation from the other day and this was a really interesting discussion. First I think the whole idea of preventing emotions is pretty incredible. I think yes, it’s a good idea to try and prepare soldiers for the reality of war but where will this technology stop? Will we soon be able prevent people from experiencing every type of emotion. I believe that feeling emotions good or bad is what makes us human. It forms us into who we are. This technology is important but hopefully it does not get taken too far.

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