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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2010 Feb;13(1):55-65.

Interreality in practice: bridging virtual and real worlds in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorders.

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  • 1Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab., Instituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.


The use of new technologies, particularly virtual reality, is not new in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD): VR is used to facilitate the activation of the traumatic event during exposure therapy. However, during the therapy, VR is a new and distinct realm, separate from the emotions and behaviors experienced by the patient in the real world: the behavior of the patient in VR has no direct effects on the real-life experience; the emotions and problems experienced by the patient in the real world are not directly addressed in the VR exposure. In this article, we suggest that the use of a new technological paradigm, Interreality, may improve the clinical outcome of PTSD. The main feature of Interreality is a twofold link between the virtual and real worlds: (a) behavior in the physical world influences the experience in the virtual one; (b) behavior in the virtual world influences the experience in the real one. This is achieved through 3D shared virtual worlds; biosensors and activity sensors (from the real to the virtual world); and personal digital assistants and/or mobile phones (from the virtual world to the real one). We describe different technologies that are involved in the Interreality vision and its clinical rationale. To illustrate the concept of Interreality in practice, a clinical scenario is also presented and discussed: Rosa, a 55-year-old nurse, involved in a major car accident.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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