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Virtual reality and imaginative techniques in clinical psychology.

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Laboratorio di Ricerche Psicologiche, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Verbania, Italy.


The great potential offered by Virtual Reality (VR) derives prevalently from the central role, in psychotherapy, occupied by the imagination and by memory. These two elements, which are fundamental in the life of every one of us, present absolute and relative limits to individual potential. Thanks to virtual experiences, it is possible to transcend these limits. The re-created world may at times be more vivid and real than the one that most subjects are able to describe through their own imagination and through their own memory. This chapter focuses on imaginative techniques to find new ways of applications in therapy. In particular the chapter analyses in which way VR can be used to improve the efficacy of current techniques. VR produces a change with respect to the traditional relationship between client and therapist. The new configuration of this relationship is based on the awareness of being more skilled in the difficult operations of recovery of past experiences, through the memory, and of foreseeing of future experiences, through the imagination. At the same time, the subject undergoing treatment perceives the advantage of being able to re-create and use a real experiential world within the walls of the clinical office of his own therapist.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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