Interactive highly realistic virtual reality as a tool for understanding the genesis and treatment of psychotic symptoms
Zányi E., Selmanovic E., Broome M., Czanner S., Birchwood M., Chalmers A., Singh S.
Schizophrenia can be a devastating lifelong psychotic disorder with a poor prognosis. National guidelines in the UK recommend the provision of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to all those suffering with psychotic disorders, but there is a lack of trained therapists in the UK able to provide such a treatment. Developing high quality automated technologies that can serve as an adjunct to conventional CBT should enhance the provision of this therapy, and increase the efficiency of the therapists in practice. The latter will occur by enabling alternate professionals to aid in the delivery of therapy, to enable behavioral experiments to be conducted in the clinic, and for sessions to be recorded and re-played such that the patient can deliver therapy to him or herself. As such the system will enable patients to become experts in, and providers of, their own treatment and decrease the number of sessions needed to be led by a trained CBT therapist. A key feature of any such system is the level of realism required to ensure a compelling session in which the user is not adversely affected by the system itself. This paper presents a high-fidelity virtual environment to help better understand the environmental triggers for psychosis.