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Development of a theory-based applied game for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: proof of feasibility

  • Agali Mert
  • Rudolf Buirma
  • Justin van Luijk
  • Gor Melkonian
  • Joeri Pels
  • Eric Vermetten

Abstract

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a potentially debilitating psychiatric condition causing severe distress and significant loss of productive employment years. In a recent experiment we developed a therapeutic virtual reality protocol based on already proven successful non-pharmacological theories for treatment of this disorder. The initial immersive virtual-reality sequence was developed on the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation ENvironment (CAREN) and is called 3MDR: military motion-assisted memory desensitization and reprocessing. Furthermore the 3MDR sequence uses principles of cognitive behavioral therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. After performing a proof of concept the 3MDR-sequence was translated into an applied game called “Achilles Initiative: the Battle for Sector 1”. Central in the applied game is that subjects, prior to playing the game deliver pictures of high emotional affect, that are loaded into the game. As such the game uses principles of augmented virtuality. In the game the participant passes several distinct phases: preparatory, therapeutic and mental cooling down phase. Afterwards a debriefing with the therapist is performed. The game can be run automated, but a therapist is always present. The development process and the feasibility of this game for therapy, based on preliminary patient experiences are discussed.

PTSD, 3MDR, CAREN, Serious Game, EMDR, Military 

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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agali Mert
    • 1
  • Rudolf Buirma
    • 2
  • Justin van Luijk
    • 2
  • Gor Melkonian
    • 2
  • Joeri Pels
    • 2
  • Eric Vermetten
    • 3
  1. 1.Support Command, Military RehabilitationMinistry of DefenseDoornThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Utrecht School of the ArtsHilversumThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Support Command, Military Mental Health UnitMinistry of DefenseUtrechtThe Netherlands

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