Facing your fears: Design of a VR tool for usage within exposure therapy for patients with social anxiety disorders combined with selected game-based elements

Asge Frederik Matthiesen, Lasse Juel Larsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems in Denmark with an estimated 350.000 sufferers. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) often begins in adolescence and has a considerable negative impact on the patient's life. The gold-standard treatment for SAD is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A central element in CBT is exposure therapy. During exposure the patient and practitioner gradually confront the feared stimuli. VR Exposure Therapy (VRET) utilizes virtual reality (VR) to provide an immersive and intense experience, comparable to the real world, for patients with anxiety disorders. This paper examines the development and design of two specific VR scenarios: “A Bench Scenario” with two people interacting with the patient and “An Employee Presentation” with four other people. The focus in this paper is regarding the design and development of the specific triggers used to provoke the fear stimuli within the patients with SAD and combined with game elements to enhance these triggers. These scenarios are developed and includes the usage of different game elements. These scenarios are to be tested in a larger RCT study combined with biometric data such as heart rate, sweat, and pulse sensors in order to measure anxiety levels. Both scenarios are to be interpreted in real-time and the scenarios can relay computer game inspired feedback to the practitioner. The overall goal of this project is: a) to shorten the treatment period for the patients, b) make a new approach for the current standard of treatment, and c) to lower the costs in treatment within the public sector. In the future the project will be able to target the specific anxiety triggers within the current patient. This research is a part of a larger project, called VR8, which is divided into several work-packages and between several partners.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th European Conference on Game Based Learning, ECGBL 2021
EditorsPanagiotis Fotaris
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Publication date2021
Pages844-853
ISBN (Print)978-1-914587-12-2
ISBN (Electronic)9781914587122
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event15th European Conference on Game Based Learning, ECGBL 2021 - Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 24. Sept 202025. Sept 2020

Conference

Conference15th European Conference on Game Based Learning, ECGBL 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityBrighton
Period24/09/202025/09/2020
SeriesProceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning
Volume2021-September
ISSN2049-0992

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