PTSD Project: Thoughts/Notes 2
To research this space, I began with a few articles. I saw this recent piece in New York Magazine written by a former model. I also read some medical journal and articles about treatment methods. I wanted to see how Virtual Reality had progressed as a treatment method, and what other techniques were working.
I found that CBT(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) had been proven to have a lot of success. One common technique within that area is Exposure Therapy, where the patient confronts the place, memories and narrative of their trauma. That seemed pretty intense to me, but there had been some data expressing positive results. There’s another technique, called EMDR(Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) which passes some movement in front of your eyes as you recall your traumatic memory. The theory is that the eye stimuli help disassociate the memory. Here’s a video with the founder, Francine Shapiro. The production value, um, well, you can decide for yourself. However, it’s taken seriously enough to be considered for review. There is some skepticism though, since there is not clear proof that the eye movement part of the treatment has a direct effect.
I don’t want to make a treatment experience that rivals the sort of heavy lifting that you need to do with your doctor. I want to help with the in-between moments. The stressful or overwhelming feelings that happen between scheduled appointments.
Here are my two abstracts for prototype consideration:
Game 1: A clear plastic sphere with a 3-d printed otter that is graduated from white to blue. The sphere sits on a pedestal(orange pylon) and has a bottom weighted sensor. there are various magnets on the sphere, and you wear magnets on your fingers and try to keep the sphere steady. Your goal is to keep it steady for as long as you can. There are predictable transitions into different colors of glowing background so that you can casually identify your progress without becoming attached to the numbers of a clock.
Game 2: A clear cylinder, with a ping pong ball, much like a breathing test. However there is a goal median line, that you want the ball to hover at. You have to exhale for 4 seconds, at which point a pin is triggered to support the ball in place. After four seconds, the pin recedes, and you must inhale for 4 seconds to keep the ball aloft at which point, the pin comes out again. This guides you into the meditative practice of deep, intentional breathing.