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Sources of effectiveness of the VR Tier One therapy

Joanna Pidanty - October 26, 2023 - 0 comments

VR TierOne is an effective form of psychological support and works well in eliminating the symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety. It helps in regaining commitment and increasing motivation to act. What makes the innovative VR TierOne therapy so effective? Let’s discover the sources of its effectiveness.

Virtual Reality

The immersive environments created by VR affect the mind. VR can make it easy to forget about staying in the real world. The effect of the sense of presence in VR can be used to achieve therapeutic impact. VR therapy can be highly effective because it allows the participant’s attention to be transferred to appropriate conditions. The world so created occupies the mind – what is virtual becomes an experience with a real power of influence. The effect of shifting attention allows, for example, to minimize pain. In turn, the therapeutic stimulus administered via VR becomes intensified. The patients, under the optimal conditions of the virtual Garden of Rebirth, really feel they are in therapy. Why are we reaching for VR? Because Virtual Reality works for activities that we cannot provide in the real world. when the environment is not conducive, when there is a lack of psychotherapists, when there is no possibility of providing strengthening experiences for mental health.

Green garden

Working in a garden, being surrounded by greenery, and even observing the garden area itself has a positive impact on human well-being. It is safe to say that a garden is approaching health. There are scientific reports on the impact of green areas on reduction of the risk of depression. Once patients of former hospitals could use hospital gardens, today this is not always possible. Participants of VR TierOne therapy have the opportunity to find themselves safely immersed in a beautiful environment, even if actual access to a real garden would be impossible. The carefully designed VR TierOne space becomes a place of therapy and evokes positive associations. Various styles of Japanese gardens were used to create the virtual environment. The motifs that appear are: green plants, colourful flowers, water, winding paths. Elements of small architecture inspired by Japan culture were also used: wooden garden doors, a wall with windows, a bridge, a stone lantern, a wooden stand with a gong. You can also notice the accents typical of the dry landscape of ZEN gardens – intricate patterns on the sand and carefully arranged stones. The beauty and symbolism of the picturesque Garden become part of therapeutic interactions. By staying in a secluded garden space and interacting with all its elements, the patient can achieve an appropriate attitude and mental balance.

The decorated gate that opens the Garden of Rebirth has the dimension of a symbolic passage.

Ericksonian psychotherapy

VR TierOne therapy utilizes elements of psychotherapy in the Ericksonian trend. Aid with use of the Erickson method focuses on solving a specific issue of the patient, without analyzing their past. The therapy is conducted using appropriate metaphorical stories. Metaphors and symbols used in VR TierOne therapy activate the participant’s unconscious internal resources necessary to overcome the problem, needed to cope with difficulties in the future. The metaphorical story draws attention to the current state and initiates the process of the required change. Ericksonian psychotherapy belongs to short-term therapies, the use of its assumptions renders it possible to support the patient during the two-week VR TierOne therapeutic cycle. A correctly constructed atmosphere of the virtual world is conductive to achieving a state of relaxation and increased focus on metaphorical communication flowing from the virtual therapist.

The immersive Virtual Reality, the aesthetics of the Japanese garden and elements of Ericksonian psychotherapy serve to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Relaxation music

The perception of the world of Virtual Reality takes place in a multisensorial way, mainly through the sense of sight, hearing and touch. After putting on the VR headset, the participant is immersed due to the flowing nature of the visual experience, and thanks to the included headphones also due to the acoustic experience. The sounds heard affect the mood and complement the image. The sounds of nature and music created by man can have a beneficial effect on the human body. Music that forms part of VR TierOne therapy has been composed taking into account its aesthetic and therapeutic values. The VR TierOne soundtrack is the result of the work of both a composer and a music therapist. Properly constructed electronic and instrumental music, pleasant ambient sounds and refined sounds accompanying the patient’s interaction with the virtual world relax or stimulate to act, depending on the exact timepoint of therapy. The high quality of the music layer contributes to the increase in the effectiveness of VR TierOne therapy.

Cognitive stimulation

The task of the participants of the therapy is to colour the image of the mandala using a controller, which is visualised in the virtual Garden as a wand. The therapy utilizes the possibilities of haptic interaction with the VR environment. The performance of the task with the controller is accompanied by the vibration encountered, when the wand touches the canvas. Haptics increase the degree of interaction with the VR world. Colouring the mandala helps to focus on the present moment, exercises memory and perceptiveness. The images are not random, they use the energy of colours and shapes, to boost aspects of life required to function in health and well-being. The tasks provided for participants of VR TierOne therapy give positive feedback after their completion. The completed task enhances the sense of agency. Completing the therapeutic cycle leads to a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety, strengthens mental health and improves well-being.

Cognitive stimulation based on colouring engages the patient to actively participate in therapy.

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