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From virtual worlds to the therapist's office

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2 Author(s)
M. D. Wiederhold ; Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, CA, USA ; B. K. Wiederhold

The increasing recognition of the importance of emotional state in both disease and health makes imperative the need for health care providers to evaluate the psychological status of patients. In primary care medical practice, between 30 and 60% of complaints prompting visits to the physician's office have a significant emotional component. In addition, rates of depressive illness are estimated to be as high as 20% in the general population. Prompt recognition of anxiety, depression, personality disorder, and psychosis is important for correct interpretation of historical and physical findings during examination and evaluation of patients. The establishment of a caring and trusting relationship is crucial so that patients can comfortably express concerns, and so that a discussion leading to an agreeable therapeutic plan can be decided upon. This process has traditionally taken place in the one-on-one format between the health care provider and patient. Many physicians and therapists are interested in exploring whether virtual reality can augment the therapeutic process, and thus improve diagnostic capabilities

Published in:

IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 2 )