Although the term ‘VR for Good’ became popular only recently, virtual reality has been used for good causes since the early 1990ies when the psychologist Ralph Lamson explored the medical and therapeutic aspects of VR resulting in a successful treatment in about 90 % of Lason’s virtual reality therapy (VRT) patients (Lamson, 1994; Lamson, 1997).

Since then VR has been applied in various other therapeutic treatments such as virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) which is inter alia used in the military sector to help soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to normalise the experiences they went through during combat by recreating similar scenarios in an interactive virtual environment (Friedrich, 2016). Also several phobias (of heights, flying, spiders, etc.) were successfully cured using VRET (Page & Coxon, 2016). Virtual reality even helps reducing stress in children having vaccine injections (Graham, 2017).

In the charity sector VR is known as an empathy tool. After the successful 360-degree video ‘Clouds Over Sidra’ which helped UNICEF recruit twice as many donors as usually, other charities started adopting VR for their campaigns as well (Slack, 2015; Sydell, 2017). More interactive and personalised charity experiences like Virtual Village will bring VR for Good to the next level.

Vera Grablechner
Founder / CEO, Virtual Village 

 

Bibliography

Friedrich, K. (2016) Therapeutic Media: Treating PTSD with Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy. MediaTropes, 6 (1), pp.86–113.

Graham, P. (2017) Pilot Study Finds VR Reduces Stress in Children Having Vaccine Injections. VRFocus. Available from: <http://www.vrfocus.com/2017/01/pilot-study-finds-vr-reduces-stress-in-children-having-vaccine-injections/> [Accessed 1 February 2017].

Lamson, R.J. (1994) Virtual Therapy of Anxiety Disorders. CyberEdge, (20).

Lamson, R.J. (1997) Virtual Therapy: Prevention and Treatment of Psychiatric Conditions by Immersion in Virtual Reality Environments. Polytechnic International Press.

Page, S. & Coxon, M. (2016) Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: Small Samples and No Controls? Frontiers in Psychology, 7. Available from: <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4786550/> [Accessed 1 February 2017].

Slack, B. (2015) Is virtual reality the future of face-to-face fundraising? [Internet]. Available from: <https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2015/dec/21/virtual-reality-future-face-to-face-fundraising> [Accessed 1 February 2017].

Sydell, L. (2017) Can Virtual Reality Make You More Empathetic? [Internet]. Available from: <http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/01/09/508617333/can-virtual-reality-make-you-more-empathetic> [Accessed 1 February 2017].

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