A therapy system for post-traumatic stress disorder using a virtual agent and virtual storytelling to reconstruct traumatic memories

Myrthe L. Tielman, Mark A. Neerincx, Rafael Bidarra, Ben Kybartas, Willem-Paul Brinkman
Journal of Medical Systems, Volume 41, Number 8, page 125 - aug 2017
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Although post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is well treatable, many people do not get the desired treatment due to barriers to care (such as stigma and cost). This paper presents a system that bridges this gap by enabling patients to follow therapy at home. A therapist is only involved remotely, to monitor progress and serve as a safety net. With this system, patients can recollect their memories in a digital diary and recreate them in a 3D WorldBuilder. Throughout the therapy, a virtual agent is present to inform and guide patients through the sessions, employing an ontology-based question module for recollecting traumatic memories to further elicit a detailed memory recollection. In a usability study with former PTSD patients (n = 4), these questions were found useful for memory recollection. Moreover, the usability of the whole system was rated positively. This system has the potential to be a valuable addition to the spectrum of PTSD treatments, offering a novel type of home therapy assisted by a virtual agent.

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BibTex references

@Article { TNBKB17,
  author       = "Tielman, Myrthe L. and Neerincx, Mark A. and Bidarra, Rafael and Kybartas, Ben and Brinkman, Willem-Paul",
  title        = "A therapy system for post-traumatic stress disorder using a virtual agent and virtual storytelling to reconstruct traumatic memories",
  journal      = "Journal of Medical Systems",
  number       = "8",
  volume       = "41",
  pages        = "125",
  month        = "aug",
  year         = "2017",
  note         = "https://doi.org/10.1007/s10916-017-0771-y",
  url          = "http://graphics.tudelft.nl/Publications-new/2017/TNBKB17"
}

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