"I've talked to so many people over the years who have shared how Magic [The Gathering] has positively impacted their lives that I felt it was time to actually document some of this in an article."
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Dr. Jesse Wright, a psychiatrist with University of Louisville Physicians, has authored papers on the efficacy of computer-assisted therapy and offers the virtual reality therapy in his U of L office.
According to Wright, patients with a debilitating fear of flying need to confront that fear directly — not by relying on “avoidance behaviors” like pre-flight medication or alcohol.
“To really overcome it, you have to look the fear in the eye and say OK, this is nothing, really, that I need to be afraid of,” Wright said.
But therapists can’t go along with patients to help them get through it. That’s where the virtual reality therapy comes in.
New research shows how technology can be used to create an ideal setting for teaching skills to children with anxiety.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida’s Anxiety Disorders Clinic and the Atlanta-based company Virtually Better developed a new, one-of-a-kind computer simulation program that enables children to interact with avatars playing the roles of classmates, teachers and a principal.
The simulation, designed for children ages 8 to 12, allows clinicians to play the roles of the avatars while the children sit at a computer in a different room and respond to situations they encounter routinely.
gNats Island is designed to help adolescents overcome negative thoughts, anxiety, and depression. The graphic, character-based game is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
On the "island," players "meet" the negative automatic thoughts in the form of pesky "gNats" that have a "nasty sting." The Black and White gNat makes you think in extremes. The Complete Disaster gNat makes you think everything is a complete disaster, and so on. Almost 750 therapists in the U.S., Ireland and the UK have been trained to use the game with their young patients.
Josué Cardona's insight:
A six-week treatment option which uses a CBT-based video game at its core. The game is played in sessions alongside a trained therapist.
Empowered by her experience, Keegan wanted to share her "medicine for the mind" with U.S. military service members abroad.
In 2010, she founded the nonprofit Books for Troops, which has collected and mailed many thousands of paperbacks and magazines to service members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keegan formed the program in her garage. It's based on a simple premise: reading material can help ease the loneliness, stress and fear that some service members feel while under duress.
Lt. Bob Smith, a combat medic from New Orleans, told Keegan the comics helped distract him from the problems in Afghanistan and made him think of his childhood and home.
"The collection of comics is just what the doctor ordered," Smith wrote. "If you are able to send more like that, just know my team would be anxious to receive as much as you can send."