In 2017 Lana Wilson, documentary maker for National Geographic, among others, wanted to visualize new trauma treatment methods that are bringing forth spectacular effects. Thanks to producer TOPIC, this documentary can now be viewed online for free.
The documentary consists of four parts of about fifteen minutes each. Every part highlights a different sort of treatment, and part two focuses on the rather unusual anxiety disorder treatment done by Merel Kindt, for which she uses the sensory reality pod to re-visit traumatising events from the past.
Being awake for one of your dreams
As shown in the video below, sensory reality can be used as an essential tool for re-visiting past traumatic experiences, which is one of the key steps of treating or even curing emotional trauma. The pod can recreate the sensory experience that you felt during this traumatic event, helping the user to relive the experience in much more detail. War veteran Zayne describes this sensory reality experience as 'being awake for one of your dreams'.
Watch the documentary below:
About Merel Kindt:
Mw. prof. dr. M. (Merel) Kindt is a clinical psychologist at UVA (University of Amsterdam) who developed a new way to treat or even eliminate, phobias and the effects of emotional trauma. Her research is concerned with the understanding of neurobiological and psychological processes of fear and anxiety with the main focus on the mechanisms of change in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders. Although cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is effective in reducing fear for most anxiety disorders, a high percentage of patients experience a relapse even after apparently successful treatment. The prevailing view on the return of fear is that CBT can eliminate all fearful responding, but does not erase the original fear memory.
Partial or full reappearance of fear may be explained by intact fear memories that resurface. Once a fear memory has been established, it is held to be forever. Insights from neuroscience suggest that it is unnecessarily defeatist to regard fear memory as irreversible. Fear conditioning research in animals and humans shows that reactivation of a consolidated fear memory can turn it to a labile, sensitive state in which the memory trace can be changed.
Disruption of fear memory reconsolidation may prevent the return of fear and is thereby a promising therapeutic strategy for patients with anxiety and related disorders. We utilise the fear-conditioning paradigm to achieve a better understanding of the optimal and boundary conditions of changing fear memory. I believe that basic research is required for a step-change improvement of treatment for psychiatric disorders.