At Resilience Across Borders, Inc., we believe the application of technology can increase access to quality mental health care for children. We strive to conduct research on two types of technologies: 1) Telemental health and 2) Augmented reality.
We seek to contribute to research regarding the application of telemental health for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children and adolescents including exposure therapy.
Telemental health can increase client accessibility to treatment. It also increases attendance and promotes the engagement of multiple family members in treatment. Providing services within a client’s own home may also serve to reduce mental health stigma, which is a significant barrier to care. We see promise in the application of telemental health for lower-income clients who may not have access to transportation or live in rural areas where resources are limited. Telemental health allows evidence-based psychotherapy to be provided in schools or homes, which in turn increases the generalizability of treatment gains.
We are enthusiastic about the use of technology to strengthen the benefits of psychotherapy, specifically exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves facing one’s fears by gradually confronting objects or situations that cause anxiety. AR differs from virtual reality in that it imposes objects within a client’s actual surroundings and allows viewers to interact directly with the feared stimuli. For example, using AR clients with a spider phobia may view a spider crawling on their hands with the use of wearable holographic technology.
AR addresses many of the limitations of the feasibility and tolerability of exposure therapy. For example, it is often difficult to acquire and maintain feared stimuli (e.g., insects or snakes) and to keep them in appropriate environments). Another benefit of AR is that it may increase clinician’s control of feared stimuli. The idea of facing feared stimuli can be frightening to clients and AR has the potential to increase the tolerability of exposure to anxious clients by allowing them to gradually face such stimuli in a more controlled and less threatening environment.
Resilience Across Borders strives to contribute to this burgeoning field by researching the effectiveness of using AR to enhance exposure therapy for the treatment of anxiety disorders.