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HRSA GRANT PROVIDES VIRTUAL REALITY THERAPY AT HOPEHEALTH

FLORENCE, S.C. (May 20, 2019) – Behavioral health team members at HopeHealth recently completed training on virtual reality exposure therapy and have begun using the treatment in Behavioral Health Services at HopeHealth on Palmetto Street.

Virtual reality therapy uses body tracking devices, visual displays, and vibrotactile sensory input to immerse patients in a real-time computer-generated virtual environment. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of virtual reality technology for treating a variety of difficulties. It is used as a tool to enhance cognitive-behavioral therapy and is a successful and time-limited treatment for a number of psychological difficulties.

“Exposure therapy has been used for decades as a highly effective, evidence-based treatment for anxiety disorders including phobias, social anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder,” said Farrah Hughes, director of Behavioral Health Services at HopeHealth. “With this virtual reality equipment, our therapists can make this highly effective treatment more widely available to those who need it.”

Hughes and members of the HopeHealth behavioral health team were trained on-site in early April by psychologist Dr. Judith Cukor, an expert in virtual reality exposure therapy from Cornell, and Jonathan Huff, a technology engineer from Virtually Better, Inc.

The technology was purchased with funds from a grant provided by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and means that therapists in behavioral health have access to the latest technology to enhance psychotherapeutic treatment. The treatment can be used for:

  • Exposure therapy for phobias and various traumatic experiences
  • Relapse prevention training for substance use disorders
  • Exposure therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder, particularly for combat veterans
  • Mindfulness training

This technology also provides immersive relaxation and mindfulness training to help overcome symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other difficulties, and to improve emotional well-being.

HopeHealth behavioral health team members recently completed training on virtual reality exposure therapy. The therapy is now used in Behavioral Health Services at HopeHealth on Palmetto Street in Florence to help with phobias, trauma, substance use disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and mindfulness training.

Dr. Farrah Hughes, director of Behavioral Health Services at HopeHealth, participates in virtual reality exposure therapy training. The therapy allows counselors to help with phobias, trauma, substance use disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and mindfulness training through immersion in virtual environments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LaToyia “Tori” Hughes, a behavioral health consultant at the HopeHealth Medical Plaza participates in virtual reality exposure therapy training. The therapy allows counselors to help with phobias, trauma, substance use disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and mindfulness training through immersion in virtual environments.

Meridith Graham, a behavioral health consultant at HopeHealth in Kingstree, participates in virtual reality exposure therapy training. The therapy allows counselors to help with phobias, trauma, substance use disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and mindfulness training through immersion in virtual environments.


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HopeHealth

HopeHealth educates its patients on the importance of having a health care home. As a primary care facility, HopeHealth’s medical team works to prevent and detect illness and the early onset of disease, provide routine physical examinations and promote overall healthy lifestyles.

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HopeHealth 360 North Irby St. Florence, SC 29501 (843) 667-9414
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