VR training helps to better understand trauma in children
In Hampshire County, UK, VR training helps caregivers better understand traumatized children.
Virtual reality makes it possible to have rare or even impossible experiences. This includes a change of perspective: VR users can be put in the role of abuse victims, for example.
Understand in VR what others have experienced
In Hampshire, UK, caregivers train in VR. They experience various scenarios from the perspective of traumatized children. This training method helps caregivers understand the effects of traumatic experiences on young people. The focus is on child abuse, domestic violence, mental illness and substance abuse.
Psychologists Fischer and Riedesser define psychological trauma as an experience between threatening situational factors and individual coping options, which is accompanied by feelings of helplessness and defenselessness and thus causes a permanent shaking of the self-image and worldview. VR aims to make this process more comprehensible to outsiders.
Successful pilot project to be continued
Several social work teams have already been trained in the program’s pilot project over the past year. “The training places carers in a variety of scenarios, allowing them to feel and experience each of these from the child’s viewpoint,” explains Jack Slaymaker, director of training.
Experiencing the effects of trauma, abuse and neglect through the eyes of the child, he said, allows caregivers to adjust their behavior in a targeted and, at least virtually, experiential way.
The project has been very well received, says Richard Dooner of Antser, the company behind the VR training. The district administration probably feels the same way and has extended the project.
“Literally putting carers in the young person’s shoes allows them to connect with the situation and individual child’s experience and to feel it on a deeper level – reinforcing the child-centered approach that we advocate as a service,” Slaymaker sums up.