Immersive and experiential virtual reality platform that uses the Avatar Intervention to treat several psychiatric disorders such as mental disorders - Sound Matching Integration


Between 20% and 30% of the population will have a mental health problem in their lifetime. In Canada, psychiatric disorders (i.e., anxiety, depression, psychosis, substance abuse) represent annual costs of more than $50 billion in health care, social services and income support. This is without counting the additional costs of over $6 billion a year related to work absenteeism.

Using virtual reality (i.e., platform and VR headset), the Avatar Intervention is a dialogic and experiential therapy that aims to work on emotional regulation. Despite the promising results of Avatar Therapy for treatment-resistant schizophrenia, several questions remain about the technological conditions needed to deploy the Avatar Intervention in other pathologies. For patients with schizophrenia, the avatar is a representation of their hallucinations. Avatar Therapy will now have to be adapted to a population whose avatar will be a person of their entourage that represents, for instance, a risk factor of relapse. We therefore hypothesize that a better Lipsync animation (first project) and a more realistic system of emotions (second project) of the avatar will be necessary to create a good feeling of presence, an engaging dialogue and a sufficient emotional response for this new population with a different psychopathological profile. These technological improvements will be determined by iterations and experiments with both participants and therapists. In addition to pharmacological treatments, the Avatar Intervention, directly in line with the movement of personalized medicine, will revolutionize the psychotherapeutic treatments available in hospitals and clinics.