Telepsychotherapy in the form of teleclinics - A proven treatment of trauma through exposure to remote virtual reality


In Quebec, providers of psychiatric services are challenged by an increased prevalence of mental problems and suicide on the remote areas. The possibilities provided by modern technological innovations could help to cover unmet needs and to complement traditional psychiatric services. Virtual reality (VR) is well validated as an exposure component to cognitive behavioural therapy in anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Furthermore, treatments improving coping skills with distress and emotion regulation are increasingly available; efficacy of some applications has been good even as self-management. The aim of this project is to provide adaptive VR treatments for trauma related symptoms. The target groups are Indigenous populations with limited access to specialized care and a need for cultural safety. This project is composed of three studies. First, we test feasibility and acceptability of mobile and VR treatments collecting and analyzing qualitative data among Inuit at the Ullivik centre. Second, we select with stakeholders psychometric instruments to describe symptoms and supportive factors related to psychological trauma. Using qualitative methods, we do translations, cultural adaptations and validation of these scales with Indigenous living in Montreal. Third, we validate psychophysiological measures. Lastly, we want to optimize telemedical device signals and to improve safety and quality of teleconnections between Ullivik and Nunavik communities. The therapy will be offered at home or at a teleclinic using psychophysiological monitoring and telecommunication to guide personalized treatments. The therapy can be complemented with self-management.