Virtual Reality Therapy as an Adjunct to Pain Management

BECAUSE MANY CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS STILL EXPERIENCE pain on narcotics, it is evident that pharmacologic therapy is only part of the solution to pain management. The continued and growing recognition of psychological and social factors in pain management requires consideration of additional approaches to this complex, multimodal problem. A very effective approach, cognitive behavioral therapy, works to shift negative thoughts on pain to positive and empowering ones. Distraction techniques, such as meditation, hypnosis, and guided imagery, aim to divert attention away from pain altogether. Virtual reality (VR) is an especially effective medium for distraction (1), where the borders of reality can be modified in ways that enhance the therapeutic process. VR systems are also compatible with biosensors and brain imaging devices, making a comprehensive assessment of the global effects of pain and chronic pain syndromes possible. Furthermore, witnessing how their own brains react to pain, medication, and pain-reducing stimuli can help sufferers learn to control how they perceive pain (2).

Volumes 19 and 20 of the Annual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine just published

On behalf of Professor Brenda K Wiederhold and Professor Giuseppe Riva, we are pleased to announce that Volumes 19 and 20 of the Annual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine are now online.

The journal is published annually (once per year) by our non-profit affiliate, the Interactive Media Institute (IMI) – a 501c3 non profit organization – dedicated to bringing together interdisciplinary researchers from around the world to create, test, and develop clinical protocols for the medical and psychological community – in cooperation with Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, hosting and maintaining the ARCTT website.

ARCTT is an Open Access journal that does not charge readers or their institutions for access.  Please enjoy reading our catalog of 20 Volumes (2003 to 2022) found on the ARCTT site.


How to Cope With Flight Anxiety Post-COVID

During the pandemic, most travel was restricted. A lot of us were confined to our homes or the occasional local walk and for some this became a comfort zone of sorts….


How to Cope With Flight Anxiety Post COVID

Virtual Reality may provide a solution for many.

Used in the U.S., Europe and Asia for over 25 years, Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy offers

a bridge between the imaginal world and the real world setting that has been shown to be

a more comfortable and effective starting point for many seeking to overcome their fears and

phobias.  For more information, contact us at



Virtual Reality Helps Patients with Flying Phobias

Facing Your Fears Virtually

Virtual Reality Exposure Helps Overcome Fears


“Last September, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and flew from California to Vermont. This was the first time I had flown in years.”

Like many people with aviophobia, Gaustad hadn’t always been afraid of flying. “We actually flew quite a bit. But on a flight to Las Vegas, our plane hit a few air pockets… enough turbulence to throw things around a bit… and although everything turned out okay, I got real real panicky and said, ‘I’m not going to be able to do this again.'” Sure enough, Gaustad and her family traveled by car, bus or train throughout the next decade.

Knowing the anniversary trip was coming up, Gaustad decided to do something about her phobia and learned that virtual reality therapy was available through her company’s employee benefits. “I only met with Brenda seven or eight times before the therapy worked on me,” she recalls. “In fact, before the sessions were completely over, I had already booked our flights to Vermont.”

“Yes I did feel sort of weird when I wasn’t flying, like there was someting wrong with me,” Gaustad admits. “It was important that my husband understood my problem. Be patient and work through this together.”

Contact us at to learn more.

Selected as Best National Digital Solution for the International Award in Health and Well-Being


Milan/San Diego/Salzburg

2 November 2020

Professor Giuseppe Riva, Professor Brenda K Wiederhold and Dr. Luca Bernardelli are pleased to announce that COVID Feel Good HAS BEEN SELECTED AS BEST NATIONAL DIGITAL SOLUTION FOR THE INTERNATIONAL AWARD IN THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING CATEGORY.

Smart content combined with optimized utilization of state-of-the-art technology offers immense opportunities to close global and local divides and the achievement of the UN SDGs. COVID Feel Good was nominated as best national digital solution for Italy for the international WSA Award, selecting digital innovations with a positive impact on society.  With this nomination in the Category Health and Well-being, COVID Feel Good qualifies for evaluation by the WSA Online Jury 2020 among over 340 international nominations – showcasing the global dimension of digital innovation, from Canada to Indonesia, from Finland to Mozambique.

The WSA nominees 2020 show the richness, diversity, future, and innovation of digital solutions on a global scale and prove how digital technology can improve society on each corner of the world.

COVID Feel Good has been selected as best national digital solution for Italy for the international WSA.  But it reaches beyond the borders of Italy and has become a truly international effort, with over 10 countries now participating in this Positive Technology initiative.

Living in the time of the coronavirus means experiencing not only a global health emergency but also extreme psychological stress that puts a strain on our identity and our relationships.

COVID Feel Good is a weekly social self-help protocol based on a virtual reality experience, requiring just twenty minutes daily, helping you in relieving anxiety and stress and improving well-being and social connectedness. 

It is FREE and it requires just TWENTY MINUTES everyday for a week.

VR Video, Protocol and Instructions in English, Español, Français, Português do Brasil, Italiano, 한국인, 日本語, Deutsche, Català and Türkçe are available below.

Please help us in spreading this protocol by posting in your social accounts our videos (in English, Spanish, French, Brasilian/Portoguese, Italian, and Catalan)

The WSA 2020 nominees will be evaluated based on seven fundamentals criteria: Content, Functionality, Design, Technology, Innovation, Impact and Value.

WSA combines two major perspectives in its initiative – first the commitment of the UN SDGs, and how to use ICTs for development.  And second the development of a global knowledge society. The UN SDGs must be our measurement – in terms of what to look at and where to look. Today we are living in a completely different environment – through the mobile revolution, through the emergence of the algorithmic age – data has become capital just as much as labour, land, money and machinery. Hence, it is more important than ever to fully evaluate what excellent content is and what it really offers in terms of solutions and impact. Qualitative, local content has become the key and permanent issue. WSA presents innovation that uses ICT for social connectivity. To connect for impact.“ WSA Chairman Peter A. Bruck states.

The WSA nominees are selected carefully and highly competitively by the WSA National Experts from more than 184 UN member states. The WSA National Experts nominate up to eight projects for each country – one for every WSA category.

A nomination to the WSA hence is already an award in itself – the qualification to compete and compare on an international level and being the best practice in Health and Well-being nationally.

About the WSA

The WSA is a global initiative within the framework of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). WSA is the only ICT event worldwide that reaches the digital driven social impact community in over 180 countries. WSA highlights digital content that is improving society and focuses on local content with global relevance.

Visit us on, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, #WSA20

Media Contact WSA:

Manuela Wagner

WSA Global Community Manager



Help us to help bring healing to people around the globe:

 Professor Giuseppe Riva

Scientific Coordination

Catholic University of Sacred Heart

Istituto Auxologico Italiano

Milan, Italy


Professor Brenda K. Wiederhold

Clinical Coordination

Virtual Reality Medical Center

Interactive Media Institute, a 501c3 non-profit

Licensed Clinical Psychologist in U.S. and Belgium


Dr. Luca Bernardelli

VR Development Coordination

CEO, Become-Hub

Milan, Italy




Management of Psychological Stress in Nurses and Teachers

The recent convergence between technology and medicine is offering innovative methods and tools for behavioral health care. Among these, an emerging approach is the use of virtual reality (VR) within exposure-based protocols for anxiety disorders, and in particular posttraumatic stress disorder. In a randomised controlled clinical trial funded by the European Commission, our team was able to show that Virtual Reality enhanced treatment is able to significantly reduce stress, while increasing coping skills.


Staying Healthy and Safe Going Back to School with COVID

Going back to school can be as stressful for your kids as it is for you. But you can help make things easier by helping your children be ready well in advance of the first day of class. Being informed is the first step in staying healthy and safe going back to school. Learn all you can about the best way to keep your kids safe from the virus as well as other illnesses.

Some of the most obvious tips that we have been hearing over and over again on the news are actually some of the best ways to stay safe. Washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer, staying at least six feet away from everyone, keeping your hands away from your face, and wearing the proper face covering are the top five tips from the CDC.

It is also important to make sure your kids are mentally healthy. Kids can be just as stressed out as we are, and they just do not show it in the same way. Many times, they will not even tell you what they are feeling. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), every year, about one in five American children suffer from some type of behavioral, emotional, or mental illness. Even if your child seems happy and healthy, supporting their mental health as much as their physical health can stave off problems they may have later.

If you notice your child seems more withdrawn than usual, is not interested in their typical activities, or just seem to be more anxious or depressed, talk to them. Ask them what is going on. And if you think your child has a problem, you may want to try virtual reality therapy. At the Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego, Dr. Brenda Wiederhold is available to treat any type of anxiety and various other mental health issues.