The Virtual News, Volume 3(3)


Current Events at VRMC

We’ve reached the end of another year at the VRMC, and things are busier than ever. The clinic recently won a new grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop a virtual environment to prevent teen smoking. In addition, projects researching the use of Virtual Reality for pain distraction in burn treatment and dental procedures will begin next month.

The Palo Alto Weekly and ABC News in San Francisco featured the VRMC clinic in several stories in November. In addition, Mark and Brenda recently published articles in CyberPsychology and Behavior, the Psychiatric Times, Psychiatric Services, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. Additionally, Mark and Brenda continue to present new data about virtual reality treatment nation-wide. Brenda recently spoke at the AABT conference in Boston, and both doctors will speak at the CyberTherapy and Medicine Meets Virtual Reality Conferences in January of 2004.

The Interactive Media Institute is working to finalize the program for the 9th Annual CyberTherapy Conference coming up January 10-12, 2004. The accepted presentations encompass a wide variety of topics in the field of virtual reality in mental health, and attendees are expected from at least 15 countries around the world. Sponsors for the 2004 conference include: COAT-Basel, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Hanyang University, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, The Virtual Reality Medical Center and Université du Québec en Outaouais. Please visit the Cybertherapy 2004 Conference website for more information about registration and accepted presentations.

The publishing arm of the VRMC would like to announce the upcoming publication of two new books: Expose Yourself! San Diego, and Conquering Panic, Anxiety, and Phobias: Achieving Success Through Virtual Reality and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Please see our Gift Shop for more information.

The Virtual Reality Medical Center website is currently undergoing renovation. Please visit the newly updated site to learn about virtual reality therapy and changes happening at the clinic; to access new and archived publications; and to give us feedback. We look forward to hearing your suggestions and comments.

From all of us at VRMC, we wish you health, happiness, and success in the coming year.


In Their Own Words
Stories of Healing Directly from You

Please visit our Stories page to read Kathy Feldman’s “Virtual Reality Therapy And How It Helped”

Have Stress-Free Holidays

It is getting colder outside, and the holidays are upon us. For many this means visiting with family and friends, attending parties and participating in long-standing traditions. While this all sounds enjoyable, it can also cause an overload of STRESS. You may feel that you are having a wonderful time, but if you are losing sleep, or are feeling particularly overwhelmed or tense, stress may be affecting you more than you realize. The following tips can help you breeze through the end of the year.

Delegate, delegate, delegate!

With all of the shopping, cleaning, and extra errands that come along with the holidays, it’s a wonder that people can get anything done. The key to getting through this busy time while still maintaining composure is to write things down and split things up. First, make a to do list. Sometimes just seeing your tasks in print makes the load seem smaller. Once you have your list ready, split up the tasks into bite-sized pieces. Try giving one piece to your child, another to your spouse. Or, split up your own tasks between several days. This will help you save time, and enable you to relax.

Set Limits with Loved Ones:

It’s easy to get carried away with gifts and spending during the holidays, and this often creates undue stress. This is especially true when children see commercial after commercial with new toys and other fun things. Also, you may have many visitors during this time of year, one of which may be a child returned home from college. Make sure to emphasize the importance of non-commercial traditions this holiday season. Not only does this help bring your family together, it limits the debt you will incur. Also, be sure to set limits on your time. While spending time with loved ones and opening your home can be rewarding, it can also be an energy drain. Make time for yourself, and set boundaries.

Reassess and prioritize:

What is truly important to you during the holidays? What traditions do you feel are important, and which are you just doing out of habit? Since these few months can be so busy, make sure to evaluate your priorities periodically. Doing the things you love is infinitely more enjoyable than spending valuable time on those that are simply routine.

Be Gentle with Yourself:

This time of year it is easy for most of us to remember kindness and generosity when dealing with friends and loved ones, but sometimes we do not apply the same standards to ourselves. Try using a generous attitude when dealing with yourself. You are human, and therefore no one expects you to be perfect. Neither should you. Allow yourself the rest, care and understanding that you need to get through this stressful time and still have some fun.


Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, Ph.D., MBA, BCIA Dr. Mark D. Wiederhold, M.D., Ph.D., FACP Ruth Kogen
Executive Director Medical Director Research Editor

Donations to support research and training opportunities combining technology and psychology may be made to our 501c3 nonprofit organization—the Interactive Media Institute.
Donations are tax deductible, and a letter will be provided for tax purposes.