This piece from Vice Magazine titled “Experiencing Psychosis with Digital LSD” describes how one artist is using augmented reality to create empathy for the mentally ill. “In 2005, artist Jennifer Kanary’s sister-in-law committed suicide while suffering from a psychotic episode. This event led Jennifer to develop Labyrinth Psychotica, an experience designed to give people more insight into how it feels to suffer through psychosis. Users are strapped into virtual reality gear and transported into the mind of a psychotic girl named Jamie. The whole experience lasts twelve minutes, during which ‘normal’ reality gets increasingly intertwined with Jamie’s psychotic reality, making it more and more difficult to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not.”
One fascinating little detail that stands out for me is when the journalist at the beginning mentions that therapists sometimes take LSD to help them better understand their psychotic patients. Definitely clear we’re not in Kansas anymore when someone can say that.
Psychotherapy in Europe is fascinating and pieces like this continually demonstrate that therapists there have a more complex view of how VR might be used in therapy than American ones do.