Michael Streppa Praises New Software Solutions for Combating Mental Illness
New technology involving interaction with computer avatars may prove useful in the development of social phobia treatment in children. Expert psychologist, Michael Streppa, applauds these advancements and encourages further development.
New York, New York (I-Newswire) July 3, 2012 - Mental illnesses have a long history of treatment plans; some have proven helpful, while others destructive. What many medical professionals have learned is that associated disorders require more careful analysis of procedures and creative ways to treat illnesses. According to a recent article from Slate.com, one such creative treatment may allow many children to overcome a variety of social phobias. The treatment involves a series of interactions with computer-based avatars. In short, a child sits with a false persona and responds organically to several social situations. Psychologist, Michael Streppa, believes this approach may provide the necessary bridge to encourage younger patients to address their social phobias in face-to-face situations.
The program was developed through a collaborative project set forth by Atlanta-based company, Virtually Better and the University of Central Florida. While the treatment plan is relatively new, this summer will mark an in-depth study of how children with social phobias respond to avatar interaction. According to the article, clinicians will control scenarios presented through six different avatars that are designed to guide children through social situations that vary in difficulty. For example, a child may be asked to respond to a “popular girl” who wants to sit with him or her at lunch. Harder levels may involve the child having to stand-up to a bully or engage in conversation with an adult.
Slate.com addresses some concerns that the treatment may not even be necessary, and that it takes away from in-person therapies. However, Dr. Streppa notes that the new avatar system should not be discounted. He notes, “Use of these technologies holds great promise in helping socially-phobic children develop the skills and self-confidence they will need to master real world human interactions. By its' very nature, social phobia promulgates avoidance behaviors that in turn inadvertently strengthens the fear.”
According to the article similar programs have already shown a high level of promise. For instance, “virtual strategies for tackling other anxiety disorders, such as PTSD, boast a promising record of success.” However, these programs are still in their infancy and may require wider implementation to make them more accessible to patients.
For Dr. Michael Streppa these programs will show their true worth in the long-term development of children. While other virtual therapies may address other disorders, the social phobia avatar program is particularly interesting because of its involvement with younger children. Streppa concludes by asserting, “Entering a child's world through use of familiar, friendly movie characters provides the very non-threatening environment they need to begin the process of overcoming their fears.”
Dr. Michael Streppa is a noted professional who has many active years within the psychology industry. He began his career in the medical field after earning his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and eventually his Doctor of Psychology degree. During his later academic years, Streppa focused on psychology and more specifically, clinical psychology. In addition to working as an independent contractor and consultant, he has served titles that include Staff Psychologist, Mental Health Specialist, Chief Psychologist, as well as acting as the sole proprietor of his own private practice.
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Published On:July 3, 2012
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