Virtual Reality Medical Institute (VRMI) is a Belgian corporation located on the Université catholique de Louvain’s Woluwe Saint Lambert campus. Chosen as one of the first occupants of the Brussels Life Science Incubator (BLSI) for advanced technology and healthcare start-ups, VRMI was also one of the Belgian SMEs who participated in the June 2013 Belgian Economic Mission to California, led by Prince Philippe, now King Philippe, of Belgium.
In 2013, VRMI established a private behavioral healthcare clinic in Brussels to serve the needs of the expat community. VRMI uses virtual reality exposure therapy (3-dimensional computer simulation) in combination with physiological monitoring (biofeedback) to treat panic and anxiety disorders. These conditions include specific phobias such as fear of flying, fear of driving, fear of heights, fear of public speaking, fear of thunderstorms, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, arachnophobia, social phobia, panic disorder. General stress management and relaxation skills are taught for stress-related disorders. Virtual reality exposure therapy places the client in a computer-generated world where they "experience" the various stimuli related to their phobia. The client wears a head-mounted display with small TV monitors and stereo earphones to receive both visual and auditory cues.
After an intake session and skill building sessions to teach the patient how to control automatic responses to anxiety-provoking situations, the therapist and client collaborate to create a hierarchy of anxiety-inducing situations. In careful, controlled stages, the client is exposed to these virtual experiences that elicit increasingly higher levels of anxiety. Each stage can be repeated until the client is comfortable with the experience and satisfied with their response. At every step, the therapist can see and hear what the client is experiencing in the virtual world. If the level of anxiety becomes overwhelming, the client can return to a less stressful level of treatment, or simply remove the head-mounted display and exit the virtual world.
Using a Combined Communications Platform of an annual international conference, specialized workshops, clinician training courses, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, a quarterly magazine, and a website information portal, VRMI is also active in informing and educating the general public, policymakers, funding agents, industry and academia. Having been involved in R&D projects in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. for the past 25 years, the principals of VRMI are now actively involved in bringing over 30 developed products and protocols to market. VRMI is currently seeking a distribution channel partner, angel investment, or venture capital to help realize this goal.
VRMI has established affiliates in both China and the U.S. and envisages the goals of the EU in developing the healthcare of the future. VRMI has expertise in simulation technologies in three main areas: 1) treating patients with stress, anxiety, trauma, and chronic pain; 2) training for military medical and civilian first responder populations, and 3) enhancing medical educational programs. Working closely with the Belgian Erasmus Program, VRMI also serves as a mentor to Young Entrepreneurs.
For more information please contact:
Professor Dr. Brenda K Wiederhold, Ph.D., MBA, BCB, BCN
Virtual Reality Medical Institute
30 Clos Chapelle aux Champs, 6th Floor
1200 Woluwe Saint Lambert
+32 2 880 6226
research @ vrphobia.eu