DOD Backs Development VR Software to
January 2, 2019
UCF's RESTORES Clinic has has
become known nationally for its innovative PTSD treatment for veterans,
active-duty military members, first responders and other victims of
trauma such as sexual assault and mass shootings.
new $3 million grant from the Department of Defense will help the
University of Central Florida’s RESTORES clinic develop its own virtual
reality software to treat first responders, veterans, active duty
personnel and civilians with post-traumatic stress disorder and other
The clinic currently uses third-party software. However, the new grant
will allow RESTORES to develop its own software to address a wider range
of scenarios, such as those faced by first responders and survivors of
mass shootings or sexual assault as well as situations veterans and
active duty personnel face. The grant will also help test ways to
increase the software’s effectiveness.
“We are honored that the Department of Defense has recognized the
success of our treatment program and continues to entrust us with
funding that allows us to provide cutting-edge treatment based on
rigorous clinical science,” says Deborah Beidel, director of the
RESTORES began in 2010 with the purpose of treating veterans and
active-duty military personnel with combat-related PTSD. After the Pulse
night club shooting, services expanded to include first responders and
survivors of mass shootings. Since opening, it has treated more than 450
combat veterans and first responders.
In September 2018, the PTSD clinic at UCF RESTORES became known as the
Rosengren Trauma Clinic, after a generous donation from Julia and Jim
Rosengren ’81, whose son benefited from the clinic’s treatments.
Results have shown that 66 percent of combat veterans and 73 percent of
first responders no longer met the clinical definition of PTSD after
PTSD treatment includes a three-week program that combines virtual
reality and group therapy sessions on guilt, anger, resocialization,
insomnia and more. The virtual reality sessions expose patients to
videos of scenes of traumatic situations, such as war, and couple these
images with the sounds of gunfire and explosions along with the smells
of smoke and gunfire.
The idea is that exposing patients to the traumatic experiences will
help reduce their stress about them.
RESTORES is located in the psychology building on UCF’s main campus in
Orlando, and it also has a recently opened Brevard PTSD Clinic located
in the UCF Cocoa building on the Eastern Florida State College campus.
The treatment program currently provides treatment at no cost to Florida
residents. The program has been awarded more than $10 million worth of
grants in the past few years.
Beidel received her Ph.D. and M.S. in psychology and M.Ed. in
rehabilitation counseling from the University of Pittsburgh and her B.A.
in psychology from Pennsylvania State University. She has been with UCF