The high-tech machine called CAREN, short for Computer-Assisted Rehabilitation Environment, is normally used to help patients with severe physical injuries learn to walk again. But in the next few weeks, the Canadian Forces hopes to use this technology to test an experimental form of psychotherapy to treat soldiers suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Patients step into the unit where they listen to music and view images on the big screen. The sound and images are meant to remind them of the events that brought on their traumatic memories. With their therapist present to guide them, the patient is asked a series of questions as they walk on the treadmill towards the experience that brings back their trauma, forcing them to confront their painful memories.
3MDR has been especially effective with patients who have dropped out of other more conventional therapies for their PTSD. Canada will begin its own testing soon, with the U.S., Britain and Israel investigating the system as well.