Results from World's First Study of the Synergistic Application of Virtual Reality and Psychedelics
Enosis study, in collaboration with Swinburne University and the Psychedelic Society of Belgium, confirms use of VR modalities during treatment improves therapeutic outcomes among study participants
MELBOURNE, Australia, June 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Enosis Therapeutics, a medical technology and psychedelic research company that leverages virtual reality (VR) for the contextual modulation of psychedelic therapy to improve treatment outcomes, announced today the successful completion of the world's first study on the synergistic application of VR and psychedelics. The study, led by researchers and co-founders of Enosis Therapeutics, Agnieszka Sekula and Dr. Prash Puspanathan, was conducted in the Netherlands and in collaboration with Swinburne University and the Psychedelic Society Belgium.
Enosis' patent pending neuro-psychological treatment mechanism works by utilizing multisensory VR stimulation to anchor elusive psychedelic insights and peak emotions in order to reinvoke them later during the integration process enabling a deeper, more profound exploration of those potentially life changing experiences. The primary results showed that Enosis' bespoke VR scenarios, combined with a guided psychedelic experience within a supportive psychotherapeutic framework, generated high levels of acceptance and satisfaction, as well as reduced pre-session anxiety during the preparation session and increased the recall of psychedelic insights in integration session.
Most excitingly, State of Mindfulness and the Affect Checklist scores, which represent participant's transient introspective capacity and intensity of emotional response, and which were expectedly high immediately following the profound psychedelic experience, were matched and even surpassed during the non-drug enhanced integration session with Enosis' bespoke VR scenario, AnchoringVR (pending trademark protection). The two measures reached over 90% of their maximum scores, both on the dosing day as well as on the VR integration day, suggesting that targeted VR designs can first anchor and then evoke psychedelic-induced psycho-emotional states without the need for repeat dosing. Importantly, an awe-evoking control VR scenario has not generated this effect.
Further face to face interviews with participants confirmed what the quantitative data suggested. With repeated application of VR, participants were reminded of their psychedelic-induced insights, which they had started to forget even one day after the dosing session. Given that one of the main challenges faced by therapists and patients engaged in psychedelic-based treatments is the elusive nature of psychedelic insights, offering patients a tool that can reconnect them with those insights augments therapist capacity to support and guide the process of integrating them into tangible, real-life outcomes.
"The results of our inaugural study are an important first step in scientifically validating the use of VR scenarios in order to anchor key insights and emotions generated during the psychedelic therapy process.," said Ms. Sekula. "High levels of satisfaction, combined with therapeutic efficacy, paves the way for an increased focus on innovating context and environment in therapeutic protocols and shows that the implementation of VR may be an appealing solution for therapists, clinics or psychedelic companies."
Inducing a sense of openness, security and acceptance in patients during the psychedelic experience is one of the most critical functions of the preparation process since it determines the depth and the quality of the experience, and ultimately, the impact and outcomes of the entire therapeutic process. The positive study results validate the need for further scientific investigation of VR and other emerging tech modalities in treatments that use state altering substances or practices. Pre-session anxiety and challenges in surrendering to the experience are common and reveal that adverse outcomes of psychedelic therapy remains unaddressed despite rigorous therapeutic frameworks.
"Enosis is rooted in evidence-based research that rigorously examines how technology can allow push the boundaries of what is considered possible in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy," added Dr. Puspanathan. "In contrast to passive scene-setting environments or interactive gaming-based scenarios, our data shows that by prioritizing a patient-centered experience design combined with carefully constructed clinical protocols, clinicians, scientists, therapists and institutions can utilize VR as a powerful new tool in their efforts to transform patients' lives."
Following the successful completion of this study, Enosis will now begin building upon these validated results to develop and lead the world's first clinical trial of VR and PAP currently slated to commence in Q4 of 2022.
For more information on Enosis and its research you can visit its website here.
About Enosis Therapeutics
Enosis Therapeutics Pty Ltd. is a psychedelic start-up founded by Agnieszka D. Sekula, a psychedelic researcher at Swinburne University, and Dr. Prashanth Puspanathan, a Melbourne based medical doctor and long-time psychedelic advocate. Enosis was formed to advance experiential design in psychedelic-based treatment by leveraging virtual reality's unique, state-altering properties.
Enosis sits at the intersection of research and industry, providing carefully designed virtual reality scenarios and clinical protocols that employ them at specific points of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy to improve the quality of the patient experience and therapy outcomes.
Founders aim to empower patients to take leadership in their own healing journey by using VR to break away from the constraints of the analog system. Their therapeutic approach promotes non-cognitive, experiential, emotional and embodied aspects of treatment.
SOURCE Enosis Therapeutics