Researchers in Juárez devise way to treat crime victims’ psychological stress

University researchers present their findings at a city meeting this week in Ciudad Juárez. (Photo courtesy UACJ)

Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez

University researchers in Ciudad Juárez say they have devised a technique using virtual reality to treat crime victims in the city for post-traumatic stress disorder.

In a joint project by the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez, researchers enrolled 200 people who met the research criteria — they suffered from PTSD as a result of have been a victim of a crime or having witnessed a crime, according to a news release.

Although the research group was reduced by attrition, people who completed the program were able to reciver almost 100 percent.

Research project coordinator Georgina Cárdenas López, a researcher at UNAM, presented the findings this week to Juárez Mayor Hector Murguia, members of the city council and other officials.

In the project, trained psychologists guided the crime victims through a virtual reality re-enactment of the traumatic event that caused their suffering.

The year-long study titled “Detection and treatment of PTSD using virtual reality exposure in victims of violent crimes in Ciudad Juarez,” was funded by the National Council of Science and Technology.

Another result of the project is that four UACJ psychologists now are qualified to provide the treatment. They are Brenda Delgadillo, Alma Alvarado, Jorge Avitia y Alejandro Domínguez.

Also representing UACJ at the city presentation were René Soto Cavazos, director of the Institute of Social Sciences and Administration; Luis Alfonso Herrera Robles, chairman of the Social Sciences Department, and Enrique Anchondo López, coordinator of certification in psychology.

The research attracted international media attention, including reports and interviews in newspapers and on television, including a feature by National Geographic, Cárdenas López told the city officials.

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