CyberTherapy 2006

CyberTherapy 2006

Virtual Healing: Designing Reality
Holiday Inn Plaza La Chaudière Hotel in Gatineau, Canada.

Conference Organizers | Awards | Presentations in pdf

Conference at a Glance | Workshops | Photos


Conference Organizers:

The 11th Annual CyberTherapy 2006 Conference: Virtual Healing – Designing Reality is organized by the Interactive Media Institute (IMI) in cooperation with the Cyberpsychology Lab of the University of Quebec in Outaouais (UQO).

The Interactive Media Institute (IMI) is a 501c3 non-profit organization working to further the application of advanced technologies for patient care. IMI sponsors national and international workshops, meetings, and continuing education courses. The Institute is also active in conducting research and clinical trials, and specializes in virtual reality, telehealth, videogame virtual reality, and human-computer interaction research. IMI is actively working with world leaders who are experts in utilizing virtual reality, multimedia, computer-generated avatars, personal robots and other technologies to treat patients with both mental and physical disorders. IMI promotes education for healthcare providers, students, interns, and other trainees in the healthcare field. In addition, researchers at the Institute collaborate with experts in technical areas such as computer hardware, software, and graphics; biomedical engineering; communication engineering; and others. It also serves as a source of information, training, and assistance for professionals. IMI’s educational programs seek to offer assistance to those individuals who would benefit from virtual reality and multimedia technical solutions and encourages businesses to develop expanded multimedia solutions to assist a larger segment of the general public in solving a broader range of issues through the use of advanced technologies. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation, please contact us.

The Cyberpsychology Lab of UQO is a research centre affiliated with both the University of Quebec in Outaouais (UQO) and the Pierre-Janet Hospital (Gatineau, Canada). The primary goal of the UQO Cyberpsychology Lab research team is to study the phenomenon of cyberpsychology from three main perspectives: fundamental (underlying psychological processes), clinical (therapeutic effectiveness) and applied (practical applications in psychology). Research in cyberpsychology naturally involves virtual reality, but it also extends to the remote implementation psychological interventions, in particular via videoconference (telehealth), where people meet in cyberspace to engage in activities that would otherwise be carried out in person. You can visit the Lab’s website at: . For more information about the Lab and Cybertherapy Conference, contact Geneviève Robillard at 1-819-776-8045 or by email at: .

The conference is also supported by the following organizations:



Army Research Office

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DSO

Hanyang University

Istituto Auxologico Italiano

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC)

The Virtual Reality Medical Center

The University of Quebec in Outaouais

City of Gatineau

Government of Quebec (Ministries of Education, Health, Intergovernment affairs, Economical Development and National Assembly)


3rd CRC-Clinical Cyberpsychology New Investigator Award for a presentation of outstanding research quality

The aim of this prize is to reward the presentation of strong methodological studies at the Cybertherapy conference. The recipient has to be a researcher who is new to the field of cyberpsychology. It is open to both oral or poster presentations and to researchers from all countries and disciplines.

The award was delivered by Stéphane Bouchard, Chairholder of the Canada Research Chair in Clinical Cyberpsychology. It included a certificate and a check of 1 000 $ US.

The 2006 CRC Award winner is:
Daniela Villani, PhD Cand, Istituto Auxologico Italiano (Italy)

Student Poster Awards

The 2006’s conference awarded three Student Poster Awards, each worth 250 $ US.

The 2006 Student Poster awards winners are (in alphabetical order):
– Andrea Gaggioli, PhD Cand, Istituto Auxologico Italiano (Italy)
– Kwanguk Kim, PhD Cand, Hanyang University (Korea)
– Francesca Morganti, PhD Cand, Istituto Auxologico Italiano (Italy)

Disclaimer: only people who have not yet completed a PhD program are eligible for one of three 250 $ US Student Poster Awards. Posters were judged for scientific merit and ease of presentation by the conference co-organizers Drs. Brenda K. Wiederhold and Stephane Bouchard, as well as the conference workshop chair Dr. Skip Rizzo and scientific chairs Drs. Giuseppe Riva and Russell Shilling.

2nd Annual CyberTherapy Excellence in Research Award

This award aims to celebrate more than a decade of exciting advances in the cybertherapy field of research as well as the growth of the CyberTherapy conference. This Award was presented to a person that has demonstrated outstanding achievements in the fields of virtual reality and behavioral healthcare. All members of the program committee were invited to nominate one of their colleagues as the recipient of what promises to be a long line of esteemed researchers.

The 2006 CyberTherapy Excellence Award winner is:
Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego (USA)

Presentations (in .zip format)


TUESDAY, June 13th, 2006

Symposium 1 : Cybersexuality

de Courville Nicol

Symposium 2 : Prosthetics & Orthotics Training


Symposium 3 : Health Psychology & Pain


Symposium 4 : Posttraumatic Stress Disorders

Shilling (not available)

Symposium 5 : New Applications

Flores (not available)
Sánchez (not available)

Symposium 6 : Rehabilitation 1

Rand (not available)
Feintuch (not available)
Lamontagne (not available)

Keynote Speaker: Michel Fleury, PhD

Invited Address: Richard Satava, MD, FACS


WEDNESDAY, June 14th, 2006

Symposium 7 : Rehabilitation 2

Kizony (not available)
Lozano (not available)
Brien (not available)

Symposium 8 : Anxiety 1 – Large Outcome Trials

Graap (not available)
Albin (not available)

Symposium 9 : Addictions

Jordan (not available)

Symposium 10 : Anxiety 2 – New Developments & Treatment Mechanisms

Juan (not available)

Symposium 11 : Autism and Schizophrenia

Ben-Chaim (not available)
Gal (not available)

Symposium 12 : Presence

Magee (for a copy of his conference pictures, click here.)

Symposium 13: CyberTraining



THURSDAY, June 15th, 2006

Symposium 14: Neuropsychology

Hahm (not available)
Delahaye (not available)

Symposium 15: Education, Simulations and Virtual Reality (Cancelled)


Interested in receiving continuing education (CE) credits

We are excited to announce that IMI is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. IMI maintains responsibility for the program.

By attending our entire 2006 CyberTherapy Conference from June 13th through June 15th 2006, you can earn 20 continuing education (CE) credits. We will also be offering workshop sessions in the morning and afternoon of June 12th, 2006. You can earn 3 credits for each workshop that you attend.

Workshop participants are not required to attend the CyberTherapy Conference or visa versa. Note that the costs for the admission to the workshops are not included in the registration to the CyberTherapy Conference. Each workshop costs 75$ CAN (plus taxes) and you have to register in advance (see the details under “Registration” on this website). Disclaimer: To register to receive CE credits please just follow the instructions of the regular “registration” link found on this website. Note that you will be charged an additional one-time $45 CAN (regardless of how many workshops/symposia you attend) processing fee.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Workshop Chair: Albert “Skip” Rizzo, PhD
MONDAY, June 12, 2006


Workshop #1:

Basic Issues about Virtual Reality and its Clinical Applications

Evelyne Klinger, Eng, PhD & Sophie Côté, Ph.D.

Aim: This introduction workshop presents on the one hand concepts that are essentials to understand if one is interested in using virtual reality in clinical applications, such as: what is virtual reality, what kind of equipment is involved, what is the feeling of presence, what is cybersickness and how to prevent it, how to get or create virtual environments, etc. Practical guidelines will be offered to conduct safer virtual immersions. It is highly recommended for people who are new to the field of virtual reality. These information will not be introduced in the more advanced workshops presented during the afternoon. On the other hand, participants to this introduction workshop will be able to try and test some VR interfaces such as HMD.

Note: This workshop will be held in S. Bouchard’s Lab (“CAVE”).

Workshop #2:

Virtual Reality and Pain Reduction

Dave Thomas, PhD, & Jeffrey I. Gold, PhD

Aim: One fascinating application of virtual reality is to control or reduce pain. The presenters will present the empirical evidences showing the potential of virtual reality to distract people from their acute pain. Studies presented will address a wide range of applications, from severe burn pain to dental procedures. The mechanisms leading to pain reduction and some potential moderating variables will be discussed. How to use virtual reality to reduce pain will be illustrated with practical examples.

Workshop #3:

VR and Neurological Assessment/Rehabilitation

Albert “Skip” Rizzo, PhD & Maria Schultheis, PhD

Aim: Neuropsychological assessment often suffers from problems with ecological validity where tests being used rarely predict performance in real-life situations. By reproducing physical reality in a standard and replicable fashion, virtual reality can be used to assess neuropsychological disorders in ways that are potentially more systematic and precise. Cognitive rehabilitation can also benefit from the enhancements in ecologically validity that virtual environments may support. As well, the integration of gaming features with VR rehabilitation exercises offers the potential to enhance motivation and produce better utcomes via improved adherence to clinical treatment. The two presenters will present an overview of the field of neuropsychological assessment and cognitive rehabilitation VR applications, and detail their strengths and limitations. Interactions with the workshop leaders and VR demonstrations will allow the audience to benefit from hands-on interaction with clinical applications.


Workshop #4:

Virtual Reality and the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, & Stéphane Bouchard, PhD

Aim: The key therapeutic ingredient in the treatment of anxiety disorders is called exposure and it consists essentially in facing the feared situation. Exposure has been integrated in more sophisticated treatment packages that are now considered among the few really effective treatment of mental disorders such as specific phobias, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or panic disorder with agoraphobia. Empirical studies are showing more and more convincingly that virtual reality can be used to conduct exposure. In addition to review the literature on this form of therapy, treatment packages will be presented and tips to conduct effective exposure will be provided.

Note: This workshop will be held in S. Bouchard’s Lab (“CAVE”).

Workshop #5:

Virtual Reality and the Treatment of Eating Disorders & Addictions

Giuseppe Riva, PhD & Rosa-Maria Banos, PhD (Eating disorders)
Patrick Bordnick, PhD, Steve Baumann, PhD, & Ken Graap, MEd (Addictions)

Aim: VR has a clinical potential in the treatment of eating disorders and body-image problems. The experiential approach of VR allows the therapist to immerse the patient in virtual environments where her body-image can be confronted and more adaptive eating behavior can be practiced. To detail this approach, a few empirical studies will be described, followed by the presentation of two different treatment protocols. In the area of addictive behaviors, immersive virtual reality applications have also been developed and utilized for the assessment of craving and physiological reactivity (cue reactivity) to overt and covert substance triggers. Leaders in the field of VR and addictions will present basic theories on cue reactivity and on the use of VR applications in nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine dependence. Future research directions in treatment and neuroimaging, along with demonstrations of VR environments used in drug addiction research will be presented.

Workshop #6:

Virtual Reality and Motor Rehabilitation

Tamar Weiss, PhD & Heidi Sveistrup, PhD (with Joyce Fung, PhD and Mindy Levin PhD)

Aim: Physical and occupational therapists aim to enhance the functional ability of individuals with motor impairment as well as their capacity to participate in daily life activities. For many injuries and disabilities, the rehabilitation process is long and arduous, and therapists face the challenge of finding effective and motivating intervention tools that will facilitate this process. Virtual Reality-based rehabilitation appears to provide an answer to this challenge via its well-known assets including the opportunity for interactive learning, the ability to quantify clinical outcome measures and to provide safe and ecologically-valid environments. Virtual reality facilitates the provision of functional tasks that may be graded to meet specific therapeutic objectives and client capabilities. Although the advantages of Virtual Reality are becoming more widely recognized within the clinical community, the rehabilitation team faces a daunting challenge – to find a VR system that enables achievement of the goals stated above, is feasible to implement within a clinical setting and yet is affordable by the typical clinical facility. Moreover, it is desirable that the VR system will not excessively encumber the clients nor expose them to disturbing side effects. The objective of this workshop is to present the principles of VR-based therapy for motor rehabilitation in terms of a comparison to the achievement of therapeutic objectives via conventional intervention. Experimental results from the literature will be used to support the clinical applications of VR.