Experiences with Virtual Reality Aggression Prevention Training (VRAPT)

By Anja den Tuinder, VRAPT trainer at the Pompekliniek

VR Soap treincoupe

It was quite exciting for me to undergo the Virtual Reality aggression prevention training (VRAPT) myself. At the same time, I felt and experienced the many possibilities of this training, especially for our forensic patients. As a skills trainer I work with the participants to let them practice with (communication) skills in all areas of life, so that they are better prepared for their return to society. Since every person, including every TBS, is different, customized treatment is of great importance. When a participant feels personally addressed, feels touched, he is more open to change and awareness.

The participants I have worked with with the VRAPT have already completed a treatment process (sometimes for many years). The VRAPT, however, is something new again, but skepticism remained at the start.

After about half the training, it becomes more personal and interactive. The participant’s own contribution and the established working relationship are closely related. For example, participants say it “comes in a lot more”. They really stand in another world and are addressed personally. “Hey, it’s finally about me.”

In a role play you have to imagine how a situation can be , in VR you stand there for a moment in the middle.

Some examples:

  • A participant (who has little computer experience) is actually looking around with open mouth when he first put on the VR glasses. Was very impressed by this, “what is this really!”.
  • A participant, appearing tough, says in advance that when a woman calls him names, it really doesn’t affect him. While this happens during a session, the participant still shows a slightly increased heart rate, but only after a few minutes. It was an eye-opener for him to realize that he does run into tensions, which he then has to “let go” at a later time, while it then seems as if at that later moment he gets angry at someone “out of the blue”. .
  • A participant will get a rapidly increased heart rate just by see of a uniformed person. It doesn’t matter if this person looks very friendly, neutral or angry. As a result, the person concerned realized that he “will never respond normally to a police officer”.
  • A participant has learned little by little during the training to allow his feeling more. And has become aware of the relationship feeling – behavior. What happens during the interactive sessions, discussed in combination with the social information processing model, trainer and participant both experienced as very meaningful.
  • A participant indicates that after the training he is much more aware of what is going on in his body and how he himself (still) has influence to (learn to) go with it.
  • The great thing about VRAPT is that awareness becomes so much greater, so that the participant really gets the feeling that he has more autonomy over his treatment . Yourself influencing your life is so important and is sometimes underestimated by care providers. VRAPT really contributes to more awareness that it is “about you”.

October 2018