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Survival Swimming Performance Enhancement Workshop – Mental Skills and Virtual Reality to Manage Acrophobia

by Jen Schumacher and Bridget Melton, CSCS, TSAC-F
TSAC Report January 2020
Vol 54, Issue 3

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This article will highlight an intervention involving mental skills training and virtual reality (VR) to address acrophobia with this population.

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This article originally appeared in TSAC Report, the NSCA’s quarterly, online-only publication geared toward the training of tactical athletes, operators, and facilitators. It provides research-based articles, performance drills, and conditioning techniques for operational, tactical athletes. The TSAC Report is only available for NSCA Members. Read more articles from TSAC Report 

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References

1. Arroll, B, Henwood, SM, Sundram, FI, Kingsford, DW, Mount, V, Humm, SP, et al. A brief treatment for fear of heights: A randomized controlled trial of a novel imaginal intervention. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 52(1): 21-33, 2017.

2. Arroll, B, Wallace, HB, Mount, V, Humm, SP, and Kingsford, DW. A systematic review and meta-analysis of treatments for acrophobia. The Medical Journal of Australia 206(6): 263-267, 2017.

3. Bun, P, Gorski, F, Grajewski, D, Wichniarek, R, and Zawadzki, P. Low–cost devices used in virtual reality exposure therapy. Procedia Computer Science 104: 445-451, 2017.

4. Coelho, CM, Silva, CF, Santos, JA, Tichon, J, and Wallis, W. Contrasting the effectiveness and efficiency of virtual reality and real environments in the treatment of acrophobia. PsychNology 6(2): 203-216, 2008.

5. Dahl, A, Campos, JJ, Anderson, DI, Uchiyama, I, Witherington, DC, Ueno, M, et al. The epigenesis of wariness of heights. Psychological Science 24(7): 1361-1367, 2013.

6. Emmelkamp, PMG, Krijn, M, Hulsbosch, AM, De Vries, S, Schuemie, MJ, and Van der Mast, CAPG. Virtual reality treatment versus exposure in vivo: A comparative evaluation in acrophobia. Behaviour Research and Therapy 40(5): 509-516, 2002.

7. Freeman, D, Haselton, P, Freeman, J, Spanlang, B, Kishore, S, Albery, E, et al. Automated psychological therapy using immersive virtual reality for treatment of fear of heights: A single-blind, parallel-group, randomised control trial. Lancet Psychiatry 5: 625-632, 2018.

8. Kapfhammer, HP, Huppert, D, Grill, E, Fitz, W, and Brandt, T. Visual height intolerance and acrophobia: Clinical characteristics and comorbidity patterns. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 265(5): 375-385, 2015.

9. Westgate, EM. Overcoming the 6.5 meter tower: Psychological approaches for West Point survival swimming (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 2016.

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Jen Schumacher

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Jen Schumacher is a Performance Psychology Instructor at the Center for Enhanced Performance at the United States Military Academy. She works with cad ...

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About the author

Bridget Ann Frugoli Melton, EdD, CSCS, TSAC-F

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Bridget Melton is a Professor of Exercise Science and Coaching Education at Concordia University of Chicago. She teaches a variety of exercise science ...

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