"I couldn't trust anyone for a very long time. Panic attacks, deep sadness and complete exhaustion were the consequences of that time."
- Person with PTSD
The time after experiencing a traumatic event is difficult. Various symptoms impede affected persons to manage their daily life. These are dissociation, sleep problems, nightmares, fear and panic attacks, to name a few.
Social support is one of the most important factors in early and late stages of healing from trauma. Unfortunately traumatised people often have difficulties trusting even close ones and opening up in conversations. Furthermore the people in their surroundings don’t know how to help and behave defensively. Hence traumatised people are often left alone to deal with their situation.
EMi is a support system that provides immediate and personal aid for people after a traumatic experience. It consists of an Al-supported web application and a weighted garment as a therapeutic grounding method. Through the fast accessible website traumatized people are supported to get through that challenging time.
Stage I - The power of AI
By an AI-created counter-experience with the goal to calm the body and mind, connect back to the body and other methods the problematic of a person being in shock to properly help themselves is addressed.
AI is providing the social support traumatized people need. It is assumed that for those people it is way easier to talk about their trauma to a digital conversation partner than to another person. As the AI is trained and specialized in helping traumatized people, it can provide the right support for each individual. As individuals process their trauma, they become more secure to talk about it even with other people.
AI not only fills the gap of missing social support, it also guides the user to and through practical treatment methods. In addition it provides the user with the knowledge they need, to understand their trauma, which empowers them to make the right decisions in their healing process.
To imagine a personal Safe Space is an actual method in trauma therapy. It is a fictional, secure environment that allows the patient to calm down and clear their mind.
Breathing exercises are suitable to calm the nervous system and connect back to the body. The user is guided by a circle that resembles their own breath. This helps to focus on the breathing, without thinking too much about the breathing pattern.
A reflection method is the Mood development. Here the user can track their mood for a day or in certain situations. This helps to realise if they should seek out further help.
By Tracking the AI can see patterns and provides them with specific Treatment-Exercises. The data can also be used by a therapist to understand the user better if he or she attends a therapy later on.
It is important the user has access to professional help through the application. Doing research to find therapy can be a big burden, when suffering from the aftereffects of a traumatic event. The AI can recommend the user to attend therapy via the chat and suggests certain therapists in their area.
Stage II - Grounding through weighted garment
The second part of the strategy is a weighted, wearable product in the form of a shoulder garment. It is made from a soft material, surrounds the user's shoulders and gives the sensation of being hugged. Through the weight, it actively supports a connection to the body and can help feeling grounded when in emotional distress.