Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy- What It Is and How It Works
You probably have a phobia that though harmless, may seem very real and cause a great deal of anxiety. It may prevent you from participating in activities or going to places you love. But this does not have to continue anymore.
VR can help expose you to your fear in a controlled and safe environment, allowing you to work through your fear at your own pace without feeling overwhelmed.
VR Exposure Therapy is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) proven for treating anxiety and other mental health conditions. VR Exposure Therapy takes CBT a step further by incorporating virtual reality technology.
A VR therapist will work with you to identify your fear and help you create a VR scene replicating the anxiety-provoking situation. You just don a VR headset and travel to the object of your phobia. For example, if you fear heights, the VR scene might be of you standing on the edge of a tall building.
You will then be asked to enter the VR scene and experience it for a set period. The VR therapist will be there with you the entire time to offer support and guidance. What makes the VRET unique is that it lets you experience the phobia with a high level of realness, which is impossible in imaginal exposure therapy.
The VR scene is so realistic that it tricks your brain into thinking you’re actually in the situation. This allows you to work through your fear and eventually overcome it. VR Exposure Therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for phobias and other anxiety disorders.
Benefits of Virtual Reality Therapy
Like other forms of CBT, VR Exposure Therapy has numerous benefits which are:
- VR allows you to work through your fear at your own pace. You can start with a less intense VR scene and work your way up to more intense VR scenes.
- VR is a safe and controlled environment; you can’t get hurt in VR, which means you can push yourself to your limits without worrying about getting hurt.
- VR is more effective than other forms of exposure therapy. Studies have shown that VR exposure therapy is more effective than imaginal exposure therapy in treating patients with phobias.
- VR can help millions of people with phobias deal with their fears with little or no side effects.
VR Exposure Therapy is an effective treatment for phobias and other anxiety disorders. This therapy can be quite invaluable in helping people with debilitating phobias live normal, healthy lives.
Consequently, VR has the potential to change the lives of people with phobias. If you or someone you know suffers from a phobia, VR exposure therapy may be able to help.
How Effective is VR Exposure Therapy?
The exercise of facing your fear in a controlled environment is enough to make such fears lose their grip on you. Therapists have found VR Exposure Therapy to be highly effective in this regard.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that VR exposure therapy was more effective than imaginal exposure therapy in treating patients with a fear of heights.
Another study found that VR exposure therapy effectively treated spider phobia. The study found that VR exposure therapy was more effective than imaginal exposure therapy and relaxation therapy in reducing fear and anxiety.
Imagine the millions of people with phobias who can get the help they need just by having the courage to face their fear in VR. VR exposure therapy can potentially change a lot of lives, which is why more and more people are beginning to turn to VR for help with their phobias.