What is Virtual Reality Therapy?
In Virtual Reality Therapy, patients immerse themselves into personalized environments using a head-mounted virtual reality device. Licensed therapists then guide patients as they face fears and learn to change their responses.
Virtual Reality Therapy uses new technology to improve on existing methods within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. While the technology is new, the proven methods behind Virtual Reality Therapy come from Exposure Therapy.
Before virtual reality technology, patients had to expose themselves to real versions of their fears or imagine their fears in their own minds in order to benefit from exposure therapy. Both of these methods can be effective in treating phobias and other anxiety disorders. Virtual Reality Therapy combines the benefits of both previous methods of exposure therapy: patients are not exposed to real harm, but the simulation is realistic.
How Does Virtual Reality Therapy Work?
In Virtual Reality Therapy sessions, patients speak with a licensed therapist about their fears and anxiety. The therapist then creates a virtual scenario specifically for the patient. The patient puts on a virtual reality headset to experience the scenario.
As the patient faces their fear in the virtual reality, the licensed therapist provides live guidance. Over time, the patient learns to react to the trigger in healthy ways. Then, if the patient faces their trigger in real life, they will be able to lean on the coping mechanisms they learned in Virtual Reality Therapy.
Book Your Virtual Reality Therapy Appointment
If you experience anxiety in response to specific fears, you may be able to benefit from Virtual Reality Therapy. Vicki Lane, Ph.D., at LifeStance Health offers Virtual Reality Therapy as part of her practice. Contact us today to book your appointment.