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Virtual reality exposure therapy ~ phobia & anxiety apps

virtual reality exposure therap

Introducing Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy

You’ve probably heard of exposure therapy for phobias, and most people are aware of advances in Virtual Reality technology. However you might not be quite so familiar with the idea of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy. For the treatment of anxiety and phobias, one of the newest treatments to come out of psychology research is Virtual Exposure Therapy. It is based on the same Virtual Reality technology that is used in gaming and similar entertainment apps, but is used for therapeutic purposes. Although the technology is very recent, early results indicate that for phobia therapy it is a highly effective and convenient treatment compared to conventional methods.

Virtual Exposure Therapy Ltd was set up by two highly respected Harley Street Psychologists – Dr Ashley Conway and Dr Vanessa Ruspoli. Between them they have over 40 years of experience treating anxious and phobic clients. You can read more about Virtual Exposure Therapy, and our work in this area, in our article on the BBC website, and watch the related video below. The article covers the interview we did with the BBC on the benefits of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for phobia treatment.
virtual exposure therapy for phobia app

Virtual Reality Phobia App Treatment

At the moment, the few other virtual reality systems are used by therapists, making the process expensive, and involving time consuming travel to a specialist clinic. Our app is far more affordable, and you can use it at home! With our system Virtual Exposure Therapy is now more accessible than it has ever been, and more cost effective, as it is available in the form of an easy to use, inexpensive phobia app. Our anxiety app series can be safely and effectively used for phobia therapy, either with a psychologist’s support, or at home on your own as part of a phobia self help regime.

How Virtual Exposure Therapy Apps Work

There are currently two different way in which Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy can be used. The first utilises computers, and various immersion devices such as the Oculus Rift, and the second newer systems incorporate a modern phone with appropriate headset such as the Samsung Gear. Essentially, Virtual Reality Therapy is able to provide auditory and visual stimulation, simulating situations and events that form the basis of the person’s anxiety or phobia, in order to gradually and incrementally expose them to the feared scenario in a virtual setting. What makes our therapy app so special is that it is interactive. So, not only can you look around your 3D environment, you can use a simple hand held controller to interact with your 3D environment. This puts YOU in control, and makes our app a particularly powerful resource in overcoming a phobia.

Benefits of Virtual Exposure Therapy

Perhaps one of the main benefits of Virtual Reality Therapy for phobias is the fact that it will allow a person to tackle their fears ‘head on’. Many psychologists believe that exposure to stimuli is the ideal way in which to eliminate negative thoughts and anxiety triggers in response to those stimuli. This therapeutic approach comes under the umbrella of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT for short. Virtual Reality Therapy takes this model to another level entirely.

Virtual Reality Therapy can be used to treat a wide array of different phobias and anxieties in ways that are limited in conventional methods. For example, Virtual Reality phobia treatment can enable a therapist to treat everything from claustrophobia to fear of crowds, without having to accompany the client into a public space, which can be time consuming, expensive and impractical.

Apps For Anxiety Put You In Control

An added benefit of Virtual Exposure Therapy, is that YOU are in control. Using the techniques taught with the app you can move around in the environment freely. Entering and exiting as you choose. You learn to be in control of your mind and your body in the chosen environment, leading to a rapid ability to overcome anxiety.

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy has come a long way in recent years. Technology has advanced to the point where simulated situations appear incredibly real and immersive, making it an ideal medium for phobia treatment. Of course, as technology has improved, Virtual Reality Therapy for phobias has become even more effective too. For those who are looking for a leading edge treatment, using techniques which have been scientifically proven to work time and again, Virtual Exposure Therapy is the app for you.