young female meditating with virtual reality headset in park

Virtual Psychotherapy

If you’re one of the millions of people worldwide who suffer from mental health issues, would you consider participating in virtual reality therapy?


We’ve already blogged about VR’s role in medicine and healing, so we’re excited to delve into the prospect of virtual mental health treatment.


Drug-free Exposure Therapy


VR in this context is best applied to anxiety disorders, phobias, addictions, and PTSD. The common element in treating these conditions is managed exposure. Virtual treatment for these conditions focuses on flooding and systematic desensitization.


In VR, flooding is exactly what it sounds like; a rush of stimuli for the patient representing his or her fears or triggers. The more gentle approach is systemic desensitization or graduated exposure therapy, which presents stimuli in incremental volume or intensity.


In either case, patients will be coached in relaxation techniques prior to beginning treatment. The aim is to prepare and then apply coping mechanisms which can then be used in daily life.


In the video below we get a look at an Oxford University project to help acclimatize patients to the London Underground and the USC’s Bravemind program for PTSD among several others.



Don’t Try VR Therapy at Home


Current VR therapy applications are being developed with professional use in mind. Although VR allows for high levels of customization, these therapeutic experiences are intended to be administered and supervised by a mental health professional.


Preventative VR Experiences


Virtual reality therapy can also be used for preventative mental health. VR has come to be associated with flashy video games and impressive marketing displays, but remember this is a versatile medium with almost endless applications.


Meditation (including guided programs) and general relaxation are possible with a combination of picturesque imagery and a soothing audio component. You could start by walking along a private tropical beach or making your way through a Zen garden. Why not get creative and put a labyrinth on Titan with a clear view of Saturn’s rings?


Stambol Studios is poised to assist anyone interested in using VR for business. Not sure if your business can benefit from a immersive experiences? Just ask.


Image credit: PR Image Factory / Shutterstock