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Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy: A modern way forward

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

Therapy, categorized as a treatment aiming to heal or relieve disorders and illness, has been a tool and practice for improving mental health for many years. Therapy as an umbrella term encompasses a range of different specializations, methods, therapeutic tactics, and mental health topics. There is no single definition for therapy as it is a constantly changing field with the emergence of new research allowing for new ideas and approaches to be taken in supporting mental health struggles. In the modern era, technological advancements play a massive part in our everyday life, and it is essential to consider how we can utilize these platforms to improve our delivery of mental health therapy. This is where virtual reality and exposure therapy have come together here at oVRcome.

Exposure therapy is a well-established therapeutic technique, mainly focused on treating anxiety-related disorders. These anxiety-related disorders may include various phobias, social anxiety, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and even panic disorder. Exposure therapy is grounded around the idea of facing your fears in a controlled and supported way to allow you to create proper coping strategies to minimize the anxiety related to the fear and reduce avoidance of your fear in everyday life. Exposure therapy can be practised in a direct way where therapists or psychologists expose patients to their feared stimuli in real life. However, the introduction of technological interventions has allowed for a new delivery of exposure therapy. Virtual reality (at an accessible level) is a relatively new advancement in therapeutic delivery. Virtual reality allows you to experience life-like scenarios through a digital headset, in the comfort of your own home.

Bringing exposure therapy and virtual reality together has been trialled in various academic studies, with the results producing significant effective beneficial effects of virtual reality therapies on anxiety-related disorder patients. Virtual reality exposure therapy has been shown to improve negative symptoms in anxiety-related disorders, but it also has other benefits. Virtual reality exposure therapy allows us at oVRcome to deliver therapy treatment to a wider pool of people in a more accessible way.

There is a massive mental health challenge in the world we live in. There are increasing reports of mental illness within our society, and the challenge to support and combat these illnesses is also increasing. Whilst therapy is a beneficial tool for supporting mental health, it is not always accessible to the people who need it most. In-person therapy can be a costly service and one that has long wait times due to the psychologist shortage concerning the level of demand. That’s why at oVRcome we have aimed to tackle this challenge by making therapy an accessible and cost-effective treatment. Our virtual reality exposure therapy programs have been designed by psychologists and curated in a way that is suitable for a range of phobias and anxiety-related disorders and can be completed in a timeline that fits your needs. The therapeutic programs can also be completed in the comfort of your own home. Virtual reality is an extremely beneficial tool that enables this form of accessible therapy treatment to be delivered on small and large scales. In the age of COVID-19 and the uncertainty in these changing times, virtual reality also provides a consistent and stable form of therapy delivery that is catered to your personal timetable.

In the age of technological advancements, therapist shortages, and increasing mental health illnesses, it is important to keep up to date with the most recent therapeutic methods and the demand for mental health services. That’s why we offer a range of programs that each target a specific phobia or anxiety-related disorder. Look at the range of programs we offer here if this is something you or someone you love struggle with. Mental health support should not be a privilege, but an accessible tool for well-being improvement.

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