Virtual Reality Therapy
Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT) is a cutting-edge new technique that immerses the patient in a simulated environment, customized for their unique circumstances, to aid in exposure therapy of anxiety disorders. Sperling Mental Health Associates is pleased to be able to offer this therapy to our patients to help them overcome some of the most difficult phobias, fears, and anxieties.
The virtual environment is controlled by the therapist using a computer interface that gives him or her full control over the programmed scenarios. VRT treatment allows the therapist to manipulate the environment to best approach the patient’s unique anxieties and traumas. During this treatment, the patient wears a head-mounted display with a 3-D image similar to those used for virtual reality games. He or she then experiences a visual, auditory, and sensory environment that exposes them to the object or activity they are struggling with, such as air travel or speaking in front of a large group of people.
A typical treatment session usually lasts between 45 and 50 minutes and takes place within the calm, safe environment of the Sperling Psychiatry & Psychology office. Virtual Reality Therapy has been shown to be highly effective in helping patients to overcome phobias, anxieties, and trauma-based psychological issues.
Do you experience fear of flying?
One of the most common applications of Virtual Reality Therapy is the treatment of flying phobia. In this scenario, the patient experiences a virtual airline flight, along with the visual, auditory, and sensory elements of the entire flight experience. The therapist guides the details of the simulated flight, carefully approaching the sensitive portions of take-off, landing, turbulence, or even inclement weather—conditions that create the most anxiety. During this time the patient works with the therapist to practice psychological techniques they’ve been learning to induce relaxation and calm.
The goal of Virtual Reality Therapy at Sperling Psychiatry & Psychology is to use the technological capacities of VRT to give the patient enough controlled exposure to their fears to let them put their newly acquired tools to work making the real-life scenarios fear-free.
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