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What Is Virtual Reality Therapy? The Future of Psychology

Dec 15, 2022
Virtual Reality therapy
You’ve probably heard of virtual reality therapy, but you may not know about virtual reality therapy. Find out how it can be used to help those struggling with mental health disorders, PTSD, and more.

You’ve probably heard of virtual reality technology. You put on a pair of 3D goggles or a headset, and you’re instantly transported into a brave new world even though you haven’t left the room where you’re standing.

Until now, virtual reality has mostly been used for video games. But as the technology improves, more and more uses are being found, including virtual reality therapy, which enables patients to deal with issues through the use of a virtual world.

If this sounds confusing, don’t worry: our team at WellMind Behavioral Health & Wellness in Cordova, Tennessee, is here to help. Here’s a brief overview of the topic of virtual reality therapy and what the future might hold.

What is virtual reality therapy?

Your first thought might be that virtual reality therapy is just talking to your therapist via a telehealth appointment if you’re not able to get together in person, but this is a completely different technology. Virtual reality therapy centers around the use of a virtual world to immerse you in a new environment when you put on the headset.

With the help of a licensed therapist, this new world is used to treat various issues including phobias, mental health issues, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. The idea is to establish a completely safe environment to recreate anxiety, phobias, or whatever issue you’re dealing with.

You’re not actually in the situation, so if the therapy becomes too intense or overwhelming, you can simply take the headset off, removing yourself from the environment.

For example, if you’re afraid of heights, your 3D simulation may place you in a glass elevator to help you overcome this fear.

Who is a candidate for virtual reality therapy?

Virtual reality therapy will likely be a good option for patients who enjoy gaming and those who like immersive experiences, but it may also be worth trying for anyone suffering from a phobia they want to overcome, depression and anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, and more.

For example, when used as an enhancement to cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSD patients, virtual reality therapy showed a success rate between 66%-90%

If you’re easily prone to dizziness, headaches, or motion sickness, virtual reality therapy may not be the best option for you, and for some mental health conditions (such as extreme depression), it certainly shouldn’t be the only method of therapy.

It’s also important to note that you should only try virtual reality therapy under the guidance of a licensed therapist. 

If you’re interested in virtual reality therapy, your next step is to set up a consultation with the team at WellMind Behavioral Health & Wellness today. Just call our office or book an appointment using our convenient online scheduler.