Virtual Reality Therapy Services

Tonya McDaniel, ABD, MEd in Human Sexuality, MSW, LSW

Posted by: Tonya McDaniel
ABD, MEd in Human Sexuality, MSW, LSW

VIRTUAL REALITY: AT THE FOREFRONT OF TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES WITH 3D SIMULATIONS TO TREAT MENTAL DISORDERS

The Center for Growth offers Virtual Reality (VR) as one of their innovative services for mental health with the aim of improving therapies for a variety of mental disorders. Virtual Reality is validated by over 20 years of psychological research, shown to improve traditional therapy in a number of ways, including increase accessibility to specific phobias, decrease in costs and time in therapy. Until recently, this technology was only available at Medical Centers and university research laboratories.

Anxiety disorders, from relatively simple specific fears to complex general anxiety, affect approximately 20% of the population, and are one of the main causes of work absenteeism. These disorders affect the quality of life of the patient and tend to worsen if not treated properly. “I wish I had decided to try it before, my life was limited by my irrational fear of flying and I didn't want to accept it. People who suffer from a phobia develop avoidance behaviors in order to not face the fear, and this is why I did fly in a plane for 20 years. Virtual Reality allows you to do so in a controlled and gradual way to get over your fear in a few sessions and without being embarrassed or having a bad time during the treatment” said Dani Roig, Psious co-founder and ex-phobic. [not sure if we need this paragraph]

In the safety of the therapist’s office, clients put on VR goggles and fingertip, biofeedback measuring devices that are connected to a specialized computer program. The therapist is able to manipulate specific conditions, sights, sounds, and scenarios in the artificial environment to specifically target the feared event. Using the biofeedback measures and verbal assessments, the therapist is able to increase or decrease the anxiety provoking stimuli as needed. These customized therapeutic environments allows the therapist to gradually desensitize clients leading to a faster recovery.

Virtual Reality therapy can be used to target specific conditions, such as:

Fear of:

  • Flying
  • Driving
  • Public Speaking
  • Test Taking
  • Insects
  • Animals
  • Small places (Claustrophobia)
  • Large places (Agoraphobia)
  • Heights
  • Needles
  • Darkness

Or Virtual Reality therapy can be used to target specific disorders, such as:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Social Anxiety
  • Generalized Anxiety
  • Panic Disorders
  • Eating Disorders

Additionally, Virtual Reality therapy can be used to learn specific relaxation techniques, such as:

  • Diaphragmatic Breathing
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Mindfulness
  • Body Scanning

 

The Center for Growth is eager to help more people with anxiety disorders. To receive more information about the therapeutic experience using Virtual Reality, you can contact us at (267) 324-9564.