What is Virtual Reality (VR) Therapy?

VR Therapy is a part of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. It is used for feared situations that are difficult to access within sessions, allowing the patient to learn and practice strategies to help manage their anxiety. For example, if you fear flying, the dentist, bugs, needles, thunderstorms or any other situation that is difficult, VR therapy can be utilised to practice coping strategies and help overcome fears.

Is it evidence based?

VR Therapy has over 20 years of research showing its effectiveness. It has been found to be effective in treating anxiety and phobias, as well as techniques for relaxation.

How does it work?

An assessment is completed by one of our trained psychologists, and then a Cognitive Behaviour Program is delivered using virtual reality to place the patient in their feared situation.

We use international technology that includes a VR headset, software from a mobile platform, and a computer program managed by the psychologist, to deliver the treatment.

During exposure, physiological responses are measured to monitor and track the progress of the patient.

What does VR Therapy treat?

VR Therapy can be utilised to treat a range of different anxiety-producing situations, including but not limited to:

  • Fear of Flying
  • Fear of Driving
  • Fear of Needles
  • Fear of Public Speaking
  • Fear of Bugs
  • Fear of Heights
  • Addiction
  • Pain Management
  • Relaxation
  • Agoraphobia
  • Acrophobia
  • Social Anxiety

Why choose VR Therapy?

The main component of any phobia is graded exposure therapy. This involves the person slowly being exposed to feared situations to practise learned coping skills. For many situations, such as fear of flying or fear of the dentist, it is difficult to re-create the situation in order to practice coping mechanisms. VR technology has allowed for this gap in treatment to be filled, creating real-life exposure of the situation in the safety of our consulting rooms.  

VR Therapy is continually being developed. It not only can be used for phobias, but also Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), pain management, stress management, relaxation and mindfulness skills. For example, a client who has a fear of driving due to a motor vehicle accident and the resulting PTSD can be treated using VR Therapy.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to call us to discuss VR Therapy further, and how it can help you, please call our practice on (02) 4244 5636.

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TECHNOLOGY AS THERAPY DID YOU SAY?

Today, technology💻📱🕹 is being blamed for increasing social isolation, lowered communication skills, decreased attention spans, and even for violence. With a rise in people being encouraged to have a break from technology did you know that technology can help some people?

Did you know technology can be used in therapy and help people deal with fears?
Or help with meditation or relaxation?
Or even help to distract people from pain?

HOW? 🤔

We have now started to use Virtual Reality (VR) equipment as part of therapy to help clients overcome anxiety and phobias.

With over 20 years of research, VR Therapy has had positive outcomes and has improved traditional therapy in many ways.

Over the years, psychologists have found it challenging to treat phobias because it is difficult to recreate the specific feared environment. With VR technology, gaps in treatment have been filled, and a graded exposure program can be delivered in a virtual world and undertaken in a safe therapeutic environment. VR therapy allows you to learn to respond to the feared stimuli without the mind and body becoming over alerted before you face your fear in the real world. At any time during the exposure in a virtual world, if you become very anxious, relaxation or diaphragmatic breathing can be introduced in the virtual world to help you before returning to the feared situation.

WHAT PROBLEMS CAN IT BE USED FOR? 🤔

VR Therapy can be used for many disorders including fear of flying 🛩, fear of driving 🚗, fear of needles 💉, fear of public speaking 👩‍🎤, fear of bugs 🕷, fear of heights 🏗, agoraphobia, test anxiety 📝📚, pain management, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders and many other disorders.

VR Therapy can also be used to help with relaxation, mindfulness, and stress management.

HOW DOES IT WORK? 🤔

An assessment is completed on your suitability for VR Therapy, and then if you are assessed as suitable, the exposure component of the Cognitive Behaviour Program is delivered in a virtual world.

You will still engage in therapy verbally before and after the virtual exposure program to put things into perspective and will still have to complete out of sessions tasks.

WHAT EQUIPMENT IS USED? 🤔

A VR headset 😎, software from a mobile platform, and a computer program 💻managed by a psychologist are used to deliver the treatment. During exposure, physiological responses are measured with biofeedback sensors to monitor and track the progress of the client.

So next time you start getting anxious because you know you have to get on a flight or get a needle or face some other feared situation. Why not try some VR Therapy.

We at Dr Olga Lavalle & Associates are the first 😱to provide Virtual Reality Therapy in the Illawarra. For further information, please contact us on 02 42445636

See you in the virtual world!

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Have Questions?

Get in Touch

Suite 2 / Level 3
221-229 Crown St
Wollongong NSW 2500

Phone: 02 42445636
Fax: 02 42731167

Let’s connect

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