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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Dr Olga Lavalle & Associates

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

Phone: 02 42445636
Fax: 02 42731167

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