Stephanie heard about virtual therapy as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and specific forms of phobia. As a survivor of the plane accident, she developed the fear of flying and wanted to overcome this.
I am crippled with this disorder. I want to take my life back. I want to travel the world without the fear that the plane that I’m in will crash. I need to do something about this.
What is Virtual Therapy?
Virtual reality was initially used to train pilots using simulation activities. Scientists and psychiatrists later found out that this type of science and technology can also be applied to treat specific mental health disorders. Today, virtual or exposure therapy can help persons overcome PTSD and phobic disorders.
What to expect during a virtual therapy session?
First of all, you will be assessed by a psychologist or psychiatrist and will determine if you really need to undergo this type of therapy. Certain limitations are considered such as pre-existing medical conditions like cardiac conditions, e.g., hypertension, arrhythmias or palpitations, and chest pains. As the person is exposed to the real situations where fear is elicited, the body also presents real-life physiological manifestations toward the object of fear. Thus, this can lead to adverse complications later on.
There is no specific number of sessions. This will depend on how you react, i.e., if the overall treatment is doing positive or negative effects on you. Not all patients who undergo virtual therapy have a positive outcome.
Several years ago, VR rooms were created where the sessions are done. The doctor or therapist is with you and guiding you through the different phases of the course. Today, anyone can do exposure therapy right in their own living room. Using a VR headset, you can select any environment that can transport you to another dimension and interact with the virtual characters or elements.
What happens after the session?
Your doctor will try to process your experiences and will map out your progress. If this is your first time to use VR, you will experience virtual motion sickness. It’s still pretty much like the typical motion sickness, but this is caused by your transition from the virtual world back to reality where you will have problems in balancing the depth and gravitational forces.
Additional information that you will need to know
Virtual Therapy Connect recommended that you ask your doctor before doing the therapy. Exposure therapy may be new to you and promises to help you with your mental health conditions; however, it is critical that you are aware and knowledgeable about the whole thing. The following are sample questions that you can start asking:
- What kind of approach do you use?
- How will you help me reach my goals?
- What will you expect of me?
- Do you give specific assignments between sessions?
- How often will we meet and for how long?
- Will this therapy be short or long-term?
- How much does each session cost?
After you have obtained all the necessary information about virtual therapy, you will be asked to sign a written informed consent to signify your willingness and understanding of the treatment.