14 Jul Benefits of Virtual Reality in Mental Health
The Benefits of Virtual Reality in Mental Health
VR started as a technology used by the military and aviators for simulation and training (Wiederhold & Wiederhold, 1998), later being developed as a technology for entertainment. Afterwards, VR entered the world of psychology, medicine, and education.
VR has been used in psychology over the past 25 years. Since the first studies, researchers have seen the potential of VR, and the need for further development to obtain more significant results.
Today VR equipment has evolved, and contains virtual environments and avatars. Its diffusion has caused the price of Virtual Reality to drop significantly, until it could be considered an accessible-to-all technology.
What does VR provide in psychology compared to traditional methods?
Thanks to VR immersion (quality of multisensory stimulation) and interaction the person feels physically inside virtual environments.
Virtual reality allows the therapist to apply the techniques of exposure, systematic desensitization, diaphragmatic breathing, muscle relaxation, visualization/imagery, mindfulness and EMDR without the need to use imagination or leave the therapist’s office for in vivo exposure.
This greatly reduces the effort for the patients, increasing their disposition to therapy and increasing therapeutic adherence.
With virtual reality environments the therapist can set different variables in order to control and adapt the intervention to the needs of each patient. Also, allowing you to repeat certain conditions as many times as necessary to work on a therapeutic goal.
Like in vivo exposure techniques, virtual reality exposure has proven to be more effective than imagination, and allows the therapist to treat more patients and in less time.
Greater feasibility with RV
The use of VR in psychology has proven to be profitable because it reduces the costs and is more practical by eliminating in vivo exposure. There is no need to go to other places since everything is in the therapist’s office.
Psious Virtual Reality
In Psious we develop VR for mental health intervention providing more than 70 adaptable virtual environments according to the needs of each patient and therapist.
Our VR solution is based on validated scientific studies and the clinical experience of mental health professionals.
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Amanda A. Benbow, Page L. Anderson (2019). A meta-analytic examination of attrition in virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety disorders. Journal of Anxiety Disorders 61, 18-26.
Helene S. Wallach, Marilyn Phyllis Safir and Margalit Bar-Zvi (2009). Virtual Reality Cognitive Behavior Therapy for public speaking anxiety: A randomized clinical trial. Sage Publications, Vol 33, N 3, 314-338.Fernandez, E., Salem, D., Swift, J. K., & Ramtahal, N. (2015). Meta-analysis of dropout from cognitive behavioral therapy: Magnitude, timing, and moderators. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83(6), 1108-1122.
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