Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Facing Fears Through VR

Hundreds of therapist use VR to treat phobias. Studies have shown that VR has a more effective way of treating this than any other method. South African Psychologist James Taylor developed "Graduated exposure therapy". This Method Gradually exposes patients to what they are afraid of while getting therapy.

A psychologist and a computer scientist published the first paper examining VR as therapy, finding that it successfully helped patients overcome a fear of heights. The next year, a pair of scientists published a paper on the successes of using it to cure arachnophobia, or fear of spiders. Among their patients was a woman they dubbed “Ms. Muffet,” whose fear compelled her to duct-tape the doors and windows of her bedroom each night.

Exposure therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, involves subjecting patients to increasing amounts of things they fear, or otherwise hope to avoid. It is one of the great success stories of mental health, and it’s not just for phobias. Research on cases of intense fear and even traumatic brain injury shows that for a number of problems, the only way out is through.

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