Employees of Duke University have found a new method of therapy for phobias and anxiety states using virtual reality technology.
Firstly, the patient undergoes a small interview. Based on the interview, the computer selects the suitable scenarios for the user to experience. The development of these scenarios is designed to prevent the user from the symptoms of existing disorders.
The scenarios are created for particular phobias such as fear of heights, thunderstorms, enclosed spaces, flights and public appearances.
The use of virtual reality in phobias therapy has several advantages over standard methods. These include higher privacy and comfort for the patient, the accuracy, and controllability of the intervention, as well as the possibility of undergoing an unlimited number of VR experiences in a stressful environment.
All mentioned above factors contribute to a higher efficiency with the use of virtual reality technologies in comparison with the traditional methods of combating phobias. The scenarios are based on works published in the mainstream journals on psychology over the past 10 years.
The duration of each virtual reality session is 45-50 minutes. Scenarios for these sessions were created by the group Virtually Better, which brought together developers from Georgia.
The most famous project of this team is Virtual Iraq, which was used at the University of Southern California to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in war veterans.