Virtual Reality Assisted Therapy

Insight Psychological Inc. is now offering Virtual Reality Assisted Therapy for guided meditation and some common phobias, such as:

  • Spiders, cockroaches and wasps
  • Flying
  • Public speaking
  • Deep water

This is currently offered out of our South Edmonton location. We make tackling anxiety and phobias a reality with the support of new advancements in the area of Virtual Reality (VR).

Virtual Reality is a computer-based system that allows a user to experience a sense of presence in a computer-generated or video presented three-dimensional environment. Visual and auditory information is delivered through a head-mounted system which tracks head and hand movements so that the movements and images are experienced in a natural way allowing a client to experience a sense of full immersion into the experience.

Virtual Reality Assisted Therapy is a form of therapy that utilizes the immersive experience that VR technology provides to support individuals who experience anxiety related to common fears or phobias like bugs, heights, driving or flying.

Once Virtual Reality Assisted Therapy has been determined to be an effective form of therapy for the client through one or more initial diagnostic interview(s), they are guided through a VR environment that creates a three-dimensional experience to replicate the targeted fear or phobia. By using VR it allows for a safe and controlled delivery of sensory stimulation via the therapist and computer which leads to a more convenient and cost-effective treatment than bringing in the phobic material or going out into the potentially risky environment.

Who is Virtual Reality Assisted Therapy for?

Virtual Reality Assisted Therapy may be a useful form of therapy for:

  • Individuals experiencing phobias or anxiety related to:
    • Heights
    • Bugs (spiders, cockroaches, wasps/bees)
    • Flying
    • Underwater
  • Individuals who do not experience motion sickness in virtual environments
  • Individuals who can wear the Virtual Reality headset (this may be a challenge with glasses – contact lenses may be recommended for your session to ensure headset fit)
  • Individuals interested in tackling their anxieties and phobias through immersive and supported therapy

How Does it Work?

A typical treatment course for VR begins with 1–3 initial sessions in which psycho-education occurs regarding the specific disorder, a gathering of a psychosocial history to ensure there are no other issues present that would warrant concern and an overview of avoidance and the rationale for exposure.  The process of VR based exposures is also typically discussed with the clients. It is important to note that many Virtual Reality Assisted Therapy treatments sessions may include relaxation and/or improving coping strategies.  These can include deep breathing, improved relaxation or cognitive restructuring skillsets. Following this, the subsequent sessions will typically include VR exposure in which the client progresses at a customized pace through a graded exposure hierarchy or program in combination with the therapist’s recommendations.

Each step on the hierarchy can be repeated until the client’s anxiety decreases and progressing through the hierarchy is a collaborative approach which is discussed with the therapist before they move on to the next step in the graded exposure. We also have the ability to integrate EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) with Virtual Reality Assisted Therapy for advanced therapeutic improvements.

Simply call Insight Psychological Inc. to book your Virtual Reality Assisted Therapy initial diagnostic interview with a therapist.