“Scenarios involving spiders – so many spiders, crawling all over you – heights, public transport and crowds are being tested or are already available to download and use … at Australia’s first specialist, virtual-reality phobia treatment clinic, which recently opened in Sydney.
Meanwhile a large number of research groups are investigating potential uses for the new technology.
A London-based project for example is exploring using train-station simulations to treat social anxiety. The simulated patrons can even be programmed to turn and stare at the user – helpful for treating paranoia.”
By Liam Mannix at The Sydney Morning Herald
Image: Ignis VR
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/clinic-makes-real-life-less-scary-by-letting-you-face-fears-in-virtual-reality-20161107-gsjrj3.html
“Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy, or VRET has been around since the term virtual reality was coined and implemented in the 90s.
Patients are exposed to environments and situations related to their fears by subjecting them in computer-generated environments coupled with simulated external stimuli like noise, smells and vibrations.
The visual element is often provided by a head-mounted display much like the Oculus Rift. Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy is said to have about an above 90 percent success rate in curing various panic and anxiety disorders even when VR headsets weren’t so refined.”
By MARIUS MARONILLA at Movietvtechgeeks
Read more: http://movietvtechgeeks.com/virtually-controlling-fear/
“While most virtual reality efforts are focused on game play and other forms of entertainment, the work at Stanford is squarely aimed on the potential social benefits of VR.
That translates to helping people combat fears, become more empathetic, reduce prejudice, adopt a healthier lifestyle, better withstand pain, manage their money, improve the environment, and even prepare for natural disasters.”
Image: Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab
By Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY
Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/baig/2015/06/16/stanford-vr-lab-overcome-fear-reduce-prejudice/28805611/
“For years, virtual reality has made inroads in helping to treat serious phobias, post-traumatic stress, and burn victims’ pain. Now, as the price of VR tech plummets, this therapeutic tech is advancing—and could soon become available to many more people who need it.
In fields like pain management, physical rehabilitation and the treatment of anxiety disorders such as post traumatic stress, VR is coming into its own. And thanks to the recent emergence of affordable consumer VR rigs like Samsung Gear VR, patients may finally be able to take advantage of technology that’s been inaccessible to the larger public for two decades.”
By KLINT FINLEY at Wired
Read more: http://www.wired.com/2015/03/virtual-reality-wont-just-amuse-will-heal-millions/
“Exposure therapy has proved a highly successful treatment for phobias, but it’s impractical for things such as fear of public speaking or flying. The answer may be virtual reality.
“Phobics know that when they see a little spider on the counter, they shouldn’t be panicking because technically it’s not dangerous,” says Stéphane Bouchard, a psychologist at the University of Quebec. “They’ll tell you, ‘I know this is crazy.’ But because they keep avoiding, their limbic system keeps associating spiders with danger or extreme disgust and they never undergo that corrective experience.”
For many types of phobia, however, traditional exposure therapy is not feasible. Crippling fears of public speaking or flying, for example, can be difficult to tackle practically. Over the past 10 years the solution has increasingly been the virtual world, utilising some of the technologies that brought us 3D cinema.”
By David Cox at The Guardian
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/oct/16/virtual-reality-phobias-public-speaking-flying