Tag Archives: Phobias

Virtual reality spiders help arachnophobes see real spiders as smaller and less scary


“A new study, published in the journal Biological Psychology, exposed participants with arachnophobia (a fear of spiders) first to real spiders and then to virtual ones.

There were two important findings – first that these “spider phobic” participants overestimated a spider’s size, secondly that this bias could then be reduced using VR.

Though it was already known that a fear of a particular object or event can increase your attention to it, this is the first time it has been shown that individuals with arachnophobia overestimate a spider’s size.”

By Melissa Hogenboom for BPS Research Digest

Read more: http://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/04/hanging-out-with-virtual-reality.html?m=1

The incredible future of VR isn’t video games or movies—it’s medicine (video)


“An Argentinian psychologist named Fernando Tarnogol, has created a software platform called Phobos that uses VR to treat extreme fears and anxieties like acrophobia (fear of heights) and arachnophobia (fear of spiders) by mimicking the triggering conditions in a safe, controlled virtual environment.

Tarnogol hopes that in the future, people with a wide range of anxieties and phobias will use VR as a safe, low-cost supplement to traditional exposure therapy.”

Image, text and video by Cara Santa Maria for Fusion.net

Read more: http://fusion.net/video/278579/real-future-episode-10-doctor-vr/

Beyond Gaming: 10 Other Fascinating Uses for Virtual-Reality Tech


“Virtual-reality (VR) headsets are now being used in many industries as a way of training people or providing a new way to experience things.

Here are 10 ways virtual-reality technology is being used beyond gaming.”

1. Entertainment
2. Health care
3. Space
4. Museums
5. Automotive manufacturing
6. Education
7. Courtrooms
8. Meditation & Mental Health
9. Shopping
10. Military

By Knvul Sheikh at Live Science

Read more: http://www.livescience.com/53392-virtual-reality-tech-uses-beyond-gaming.html

Virtual reality is about to completely transform psychological therapy


“The clinical use for VR as therapy has been generating a “rich scientific literature” for the past 20 years, according to Dr. Albert “Skip” Rizzo of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies.

“Finally, the technology has caught up with the vision in this area, and I expect it to really take off in the next year,” Rizzo tells Tech Insider.

“It has not been the theory or research that has held back clinical VR, rather the availability, adoption and costs that have limited its widespread use.”

Image and text by Kevin Loria at Tech Insider

Read more: http://www.techinsider.io/how-virtual-reality-is-used-for-ptsd-and-anxiety-therapy-2016-1

Virtual Reality Being Used To Help People Conquer Real World Fears (video)


“Overcoming phobias when people have extreme reactions, to things like snakes or speaking in public. Virtual reality is now being used to help people conquer real world fears.

Dr. Skip Rizzo, of the Institute for Creative Technologies, uses virtual reality to treat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We can put people back in these simulations and help them to confront and process very difficult emotional memories,” Dr. Rizzo said.”

By Stephanie Stahl at CBS3

Read more: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2016/01/08/health-virtual-reality-being-used-to-help-people-conquer-real-world-fears/

2016 May Be The Year That Virtual Reality Can Treat Anxiety, Autism and PTSD (video)


“A new video from The Economist claims that 2016 will be the year of the “virtual reality takeover”.

Perhaps most interestingly, virtual reality isn’t all just fun and games; it’s expanded into the medical world, offering new therapies for people suffering from autism, anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The video describes the use of virtual reality exposure therapy for a former soldier suffering from PTSD, noting that it can help ease the mental illness.

“We’re helping patients to confront and process difficult emotional memories by putting them back in simulations of what they were traumatized in,” Skip Rizzo, a psychologist who works with virtual reality exposure therapy, said in the video.”

By Lecia Bushak at Medical Daily

Read more: http://www.medicaldaily.com/pulse/virtual-reality-takeover-2016-may-be-year-virtual-reality-can-treat-anxiety-autism-367204

Virtual reality students explore phobia treatment


“Two engineering undergraduate students at the University of Santa Clara, Paul Thurston and Bryce Mariano, devoted their last semester of college in Spring 2015 to treat acrophobia, the fear of heights, with technology using virtual reality goggles to simulate the sensation of being at high altitude during therapy.

Mariano and Thurston envision that a certified therapist and a patient would use the goggles together. The patient would view the three-dimensional world from a simulated perspective on top of a building, while the therapist would adjust the levels and exposure amount based on emotional and physical cues.”

Image and text by Agatha Kereere at S.F. Examiner

Read more: http://www.sfexaminer.com/virtual-reality-students-explore-phobia-treatment/



“Doctors and researchers are using virtual reality technology to create simulated events to help patients facing real life issues every day.

“We can put people back in these simulations and help them to confront and process very difficult emotional memories,” Dr. Skip Rizzo at the University of Southern California said.

“The range of areas include psychological treatments, cognitive assessment and rehabilitation, physical therapy is a big area.”

By Denise Dador at ABC7 News LA

Read more: http://abc7.com/health/video-game-technology-used-to-treat-ptsd-phobias/1078235/

Atlanta Clinic Battles Phobias Using Virtual Reality (incl. audio)


“Emory University clinical psychologist Barbara Rothbaum is one of the nation’s authorities on exposure therapy. She says, “It helps teach in their minds, heads and bodies, ‘I don’t need to be scared of this. I can stay in this situation, and my anxiety will come down.’”

Rothbaum was one of the people who helped pioneer bringing exposure therapy into the virtual world.

Fears like flying, heights or post-traumatic stress disorder often involve scenarios that are difficult — or even impossible — to revisit in real life.

And that’s where virtual reality exposure therapy comes in…”



Read more: http://news.wabe.org/post/atlanta-clinic-battles-phobias-using-virtual-reality

Virtual Reality as a Therapy Tool

“Doctors say immersing patients in simulated situations helps them confront their worst fears.

Virtual-reality headsets have long been thought of as the ultimate gaming accessory. Now, therapists increasingly are embracing them as an effective therapeutic tool.

The use of immersive virtual reality in mental-health treatment—placing patients in various simulated situations designed to help them deal with their difficulties—has been booming over the past two decades.

“Virtual reality offers the promise of a fundamentally new way to treat certain psychiatric disorders,” says Elias Aboujaoude, a Stanford University psychiatrist.”


By AMY WESTERVELT at The Wall Street Journal.

Read more: http://www.wsj.com/articles/virtual-reality-as-a-therapy-tool-1443260202