The York Clinic is now offering a new therapeutic approach to help people overcome specific fears (phobias) through virtual reality (VR) therapy. This therapy is a relatively new approach that makes use of the emerging technology of virtual reality to treat phobias and anxieties by exposing clients to potentially anxiety-inducing situations under very controlled conditions.

 

What is Virtual Reality therapy?

VR therapy uses mainly gradual forms of exposure that are well established and have been used to treat anxiety for decades.  Supported by a qualified Counselling Psychologist the client is confronted with whatever they are afraid of within a 3D immersive environment designed to elicit the fearful reaction. The therapist then helps the client to eventually dissolve the fear, enabling clients to go into similar real life situations without feeling anxious.

 

What issues can be treated with Virtual Reality therapy? 

VR therapy is best suited for anxieties that revolve around specific situations or events. The software used by us currently offers scenarios for

 

  • Fear of flying
  • Fear of heights
  • Fear of needles
  • Fear of public spaces (agoraphobia)
  • Fear of confined spaces (Claustrophobia)
  • Fear of animals (spiders etc.)
  • Fear of public speaking
  • Fear of driving

 

 

Why use Virtual Reality therapy?

The advantages of VR therapy lie in the ease of application and the ability to control and manipulate all aspects of the environment. It can also help clients confront situations that are difficult to practise in real life, such as flying on a plane or speaking in front of hundreds of people.

Especially in comparison to exposure in real life, the use of VR therapy offers a more private and confidential space. Clients don’t have to worry about potentially feeling embarrassed about their reactions and they know that they can always remove themselves from the situation if they wish simply by taking the headset off.

 

How much does it cost?

The approach is being trialled at the Clinic until the end of September. Therefore, sessions will be charged at the standard rate of the Counselling Psychologist offering this service (£65 per hour) during this time period. After the trial period, sessions will be slightly more expensive due to the cost of the technology.

 

Need to know more?

If you would like to find out more or want to discuss whether this approach might work for you, you can enquire with Counselling Psychologist Robina Böhnke on 07407 979897, send her an email at contact@robinaboehnke.com, or go to her website robinaboehnke.com/vr-therapy to find out more.