What is Virtual Reality Therapy?


woman holding a virtual reality headset in therapyTraditional exposure therapy has involved the client being able to imagine effectively or be placed physically before the specific feared stimuli in order to overcome the anxiety-producing event. This is commonly referred to as In-vivo exposure therapy because it involves the client confronting the real-world feared or stimuli.


Today, virtual reality offers an easier and more effective tool to In-vivo therapy by eliminating any potential barrier for clients who may experience difficulty with imagining or visualization.


Furthermore, through the various applications now clinically available in virtual reality, client’s can easily and safely immerse themselves into a virtual environment and work with the psychologist to overcome the fear and anxiety associated with the event.


The uses for this new technology are constantly being discovered.  Below you will find some of the recent research that has been conducted by leading universities and medical institutions demonstrating how virtual reality has been used to address various mental health issues.

This type of exposure therapy can many times be costly (e.g., an actual flight), or impractical to conduct (e.g., combat in Iraq or Afghanistan).


However, with a virtual reality therapy approach, the client is provided with an inexpensive approach and the possibility of constructing exposures in an easier and safe way through the use of technology.


The virtual reality therapy provides the therapist with the opportunity to manipulate exposures in ways that might not be possible in-vivo, such as repeating a virtual flight landing multiple times.

Virtual reality therapy also affords your therapist complete control, to control the dose and specific aspects of the exposure Fear of flying can be treated with Virtual Reality Therapyenvironment. Your therapist will match your specific feared stimuli and optimize individualized pacing through exposures. For example, if a patient with the fear of flying was not ready for turbulence, the therapist can guarantee no turbulence.


Our virtual reality approaches allow for confidentiality to remain intact while conducting exposures, which may not be the case for in-vivo exposures.  For these reasons and others,  research findings are showing that many patients report satisfaction with virtual reality-based therapy and may find it more acceptable than traditional approaches.

What is virtual reality therapy used for?



Virtual reality has been shown to help in such areas as:Virtual realiy helps in treating social anxiety

  • Anxiety and phobia exposure therapy

  • Reduce feelings of anxiety

  • Claustrophobia exposure therapy

  • Agoraphobia exposure therapy

  • PTSD exposure therapy

  • Young male having problem with social anxietyAddiction-related exposure therapy

  • Driving phobia exposure therapy

  • Skills training for depression

  • Teenage Depression


  • Fear of public speaking exposure therapyMicrophone in front of a large audience

  • Skills training for public speaking

  • Skills training for social anxiety

  • Mindfulness skills training

  • Meditation skills training

  • Practice focus meditation without distraction

  • Attention skills traininggraphic depicting a head with otter space

  • Relax before, during and after procedures

  • Mindful breathing

  • Increase a sense of wellbeing


Our virtual reality therapy program includes:



Variety of Immersive Environments


a 360 landscape as seen through virtual realityThe virtual reality session allows our clients to interact with people and places in authentic, safe, virtual environments.  Our clients are then able to face their fears, practice conversations, visit remote locations, and relax in tranquil settings while in an authentic, virtual environment.

This feature allows you to choose your own adventure types of Virtual therapy can help with fear of crowdsvirtual reality content. For example, using the driving program a client can drive on different highways, bridges, and roads in various weather conditions. Similarly, using the public speaking program clients can gain the confidence and overcome the anxiety associated with giving a presentation in front of an audience.  All aspects of the environment are adjusted by your therapist including the position in the room, how receptive the audience is and even what the audience is wearing.



Virtualreality therapy treats fear of heightsUsing the Agoraphobia program, clients can experience crowded places, public transit, open spaces and other public environments where escape seems difficult or impossible.  These and other interactive scenes can be helpful for placing clients in situations that are hard to replicate outside a therapist’s office.



State-of-the-Art  Virtual Reality Therapy Equipment

Boy in virtual world with virtual glassesThe virtual reality equipment that we use is the latest medical-grade wireless systems. You can rest assured that your session will be comfortable, safe and private.


Find out more 

Now is the time for you to get all the information about virtual reality therapy and find out if this is a viable option for your concerns. Please call our office and let us walk you through all the options and opportunities this new and exciting therapy option can offer.


+1 (844) 802-6512

Some research articles on the use of virtual reality 

DIFEDE, J. , CUKOR, J. , PATT, I. , GIOSAN, C. and HOFFMAN, H. (2006), The Application of Virtual Reality to the Treatment of PTSD Following the WTC Attack. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1071: 500-501. doi:10.1196/annals.1364.052

Falconer, C., Rovira, A., King, J., Gilbert, P., Antley, A., Fearon, P., . . . Brewin, C. (2016). Embodying self-compassion within virtual reality and its effects on patients with depression. BJPsych Open, 2(1), 74-80. doi:10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.002147

Fodor L.A., Carmen D. Coteț C.D., Cuijpers, P.,Szamoskozi, S., Ioana, D.D., Cristea, A. (2018) The effectiveness of virtual reality based interventions for symptoms of anxiety and depression: A meta-analysis. Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 10323

Gonçalves R, Pedrozo AL, Coutinho ESF, Figueira I, Ventura P (2012) Efficacy of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy in the Treatment of PTSD: A Systematic Review. PLoS ONE 7(12): e48469. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048469

Jones T, Moore T, Choo J (2016) The Impact of Virtual Reality on Chronic Pain. PLoS ONE 11(12): e0167523.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167523

McSherry, T., Atterbury, M., Gartner, S., Helmold, E., Mazzacano, D.,  Schulman, C., Randomized, Crossover Study of Immersive Virtual Reality to Decrease Opioid Use During Painful Wound Care Procedures in Adults, Journal of Burn Care & Research, Volume 39, Issue 2, March/April 2018, Pages 278–285, https://doi.org/10.1097/BCR.0000000000000589

Maples-Keller, J. L., Bunnell, B. E., Kim, S. J., & Rothbaum, B. O. (2017). The Use of Virtual Reality Technology in the Treatment of Anxiety and Other Psychiatric Disorders. Harvard review of psychiatry, 25(3), 103–113. doi:10.1097/HRP.0000000000000138

Rizzo, A., Cukor, J., Gerardi, M. et al. J Contemp Psychother (2015) 45: 255. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-015-9306-3

Rothbaum, B. O., Hodges, L., Smith, S., Lee, J. H., & Price, L. (2000). A controlled study of virtual reality exposure therapy for the fear of flying. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68(6), 1020-1026.

Shah, Lubna Bte Iskhandar et al.Efficacy of the Virtual Reality-Based Stress Management Program on Stress-Related Variables in People With Mood Disorders: The Feasibility Study. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, Volume 29, Issue 1, 6 – 13

Zeng, N., Pope, Z., Lee, J., & Gao, Z. (2018). Virtual Reality Exercise for Anxiety and Depression: A Preliminary Review of Current Research in an Emerging Field. Journal of Clinical Medicine7(3), 42. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm7030042