Phobias: Symptoms and Treatment at VR Therapy
Phobias come in numerous forms and can vary just as greatly in their severity. While many people may have common fears, such as those of heights, public speaking, or spiders, phobias represent fears that have become so significant that they are interfering with one's daily living, career, or long-term goals. Phobias may become so severe that individuals stop participating in important activities, or prevent them from moving forward with their lives and pursuing their goals. Sometimes, reactions to a feared situation can become so severe that they escalate into panic attacks, which in turn can create unwanted or unsafe situations and consequences, such as experiencing a panic attack while driving, or carrying out and/or avoiding responsibilities at work or home because of a feared object or environment.
For a comprehensive description of phobia symptoms, please visit the National Institute of Mental Health's page on specific phobias: NIMH Specific Phobias
How VR Therapy can help with phobias
When you come into VR Therapy, we will work on putting together a complete picture of your phobia by looking at your history and gaining an understanding of all the factors that have contributed to its development. As therapy progresses at a pace that you set, and you have learned a variety of relaxation techniques, we will be able to gradually introduce you to virtual scenarios that will help you master any environments and situations that are relevant to overcoming your phobia--all while under the guidance of a licensed therapist who understands the challenges and complexities of your particular challenges.
In order to understand how this process will work for you, consider the example of someone who has severe claustrophobia, which is interfering with some of their responsibilities at work. After learning about how the person's claustrophobia developed and changed over time, we would help the individual gradually overcome the claustrophobia by creating a series of virtual environments that would allow him or her to progressively master confined spaces. For instance, an initial scenario might involve a larger space that only brings about mild discomfort. As the person mastered each environment over a series of visits to our office, and with the close help and guidance of his or her therapist, the individual would eventually be able to overcome the claustrophobia in the safe environment at VR Therapy.