5 Ways That VR Can Be Used in Therapy

December 5, 2018

Mental health is a massive issue, with many people suffering from some sort of mental health issue. In the past we’ve spoken about using VR in the healthcare industry, mentioning VR’s use in exposure therapy. VR can treat multiple different mental health disorders, from agoraphobia to arachnophobia. In this blog, we’ll explore just 5 of the many ways in which VR can be used in therapy to help patients with mental health issues.

PTSD VR Exposure Therapy

PTSD is a big issue for veterans coming back from deployment, along with other individuals suffering extreme cases of stress. In attempt to aid in the recovery of those suffering from PTSD, the University of Southern California has developed Bravemind. Bravemind is a virtual reality therapy experience that attempts to use exposure therapy to treat PTSD in veterans. Veterans can immerse themselves in virtual environments and relive their trauma in a controlled environment whilst their stress levels are monitored. Bravemind has been proven to reduce symptoms and is a great use case of VR for therapy treatments.


Fear of heights automated cognitive behavioural therapy

Whilst seen as trivial, a fear of heights can affect some individuals severely. Virtual Reality can provide sufferers of acrophobia the ability to treat their anxieties. As Virtual Reality exists in 3D space, with depth, it can simulate large heights in 3D environments. Oxford University has developed an experience where players must rescue a kitten on top of a large building. After their time within the VR simulator, sufferers of acrophobia expressed a decrease in symptoms.

Treating depression with VR

Depression is one of the most common mental health issues which people suffer from. There have been various studies which have used virtual reality therapy applications to reduce symptoms of those suffering from depressions. VR applications in the past have used gamification to help reduce depression by having users combat negative thoughts and teach techniques to better conquer their depression. VReflect-Me is hoping to help those suffering from anxiety and depression by having user advise themselves by embodying an avatar of a psychiatrist. It’s based on the theory that when you advise others, you’re more objective and encouraging.


Relaxing VR Therapy Experiences

Relaxing through positive affirmations, calming visuals and experiences have been found to calm and help with those suffering from various mental disorders. There are various relaxing VR experiences from those that present tropical islands and serene environments like Nature Treks VR to applications that help with meditation like Relax VR that presents 360-degree footage with relaxing music. These types of apps are great ways for VR to provide therapy for those suffering from mental health issues.


These are just 5 of the many ways that VR can provide therapy and help those suffering from mental health issues. VR therapy applications have proven to benefit people and it’s hoped that VR and immersive technology will help more people in the future.

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