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Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) offers a “new way of doing therapy” that has important advantages for the therapeutic context. The virtual experience is capable of producing the same reactions and emotions in the person as the ones he/she would experience in a similar situation in the real world. It is not necessary to wait until the events occur in the real world, thus increasing the possibilities for self-training.

This tool offers a series of important advantages in the therapeutic context:

  • Unlike in the real world, the virtual world can be controlled by a computer.
  • The fact that the situations are not “real” helps the patients to accept the exposure better.
  • An exposure hierarchy can be designed, and all of the situations can be graduated according to the patient’s needs and without waiting for them to occur in real life (e.g., travel).
  • The same exposure task can be repeated over and over without changing its parameters.
  • It favours ethical aspects such as the protection of privacy, as it is not necessary for the patient to manifest his/her symptoms in public places.
  • It is not necessary to leave the office to do exposure tasks, which means there is a great savings in terms of time (e.g., fear of flying).

 

 Currently, many studies support the efficacy of this technique in the treatment of various 
anxiety disorders, such as specific phobias (e.g., Botella et al., 1998, 2004), panic disorder 
(e.g., Botella et al., 2007), social anxiety disorder (e.g., Klinger et al., 2005), or post-traumatic 
stress disorder (e.g., Baños et al., 2009, 2011). 
 

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