Virtual Reality Therapy is a real thing. It sounds weird, right? To call something “virtual” a real thing. But it is! Apparently, there are therapists who allow their clients the opportunity to face their fears in a safe environment that is simulated. The person who is undergoing VR Therapy is in this form of treatment to get past a phobia. If they are afraid of the dark, for example, they will be placed in a situation where they must confront their fear of darkness. Maybe that’s a dark house where the light switches don’t work, or perhaps they’re walking along in the woods without a flashlight. Whatever the case may be, they aren’t able to escape their greatest fear: darkness. Being forced to walk in the darkness assists them in overcoming their phobia.
It gets you thinking, it’s hard to “fix” yourself in the “real world.” Why is that? In our day-to-day lives, we are preoccupied with work, family, relationships and everyday distractions. Whereas, when you are in a virtual world, you feel freer to explore different possibilities. You are not distracted, because you’ve come to that virtual reality with a mission: to face your fear. You’re not there for a vacation, you’re there to address your mental health. When you first step into this virtual reality, your system might go into a state of shock. Maybe you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do after you’ve been thrust suddenly into a foreign environment.
You will figure that out. It’s sort of like traveling to a new country where you don’t know the language. You might be shocked at first, and then after assimilating into the culture more, you’ll begin to speak the language and understand how to navigate this new place. The same sort of thing will happen in VR Therapy. You’ll eventually figure out where you are and what you need to do to accomplish your mental health goals while you’re there.
On the one hand, it could be easier to solve your problems or face your fears in an entirely unfamiliar environment. It’s a neutral territory and you won’t be surrounded by familiar distractions. You may be able to hyper-focus on what your fear is and conquer it. That’s why you’ve chosen to do VR Therapy, to face your fears! However, lack of familiarity in an environment could also increase your anxiety in a negative way. It’s not necessarily a positive thing.
VR Therapy has been known to effectively treat trauma survivors and those living with PTSD. Prolonged exposure to what causes someone fear can actually relieve them of that fear. But, it’s important to remember that this sort of exposure-based therapy should be done under the supervision of an experienced mental health professional. The client has to be monitored and if they are showing signs of distress they should be taken out of the VR therapy simulation.
It’s not easy to face what you’re afraid of no matter where you are. Would you consider entering into an alternate reality to confront your fears?