Virtual Reality Therapy

Virtual Reality Therapy is the use of virtual reality technology for psychological or occupational therapy. Patients receiving virtual reality therapy navigate through digitally created environments and complete specially designed tasks often tailored to treat a specific psychological disorder. It is widely used as an alternative form of exposure therapy, in which patients interact with harmless virtual representations of traumatic stimuli in order to reduce fear responses. 

VRT is often used to treat fears, involves slowly and carefully exposing patients to the feared object or situation until they overcome their distress. When the patient realizes, after repeated exposure, that nothing negative has occurred as a result of the exposure, he or she is able to confront and gain control of the fear. VRT has proven to be especially effective at treating PTSD and Phobia Disorders. It has also been used to help stroke patients regain muscle control, to treat other disorders such as body dysmorphia, and to improve social skills in those diagnosed with autism.

How does VR Therapy Work - Systematic Desensitization

Introducing virtual reality into exposure therapy sessions allows for example, a patient with a fear of flying to “participate” virtually in a scene while wearing a VR headset in the “inside” of an airplane during a treatment session. During repeated immersion in the scene, sensors in the headpiece detect movement, so when the patient moves his or her head, it seems as if he or she is looking around the cabin of an airplane. The patient hears the flight attendants and pilots making announcements, just as would occur during a real flight. Virtual engines “shake” and “rumble” to simulate engines preparing for takeoff. Turbulence and descent are mimicked in a similar manner. For a patient with a profound fear of flying, the scenario would be enough to elicit anxiety or even a panic attack if it were real. However, after repeated exposures to VR sessions in which the patient emerges unscathed from the experience, he or she is able to overcome the phobia. Below are the problems we treat using VRT. You can free yourself from Phobias and Anxiety with Virtual Reality Therapy. Click on a phobia or problem below to learn more...

CBT&VRT Treatment  for Trauma/PTSD/Phobias

Our VR Treatment Plan for Trauma/PTSD and Phobia comprise of two therapeutic techniques: CBT and VRT Therapy. This makes our treatment approach systematically different from conventional VR treatment currently being offered by other VR therapists. Once you agree to be treated by us, we will start your treatment by offering you conventional CBT/REBT Therapy. The main reason for this is for us to work together on changing your irrational thinking/beliefs - which trigger and maintain the unhealthy negative emotions/feelings you are experiencing. Once we have successfully changed your irrational beliefs cognitively and emotionally, we will then target the behavioural component of the problem through gradually introducing Virtual Reality Therapy.  After the CBT/REBT phase, and with your new adopted rational belief, you should be much more prepared cognitively and emotionally for the behavioural phase; Virtual Immersion Treatment/VRT. We believe this is the safest and most effective treatment pathway for our clients with a much higher success rate. The full process and treatment plan will be explained to you before the treatment commences. 

What is Trauma

Trauma can be defined as a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing to a trauma survivor. A trained Trauma Therapist can treat a survivor for the traumatic event that have helped to create the disturbance in their life which they are currently suffering from. If you find yourself being constantly berated by negative ‘mind chatter’, or unable to move forward with your life because of recurring thoughts of a past or present traumatic event, then I can help you to develop strategies to change your way of thinking and coping in order to overcome those thoughts of this traumatic event and develop a more positive mindset and healthy belief. CBT can be used for the first half of your treatment, to correct your irrational thoughts and beliefs. Once the emotional/psychological component of the disorder has been treated, Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT) can be introduced and used to treat the behavioural component of the disorder to complete the full treatment. However, this will only be done with your consent and through joint negotiation and collaboration with you. If you decide not to proceed with VRT, treatment, then conventional CBT techniques will be deployed for the entire treatment plan.es of Trauma 

Because trauma reactions fall across a wide spectrum, psychologists have developed categories as a way to differentiate between types of trauma. Among them are complex trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and developmental trauma disorder.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD can develop after a person has been exposed to a terrifying event or has been through an ordeal in which intense physical or psychological harm occurred or was threatened. Sufferers of PTSD have persistent and frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal.

Complex Trauma   

Complex Trauma happens repetitively. It often results in direct harm to the individual. The effects of complex trauma are cumulative. The traumatic experience frequently transpires within a particular time frame or within a specific relationship, and often in a specific setting.

Development Trauma 

Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) is a recent term in the study of psychology. This disorder forms during a child’s first three years of life. The result of abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment, developmental trauma interferes with the child’s neurological, cognitive, and psychological development. It disrupts the child's ability to attach to an adult caregiver. An adult who inflicts developmental trauma usually doesn’t do it intentionally – rather, it happens because they are not aware of the social and emotional needs of children.

Trauma Symptoms

Often, shock and denial are typical reactions to a traumatic event. Over time, these emotional responses may fade, but a survivor may also experience reactions long-term. These can include:

  • Anger
  • Persistent feelings of sadness and despair
  • Flashbacks
  • Unpredictable emotions
  • Physical symptoms, such as nausea and headaches
  • Intense feelings of guilt, as if they are somehow responsible for the event
  • An altered sense of shame
  • Feeling of isolation and hopelessness 

Other Types of Trauma Treatments We Provide

Our Trained Trauma Therapists can assess your unique needs and device a treatment plan (Bespoke Treatment Plan) specifically for the type of trauma you are suffering from.

Currently, there are several trauma therapy modalities in place we use:

  • Trauma Focused - Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (TF - CBT) teaches the client to become more aware of their thoughts and beliefs about their trauma and gives them skills to help them react to emotional triggers in a healthier way.
  • Exposure Therapy (also called In Vivo Exposure Therapy) is a form of cognitive behaviour therapy that is used to reduce the fear associated with the emotional triggers caused by the trauma.
  • Talk Therapy (psychodynamic psychotherapy) is a method of verbal communication that is used to help a person find relief from emotional pain and strengthen the adaptive ways of problem management that the individual already possesses.
  • Somatic Therapy is a holistic form of therapy that studies the relationship between the mind and body in regard to psychological past. The theory behind somatic therapy is that trauma symptoms are the effects of instability of the ANS (autonomic nervous system). Past traumas disrupt the ANS. It aimed at relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client's perceived body sensations. Somatic Therapy was created by trauma therapist Peter A. Levine.

What Happens in Therapy?

The above modalities treat the memory portion (the unconscious) of the trauma, however we now know that a survivor’s conscious brain must be treated, as well. Recent studies have found that body-oriented approaches such as mindfulness, yoga and EMDR are powerful tools for helping the mind and body reconnect.

A typical treatment plan will comprise of the following:

  • Stabilizing and safety 
  • Pyscho-education / understanding the impact of the trauma
  • Motivation (identify/develop the client's goal)
  • Coping skills
  • Trauma resolution

Our preferred modalities use are Trauma Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (TF-CBT), Somatic Therapy but our therapists are trained in the application of other modalities too. 

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