Virtual Reality Psychotherapy
In simple terms, it's the act of using a combination of computing power and optics to simulate a visual and auditory experience that seeks to fool the person into believing they're in a different space. This is usually accomplished by some combination of optics, headphones, and head tracking, allowing you to look around the virtual environment and move within it.
In short, we bring this equipment into therapy and alternate our sessions using VR with traditional face-to-face sessions.
It can be an insightful contribution to the therapy process as we explore, compare, and discuss therapeutic themes inside and outside the virtual setting.
Once everything is set up, during the first stage of the VR session, we'll work through a mini guided tour together to help you feel comfortable in the virtual reality experience. Using the Oculus Quest, we'll navigate through the same therapy process as you would in a traditional face-to-face setting. The only difference is that the discussions take place with you in a chosen VIRTUAL environment of your choice for part of the session.
Using virtual therapy doesn’t make the treatment or the relationship any less effective. It just means that we'll be working under different circumstances, leading to different yet equally valuable therapeutic discussions.
The purpose of EVRT is to create a safe and contained space where you can explore existential questions, confront fears, and gain insights into your beliefs, values, and priorities. Through the use of virtual reality, you’ll have the opportunity to create powerful metaphors and symbolic experiences that facilitate reflection, self-examination, and personal growth.
For example, a person struggling with feelings of meaninglessness may be presented with a virtual journey representing different aspects of their life, allowing them to reflect and delve deep into their values, beliefs and the impact of their choices. This immersive experience helps individuals gain and explore new perspectives and meaning in their lives.
EVRT can be particularly beneficial for individuals who are open to technology and enjoy immersive experiences. However, it's important to note that EVRT is still a relatively new approach, and is still being studied. It needs to be practiced by a trained professional, such as myself, who is knowledgeable and experienced in both virtual reality technology and existential therapy.
If you would like to see one of the many VR experiences in motion designed for adults and children, simply click on the clip below.
This shows a child after many combined 'talking' and VR sessions, having the confidence to face her fears of the unknown.
If you would like to know more about the overall history of the VR, click on the short clip below: