Virtual Reality Therapy
Bridges is one of very few clinics in London offering exposure therapy through the latest virtual reality technology.
If you are struggling with situations that trigger a disproportionate or irrational fear response or have a diagnosed panic and anxiety disorder or a phobia, we can help you understand the source of your fears, and gradually learn to eradicate or neutralise your reactions.
Through the use of a special headset, virtual reality exposure therapy places you in a computer generated world, where you ‘experience’ the various stimuli related to your phobia.
We will guide you as you move through a realistic three dimensional world, related to your specific fear. Your therapist will be able to gradually adjust the level of exposure, to elicit increasingly higher levels of anxiety and monitor your physical reactions. Through the practice of various cognitive skills and techniques, you will learn to cope better with your fears, in a controlled environment, that is safe and supported.
At every step, the therapist can see and hear what you are experiencing in the virtual world. If the level of anxiety becomes overwhelming, he can adjust the virtual scenario to a less stressful level of treatment, or you could simply remove the head-mounted display and exit the virtual world.
The benefits of virtual reality exposure therapy have been documented in scientific literature for more than 20 years. Combined with cognitive behaviour therapy it enables us to teach you techniques for dealing with triggering situations, and to practice them in the comfort of our Clinique.
Virtual reality exposure therapy lets you navigate within an artificial 3D environment in real time and ‘tricks’ your brain to react as if you are experiencing the situation in real life. Repeated exposure therapy allows you to encode your emotional memory with the understanding that the triggering situation isn’t dangerous and thus control your uncontrolled reaction to it.
Virtual reality is only a tool for psychotherapy and doesn’t take away from the basis of traditional therapy. We use it as a complementary tool to help you build confidence in triggering situations.