It is also the first psychological disorder that was tackled with VR as an aid during therapy. Now, a new study demonstrates that VR could be an effective alternative to traditional CBT.
49 adults with phobia of heights underwent VR sessions (twice a week for 2 weeks) during which a virtual therapist asked them to explore the thoughts behind their fear as they performed activities related to height (such as rescuing a cat from a branch) from a high floor in a virtual building.
Pre- and post-therapy assessment revealed that all participants showed significant improvement, with an average decrease of 68% of their Heights Interpretation Questionnaire score. The benefit was found to last during a 2-wee follow-up.
As the main researcher noted, these are better results than those expected from a traditional therapy, all while being more adaptable and much less expensive. VR therapy also comes without side effects.
Source: Freeman (2018)