EXPOSURE-BASED THERAPY VR
Exposure-based therapy is a process widely used within cognitive behavioral therapy, which consists of modifying the sensitivity to stimuli that produce anguish or fear, through exposure therapy the patient is put in systematic and safe contact with the situation that affects him. generates conflict or with stimuli that trigger anxiety, fear or that produce negative emotions, with which a new learning can be established: extinction, which contributes to weaken previously learned associations, so that the person has more opportunities to elaborate an action above the initially established fear, one of its objectives is desensitization. Generally, exposure is suggested gradually and assessing different variables and personal factors of the patient, rather than a sudden immersion.
As the world continues to develop new technologies, it also improves treatments in the mental health field. In exposure therapy there are several risk factors. For example, when confronting a phobia of arachnids, there is a danger that the animal will attack. In this type of therapy there may be situations that are not under the full control of the researchers or therapists, and there are possibilities of creating unforeseen reaction without any control. It is difficult to predict the behavior of an animal, in the case of dealing with phobias related to animals. For this reason, a new intervention has emerged thanks to the use of new technologies that provide a controlled and safe environment for this type of therapy. Virtual reality technology has become very popular because it offers an infinity of simulations of situations that can help, without any risk, the development of this therapy. “We conclude that VR is a useful tool to improve exposure therapy and it can be a good option to analyze the processes and mechanisms involved in exposure therapy and the ways this strategy can be enhanced.” (Botella et al., 2017).
Botella, C., Fernández-Álvarez, J., Guillén, V. et al. Recent Progress in Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Phobias: A Systematic Review. Curr Psychiatry Rep 19, 42 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-017-0788-4