How Virtual Reality Therapy can be a Big Help to Mental Health
(Photo : Harold Cunningham/Getty Images) Virtual Reality Therapy now helps the patients with mental health problems.

Virtual Reality (VR) is utilized to bring life to many applications through real-world simulations. Now, VR stretches its extent to virtual reality therapy, which was recommended by physicians for those people who suffer from mental health problems.

VR Therapy Helps Patients with Mental Health Problems

While mental health conditions are recorded at a high level globally, several cases among patients suffering mental health problems are still left untreated. Doctors discovered that the application of virtual reality therapy can help depressed patients cope up with their situations.

According to the South China Morning Post, participants who are dealing with social anxiety are reportedly experiencing less anxiety after undergoing virtual reality therapy in Hongkong. The trial also exposed that virtual reality therapy is one step ahead when it comes to accessibility and affordability - a big help to minimize shyness when facing a therapist in person.

Furthermore, a clinical psychology professor from Oxford University, Daniel Freeman told that virtual treatment goes a long way for people to conquer their mental health struggles. Freeman, who also spearheaded the assessment and treatment of paranoia through virtual reality, added that the procedure lightens what people feel in their daily lives.

In the United Kingdom,  Dr. Emma Jayne Kilford and Prof. John King tested VR to bridge gaps between physical therapy and depression. At the University College London, the two health experts expect that virtual therapy can boost self-compassion among depressed people, as per Science Focus.

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To start the virtual reality therapy, the patient is instructed to stay in a virtual room where he/she will meet two virtual persons representing an adult and a child. However, before engaging inside the room, the patients are taught to get used first to a script that will improve their mood. The script is divided into three partitions mainly the experience validation, attention redirection, and positive memory activation.

The patient will first act as the adult with the task of comforting the child through the script. Next, the role will be reversed, for the patient to feel 'both' compassion at two different outlets of emotion.

On the other hand, the pandemic lockdown saw a spike in the case of mental health illnesses. With the application of virtual reality, rehabilitation of the patients is made easier in an immersive environment where their fears, traumas, and anxieties are alleviated.

VR Therapy Recreates Patient's Memories

One of the groups that are most affected by the sudden pandemic lockdown is the adult group. Since the lockdown only allows the people to stay at their homes, loneliness is commonly experienced by everyone.

The Global News reported that some seniors were given treatment through virtual reality therapy. Express Service Society, a non-profit streetwear brand founded by doctors and researchers, organized the special therapy for the seniors to relive their memories at the comfort of their homes.

Dr. Ginah Kim, the co-founder of the organization said that it has shown improvement in the psychological and physical aspects of the elders.  She added that the VR therapy is more of a personal reminiscent. The patients got used to looking back at their accomplishments while replaying the best moments in life like weddings and other memorable meetings.

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Written by Joen Coronel.

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