Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) is a technology enabled treatment approach using Virtual Reality software programmes. It is a type of treatment that uses realistic fake aversive stimuli to artificially create environments to give the client a simulated experience. This helps to increase stress resilience and control negative symptoms.
Wearing a head mounted display (HMD) with comuter automatic virtual environments (CAVE) the clients are ‘exposed’ to the fearful stimuli / triggering situation, in a way that seems real but isn’t, in the safety of a treatment centre or therapists office. As the client adapts to the stimulus and the fear response the negative reactions decrease.
The client experiences the visual, audio and kinaesthetic which allows them to work through their anxiety and triggers in real time, in a safe environment with an experienced, qualified therapist. They learn new and effective ways of coping and adapting to life without the fear and irrational beliefs they have been living with, which have been negatively impacting their life.
VRET may also be known as virtual reality immersion therapy (VRIT), simulation for therapy (SFT), computerised assisted CBT (CCBT) and Virtual reality therapy (VRT).