Virtual reality helps to defeat fear of heights

<pre>Virtual reality helps to defeat fear of heights

The problem of treating serious, deeply rooted phobias is that it requires the help of an experienced specialist, time and money, and most ordinary people constantly lack at least one or all of them at once. “Is it possible to replace real therapy with its virtual counterpart?” Asked European doctors. And they set up an experiment.

100 people attended it with a confirmed clinical form of acrophobia – fear of heights. Of these, 51 made up a control group and received no treatment, 49 were invited to participate in the training program, 47 agreed, and 44 people reached the final. The method of healing from acrophobia was completely copied from real instructions, with the difference that the team was not given by a person, but by a program, plus everything happened in virtual reality.

First, the participants through the facts and examples explained the nature of their fear, then offered to perform simple tasks – to ride on an open lift, remove the kitten from the tree, throw the ball between skyscrapers, etc. The program did not take into account individual characteristics of the patient, did not seek a personal approach to it – re-education was the same for all.

Based on the results of the experiment, participants again assessed their level of acrophobia and in 34 of the trainees it was significantly lower than in the control group. This is not a failure or a success, but rather a demonstration of the possibilities of the methodology itself. Not every person will voluntarily go to a therapist with his problem, but many people will agree to wear a BP helmet and “play”, which can be used to prevent phobias.

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