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By Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA and Mark D. Wiederhold, MD, PhD

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder diagnosed by primary care physicians, but they are particularly challenging to treat, often requiring long-term therapy. In vivo exposure and de-sensitization to the anxiety-provoking scenario are usually effective treatments, but they present a number of practical difficulties for both therapist and patient.

Virtual Reality Therapy for Anxiety Disorders explores how the latest virtual reality interventions can be used to treat patients with anxiety disorders. Virtual reality therapy enables the patient to experience a realistic, yet carefully controlled exposure to an anxiety-provoking scenario, in the therapist’s own office. While virtual reality environments were initially quite costly and demanded powerful computers, their price has decreased of late, making this form of treatment an intriguing option for therapists.

The authors, who are themselves experienced VR therapists, provide detailed guidelines on how to conduct VR treatment with patients suffering from various anxiety disorders. They provide not only an overview of the equipment used and the basic principles of treatment, but also discussion of virtual reality therapy for specific disorders including panic disorder and agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fear of flying or driving, claustrophobia, arachnophobia, and fear of medical procedures.

 

Tips and caveats are provided, making this book important reading for therapists interested in exploring an exciting new therapy modality.