VR Therapy

VR therapy uses virtual worlds and scenarios as a therapeutic tool. A person may wear a headset or use a device to immerse themselves in the virtual world and interact with it.

It is possible to simulate a wide variety of worlds and scenarios with VR, which makes it useful for constructing situations that are hard to recreate in real life or that could be too scary or risky.

Therapists may use VR to allow clients to practice real-life challenges, revisit a past event, or help a person confront their fears in a controlled environment.

Researchers published the first paper on VR therapy over 25 years ago, but as the technology has improved, interest in this therapeutic tool has increased.

How does VR therapy work?

VR therapy works by allowing people to act out, practice, or revisit situations in a safe environment. This may:

  • Teach skills
  • Reduce fears
  • Improve confidence
  • Help process something that happened in the past
  • By removing real-world risks, VR can also make something frightening feel more manageable. 

For example, a person with a phobia may not be ready to confront it in reality. Interacting with a simulation in VR may help them gradually become accustomed to the object of their fear and learn it is not a threat.

In this way, VR may help bridge the gap between therapy and the real world.