Over the last twenty years virtual reality (VR) has been applied to a variety of psychological treatments including fear of heights, flying, driving, public speaking and other issues. As an intervention it has shown promise, particularly with regards to Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT) when applied to systematic desensitisation of the fear response.
VR is defined as a head mounted display (HMD) which displays an image per eye forming a stereo scene. The HMD has motion sensors allowing the user to orient. The effect is a sense of ‘presence’; of being immersed in the virtual world. Wearing the HMD people can face the fears they might avoid in the real world.
Some related papers include:
Anderson, P. L., Price, M., Edwards, S., Obasaju, M., Schmertz, S. k., Zimand, E., & Calamaras, M. R.
Virtual reality exposure therapy for social anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 751-760.
Anderson, P. L., Zimand, E., Hodges, L. F., & Rothbaum, B. O. (2005).
Cognitive behavioral therapy for public‐speaking anxiety using virtual reality for exposure. Depression and Anxiety, 156-158.
Bouchard, S., Dumoulin, S., Robillard, G., Guitard, T., Klinger, E., Forget, H., . . . Roucat, F. (2017).
Virtual reality compared with in vivo exposure in the treatment of social anxiety disorder: a three-arm randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 276-283.
Bouton, M., Woods, A., Moody, E., Sunsay, C., & Guitierrez, G. (2006). Counteracting the conext-dependence of extinction: Relapse and some tests of possible methods of relapse prevention. Fear and Learning: Basic Science to Clincial Application , 175-196.
Craske, M. G., Treanor, M., Conway, C., Zbozinek, T., & Vervliet, B. (2014). Maximizing Exposure Therapy: An inhibitory Learning Approach. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 10-23.
CyberPsychology and Behaviour. Kampmann, I. L., Emmelkamp, P. M., Hartanto, D., Brinkman, W.-P., Zijlstra, B. J., & Morina, N. (2015).
Exposure to virtual social interactions in the treatment of social anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 147-156.
Affective outcomes of virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety and specific phobias: A meta-analysis. Journal of Behaviour Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 250-261.
Rothbaum, B. O., Anderson, P., Zimand, E., Hodges, L., Lang, D., & Wilson, J. (2006).
Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy and Standard (in Vivo) Exposure Therapy in the Treatment of Fear of Flying. Behaviour Therapy, 80-90.