4 MIN READ | Psychotherapy

Celia Rodríguez & Maggie Rojano

Why Use Virtual Reality in Your Practice?

Cite This
Celia Rodríguez & Maggie Rojano, (2022, November 11). Why Use Virtual Reality in Your Practice?. Psychreg on Psychotherapy. https://www.psychreg.org/why-use-virtual-reality-your-practice/
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Imagine what day-to-day life would be like in your clinic if you could optimise processes to the maximum with the most advanced technology. The advantages of using this technology in the clinical setting are numerous. Here is why you should use virtual reality in your practice.

  • Save time
  • Assess more accurately
  • Objectively measure and monitor the effectiveness of your treatments
  • Increase the visibility of your clinic
  • Attract more patients

Virtual reality is a very present ‘future’

If you haven’t experienced it yet, you’ve surely heard of its use in engineering, design, business, art or entertainment, but do you know how it can benefit you in your work as a health professional?

Virtual reality in medicine generates data that allows the development of new models, training, information and interactions. The possibilities it offers are endless, let’s see how you can take advantage of them both in training and in assessment and treatment.

Training of professionals at the forefront of technology

The global pandemic has boosted the use of ICTs in the classroom, including, of course, virtual reality.

In a previous article on memory and virtual reality, we already talked about its use in education and how this Florida school is developing a virtual campus in which teachers and students interact in a “metaverse” through their avatars.

More and more training in medicine and surgery is turning to virtual reality as it allows the anatomy of patients to be replicated to operate virtually on personified avatars, as a test, before doing so on real patients.

Virtual reality is present in the academic field as part of the training curriculum in psychology and neuroscience and even as an active learning experience. Psychology students at this University in the Dominican Republic, for example, not only learned about the theoretical concepts of panic disorder but were also able to experience it “in their own skin”.

Assessment through virtual reality

As knowledge about brain anatomy and precision in measurement instruments advances, we are able to more effectively relate the results to the problems treated in consultation.

A precise and objective evaluation of the variables involved in psychological and neurological problems is key to a correct diagnosis, as well as to follow-up treatment.

The introduction of virtual reality helps to achieve this precision and objectivity when evaluating attention, memory or cognitive processes. Unlike classic tests, virtual reality reproduces three-dimensional environments with which the patient interacts dynamically, with a feeling of immersion similar to that of a real environment.

Virtual reality makes it possible to systematically control the presentation of different variables, stimuli and distractors. The answers are monitored and thanks to the ecological validity, they are more consistent compared to the results obtained through traditional tests.

At Nesplora, we take advantage of the virtues offered by this technology to create neuropsychological assessment tools. Our products, unlike traditional tests and others also use virtual reality.

  • Have enough evidence: + 600 scientific publications
  • Offer the most complete reports, with graphs, tables and interpretation of results
  • Collect and monitor more data and more accurately
  • Eliminate correction biases thanks to their automatic reports
  • Are also free from evaluator bias and cultural bias.
  • Have CE marking,  Medical device certificate and the EU Seal of Excellence

All professionals in over more than 30 countries who already use Nesplora have increased quality while reducing cost and time in their evaluations thanks to virtual reality.

Do you want to know the 11 reasons why virtual reality improves the profitability of your practice? Download this guide where we explain them in detail.

Virtual reality treatment

In addition to assessment, having virtual reality in your clinic will help you treat numerous pathologies:

Anxiety disorders

  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Specific Phobias
  • Social phobia
  • Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia
  • Generalised anxiety

Addictions

Eating disorders

Schizophrenia

Cognitive rehabilitation

Relaxation techniques and pain distraction

Exposure therapy

Virtual reality therapy allows individualised, gradual, controlled and immersive exposure. For professionals, it is very easy to implement and for patients, it is often more desirable and attractive than in vivo or imaginal exposure.

Its efficacy has been shown to be slightly superior to classical exposure and its improvements more durable in long-term monitoring. It also reduces the dropout rate and the cost of therapy.

Rehabilitation

Virtual reality rehabilitation is carried out through training with exercises in virtual environments that can be designed and modified by the professional according to the needs and progress of the patient.

Pain distraction

Virtual reality has been shown to help significantly reduce pain, anxiety, and discomfort for patients with various conditions.

Thanks to the virtual reality equipment, the patients redirect their attention from a real situation, the source of discomfort, towards a perceptually pleasant alternative world full of characters, landscapes and activities with which they can interact.

At Nesplora we developed Isla Calma, a relaxing and pleasant environment where the patient moves through special places designed and inspired, among others, by Jakobson, Schultz or Mindfulness relaxation techniques, following the cognitive-behavioural indications on the treatment of anxiety, its origin and management.

5 Tools for virtual reality treatment in your practice

  1. Amelia Virtual Care, from Psious. A virtual reality platform for mental health professionals. Since 2014 they have been developing hardware, software and specialised training for the virtual reality treatment of specific phobias (aerophobia, acrophobia, agoraphobia), anxiety, etc.
  2. Avatar therapy. A programme designed for the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, particularly auditory hallucinations. It allows patients to “put a face to their voices” in order to interact with and challenge them, gradually, under the direction of the therapist.
  3. NEUROVR 2.0. A free virtual reality platform that has 25 pre-designed scenarios where you can adapt the content to the clinical purpose you are treating (phobias, eating disorders, etc.)
  4. V Store. A neuropsychological rehabilitation cognitive training of executive functions. A supermarket is recreated in virtual reality where the patient has to solve a series of tasks designed to stimulate the damaged functions in a programmed and personalised way.
  5. Snow World. This virtual reality video game was designed by researchers at the University of Texas to relieve the pain caused by burns. SnowWorld is an ice environment where the patient must throw snowballs at penguins that appear non-stop. As simple as it sounds, the results indicate that it reduces pain similar to a moderate dose of pain medication.

Final thoughts

Do you find them interesting? These and many other tools are possible thanks to the work of professionals, such as the Nesplora team, who work with emerging technologies to optimise the processes in your clinic.

If this article has motivated you to take advantage of virtual reality, start by optimising your assessments and join the professionals who are at the forefront of Neuroscience. 

Download this free ebook.


Celia Rodríguez works as a farmer in Malta. She likes to cook rabbits.

Maggie Rojano lives in Vietnam. She doesn’t like chicken curry.


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