Virtual Reality software for research and treatment of common phobias and anxiety disorders.
Support this project here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/phobos-anxiety-management-vr-platform
Phobos is the ancient Greek God of Fear. In Psychology, the word phobia derives from phobos (fear)
Anxiety is one of the most frequent mental health problems, affecting 18-25% of the population.
Studies have shown that virtual reality therapy can be as effective -or more- as in-vivo exposure (being exposed to real heights, for instance).
Phobos is a 3D platform for Virtual Reality based treatments and research; initially, for conditions such as:
Acrophobia (fear of heights): affects 10% of women/men
Arachnophobia, Ornithophobia and other creature related phobias
Aerophobia (fear of flying)
Agoraphobia and some forms of chronic and acute anxiety symptoms during certain situations: crowded/open spaces, public transportation.
The virtual environments are designed to support standard CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) treatment protocols.
In the future, it is our intention to add environments for fear of speaking in public (glossophobia), fear of driving and, among others, an experimental scenario for multiple applications called “The Sim” which we will tell you more about during the campaign.
Why is VR Relevant for Therapeutic Applications?
Recent research has identified the areas of the brain that regulate our sense of presence. These studies concluded that a Virtual Reality environment activates these brain areas in the same way that they activate in similar real life situations*.
Virtual reality therapy also takes advantage of basic interactions in emotional processing to re-associate the memory of a feared experience with feelings of safety rather than fear.
This is done through a recreation of the memory and the immersion of the patient in an interactive process during which his/her memory of the experience is decoupled from fear and linked with feelings of safety and control.
VRET (Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy) is the perfect complement for traditional exposure therapies and an accessible and engaging entry door to treatment.
Virtual Reality treatments are effective for 4 reasons:
– The person doesn’t have to be exposed to the real stressor (which is usually a barrier to enter treatment)
– Costs are an order of magnitude lower (think in vivo exposure for fear of flying)
– The person doesn’t have to imagine the situation
– The environment and conditions can be structured and tailored to each person
Up to this day, VR Exposure Therapy has been approached by not too many professionals; mainly because of prohibitive costs and because the technology wasn’t ready for prime time.
What’s different now, is that with the Oculus Rift(tm) Virtual Reality Headset and other headsets coming to market, an unprecedented level of immersion can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of previous VR gear.
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