Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) is a technology-based treatment with important implications for the management of phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that are difficult to treat using conventional psychological therapies and medications.
Phobias and PTSD are overcome through the process of experience. A person with either diagnosis has associated a certain object or situation (driving, flying, heights, dogs, public speaking, etc.) with danger. One of the most powerful ways to break this association is through experiential learning, experiencing the situation without the danger. Using VRET, clients are able to confront their fears in the safety of an office with the guidance of an experienced therapist.
Most virtual therapies use contrived, computer-based worlds which can be unrealistic and also limit in immersion. Dr. Alvarado uses state-of-the-art virtual reality cameras to record real-life situations and tailor the treatment to each individual. For example, If a client is fearful of driving over a particular bridge, Dr. Alvarado can send a team to record the experience of driving over this exact bridge. We find this helps best prepare the client when he/she confronts the situation in real life.