Virtual reality (VR) therapy has helped more than 1,000 people overcome their anxiety, according to Ken Graap, CEO and president of Virtually Better, which designs and markets VR programs in Decatur, Ga. “The idea that we want to produce is the feelings and emotions of the fear and have the person deal with it,” says Graap, who emphasizes that VR is only part of a person’s therapy.
Patients typically go through eight sessions; each lasts about 45 minutes and costs $150.
In the initial sessions, patients talk about their feelings and practice relaxation exercises. Later on they undergo “exposure therapy”—a patient with a fear of flying, for example, uses VR to help re-create what it’s like to be on an airplane. Therapy would end with the patient actually getting on a plane.