Virtual reality– So what role can a technology like Virtual Reality play in phobia treatment? The answer is fairly straightforward. Even if psychiatrists do not have access to a handy shape-shifting monster, they do have access to a technology that allows the patient to immerse herself in a virtual environment. And the psychiatrist can enter this virtual environment along with the patient.
In this environment, prolonged exposure, desensitization, and progressive relaxation while encountering the phobia can be practiced easily. Strictly speaking, this is how phobia treatment has been done so far anyway, but where psychiatrists relied on pictures and videos of spiders or airplanes earlier, now they can use a far more effective technique of actually immersing their patients in a virtual environment, and bringing them face to face with their fears in a controlled manner. This means that phobias that were a lot harder to treat earlier— Aerophobia, or the fear of flying, for example—can now be treated far more easily, since Virtual Reality can convincingly simulate the experience of flying, of great heights, or of wide open spaces.
And since these virtual environments are interactive and changeable, patients can also use humor effectively. Sitting in a virtual airplane, terrified of flying? Change the music in your airplane to something relaxing, or have soap bubbles fly out of the mounts of your (virtual) fellow passengers when they speak to add some humor to the situation.
Counseling– Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is the main treatment of choice for specific phobias. Behavioral techniques that expose you to the feared situation either gradually (systematic desensitization) or rapidly (flooding) are frequently used.
In addition, you’re taught ways of stopping the panic reaction and regaining emotional control.
Psychiatry– Provides psychotherapy and medicines.