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Virtual Reality Therapy

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm

ANNOUNCER: It may look like science fiction but this equipment is helping people conquer real fears.

ROBERT H. REINER, PHD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BEHAVIORAL ASSOCIATES: Basically, the patients put on glasses and they're in pretty close to a virtual world. In other words, flying, which is the most common. Then you'd believe you're in a plane.

ANNOUNCER: Virtual reality therapy not only controls what patients see, but what they feel and hear, too.

ROBERT H. REINER, PHD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BEHAVIORAL ASSOCIATES: All three are important, because we're measuring all these responses, and we can see how anxious a person is getting. We know exactly what parts of the flight later on for treatment we have to pay the most attention to

ANNOUNCER: And fear of flying is just one of the phobias that can be treated this way

ROBERT H. REINER, PHD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BEHAVIORAL ASSOCIATES: The conditions that are the best treated by VR therapy are any kind of anxiety disorder, from generalized anxiety to specific phobias. Panic disorder, any phobia. But the more specific the phobia, the better off it is. Like if you were flying, public speaking phobia, people that are phobic about driving over bridge and -- bridges, tunnels. Any kind of height phobia. Really, anything involving performance, having to go someplace or do something that makes people anxious.

ANNOUNCER: Dr. Reiner says virtual reality therapy is changing the way people deal with phobias

ROBERT H. REINER, PHD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BEHAVIORAL ASSOCIATES: These people are getting cured, they'll say, "You know something? It's amazing, doctor. I had a phobia, and I don't have a phobia anymore. It's not part of my life anymore."

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily.

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