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The Use of Virtual Reality in Therapy Leads to Less Patient Drop-out Rates

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Are you afraid of losing patients? Do you want to increase your treatment adherence and motivation?

Virtual Reality (VR) is a tool that has improved a tremendous amount in the past years. It´s uses are vast and the possibilities to use it in Mental Health are endless. With Virtual Reality we can treat several types of mental health issues in a simple, immersive, economic and especially effective way.

Phobias (fear of animals, heights, flying, darkness) and social situations (public speaking, social anxiety, interviews) are typically treated with Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). The problem with CBT is that patients are exposed to confront that generates their phobia or anxiety, while preventing the use of defence or safety mechanisms. Therefore, the creation of real environments for exposure therapy can be inefficient and impractical.

The solution is Virtual Reality, a technology that overcomes the CBT drawbacks while using an immersive, safe and controlled environment.


Virtual Reality: Same efficacy of treatment with fewer dropouts
vr cbt infografia english

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Source: WayAhead

According to the study carried out by Penate-Castro et al. (2014) the efficacy of CBT with VR exposure is similar to the one with CBT alone. The study, performed in patients with agoraphobia, showed that all therapies were statistically effective both at post-treatment and six-month follow-up.

And the most interesting part of all is that the results showed that the CBT group had the highest dropout rates. Specifically, sixteen out of thirty patients dropped out (53,33%) in the CBT treatment while only seven of thirty patients (23,33%) dropped out the CBT with VR exposure treatment.

Therefore, Virtual Reality treatments show better adherence rates. As pointed by Penate-Castro et al. (2014), the innovation and safety of the VR might be the key factors of success. This study is consistent with those of Botella et al. (2007), Gonzalez-Lorenzo et al. (2011), and Pitti et al. (2008), who obtained better results in the combination therapy group when VR techniques were used.

The effectiveness, practicality, adherence, motivation and cost of Virtual Reality makes this mental health treatment the most promising and interesting.

More info about Psious VR Therapy


Peñate Castro W., Roca Sánchez M.J., Pitti González C.T., Bethencourta J.M., De la Fuente Portero J.A., Gracia Marco R. (2014). Cognitive-behavioral treatment and antidepressants combined with virtual reality exposure for patients with chronic agoraphobia

Botella, C., García-Palacios, A., Villa, H., Baños, R. M., Quero, S., Alcañiz, M., & Riva, G. (2007). Virtual reality exposure in the treatment of panic disorder and agoraphobia: A controlled study. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 14, 164-175

Gonzalez-Lorenzo, M., Peñate, W., Pitti, C. T., Bethencourt, J., de la Fuente, J., & Gracia, R. (2011). Efficacy of virtual reality exposure therapy combined with two pharmacotherapies in the treatment of agoraphobia. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 11, 189-203.

Pitti, C. T., Peñate, W., de la Fuente, J., Bethencourt, J., Acosta, L., Villaverde, M., & Gracia, R. (2008). Agoraphobia: Combined treatment and virtual reality. Preliminary results. Actas Españolas de Psiquiatría, 36, 94-101.