Most people experience a natural degree of fear when exposed to heights, as they have a fear of falling. On the other hand, people who have little fear of such exposure are said to have a head for heights, such as hikers, climbers or mountaineers. Some jobs also require a head for heights such as steeplejacks, window cleaners, wind turbine mechanics or crane operators.
If you suffer from a fear of heights, you can experience a panic attack in high places and become too agitated to get yourself down safely. Statistics show that more than 50% of people suffer from such a fear of heights. In the past, traditional treatment has relied on medication including anti-anxiety drugs, even anti-depressants and beta blockers.
Conventional psychotherapy has had a leading role in helping overcome fear of heights, specifically using CBT and exposure therapy. However, this has proven difficult in the past as many people are reluctant to address their fears in the real world and will take possible every step to avoid confrontation with any anxiety-inducing triggers.
At the VRIT clinic, we use virtual reality immersive therapy to build a safe and measured environment to gradually expose you to situations that would normally have triggered this fear. But under the guidance of our trained therapists, you will learn how to understand and readjust your response over time to ultimately improve your quality of life and achieve your goals.
Evidence is growing to support that VRIT is particularly well-suited for treating fear of heights quickly and effectively. Real-time exposure is complex and expensive, and the process can rarely be repeated consistently. That is why until now psychotherapists have relied on imagination exposure, although it is also ineffective as it depends on each person’s ability to imagine the relevant situation.
Virtual reality enables the psychotherapist to offer a safe environment while providing a realistic and accessible experience within the treatment room. At the VRIT clinic, our therapists combine VR with other innovations, such as bio-feedback, to design the most effective treatment programme for you.