Social Anxiety Disorder is a type of social phobia in which you may have a fear of being negatively judged by others or a fear of public embarrassment due to impulsive actions. This may include feelings such as stage fright, a fear of intimacy or a fear of humiliation. SAD affects 4% of people in the UK and in severe cases, it can cause people to avoid public situations and human contact to the extent that a normal life is rendered impossible.
Conventional psychotherapy usually plays a major role in helping patients overcome their social anxiety disorder including CBT, visualisation and exposure therapy. Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques are often used as part of the treatment as well.
However, this may prove difficult 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 initiated a social anxiety response. With the added 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 social anxiety 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.