The exposure element within CBT works, but it’s not without its drawbacks. It’s suspected, for example, that some people are so reluctant to experience the situation they fear that they don’t seek treatment. And how does one easily create exposure situations for someone who is afraid of flying?
One solution is virtual-reality (VR) CBT. This involves the individual wearing a specially designed headset that immerses them in a computer-generated representation of whatever it is they fear, complete with sounds, and sometimes even smells. VR has been used to treat panic disorder, social phobia, and fears of flying, spiders, and heights with similar success to normal ’in vivo’ exposure therapy. VR CBT is now being tested as a possible therapy for US veterans suffering from PTSD following service in Iraq and Afghanistan.