1st Edition

Virtual Reality Therapy for Anxiety A Guide for Therapists

By Elizabeth McMahon, Debra Boeldt Copyright 2022
    284 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Practical, down to earth, clearly written, and easy for therapists to understand and apply, Virtual Reality Therapy for Anxiety is a useful guide for any clinician treating anxiety, regardless of setting (in-office or via telehealth), theoretical orientation, or level of training. Written by an experienced psychologist who has used multiple VR systems since 2010, it’s the only up to date, clinically informed, evidence-based training manual available.

    Easy-to-understand concepts and diagrams explain anxiety and its treatment, and the book incorporates research findings and clinical expertise. VRT is described step by step with multiple case examples, and an extended case-vignette chapter presents a session-by-session treatment protocol of a complex case with transcript excerpts. Key findings and quotations from research are also presented.

    After completing the guide, therapists and other mental health professionals will understand the unique clinical benefits of VR, be prepared to use VR in therapy comfortably and effectively either in the office or remotely, and will have expertise in a new, needed, and empirically validated treatment for a common clinical problem.

    1. Introduction Section I: Anxiety Treatment Overview 2. Anxiety Cycle Model 3. Uses of VR in Anxiety Treatment 4. VR Exposure Therapy 5. VR Anxiety Treatment Protocol  Section II: Treating Fears and Phobias 6. Specific Phobias Overview 7. Blood-Injection-Injury Phobia 8. Claustrophobia 9. Driving Phobia 10. Flying Phobia 11. Height Phobia 12. Insect and Animal Phobias Section III: Treating Other Anxiety Disorders 13. Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia 14. Social Anxiety Disorder 15. Stress, Tension, Insomnia 16. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 17. GAD, OCD, and Illness Anxiety Disorder Section IV: Other Issues 18. Virtual Reality and Non-CBT Therapies 19. Frequently Asked Questions 20. Future Directions Epilogue Appendix A: VR Equipment and Content Types  Appendix B: Virtual Reality Therapy Checklist


    Elizabeth McMahon, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in private practice, consultant, author of Overcoming Anxiety and Panic Interactive Guide, and an acknowledged expert in virtual reality therapy for anxiety who has used VR in clinical practice since 2010.

    Debra Boeldt, PhD, is the deputy director of the National Mental Health Innovation Center and senior instructor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

    "Extremely helpful for clinicians who want to implement this cutting-edge approach to delivering evidence-based care."

    Albert "Skip" Rizzo, PhD, director of the Medical Virtual Reality group at the Institute for Creative Technologies and research professor in the Department of Psychiatry and School of Gerontology, University of Southern California

    "This timely, step-by-step guide provides highly practical tools and techniques. Designed for maximum ease of use with case examples, summary tables, clinical questions, and treatment overviews. Highly recommended for clinicians, scholars, and the general reader."

    Giuseppe Riva, PhD, full professor of general psychology and director of the Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, Istituto Auxologico Italiano

    "The most up to date, masterfully written, empirically supported, anxiety VR therapy guide. Concise and engaging. An essential resource for virtual reality enthusiasts, clinicians, academics, and organizations looking to bring VR into their healthcare practices."

    Michael Valdovinos, PsyD, ABPP, VR expert and assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

    "This captivating and informative book could easily be the foundation for a graduate course in virtual reality exposure therapy or a primer for therapists to expand their knowledge of one of the most innovative advances in mental health services."

    Howard Gurr, PhD, BC-TMH, founder,VRTherapistsInternational.com, www.vrtforphobias.com

    "This book is a wonderful guide for both experienced and new therapists and for therapists experienced with VR and those new to it. It covers the A to Z about anxiety disorders, how to treat them, and how to treat them with virtual reality."

    Robin Rosenberg, PhD, ABPP, CEO and founder of Live in Their World

    "A must read for the 21st century of mental health care and beyond, providing case examples, research, and clinical structure for practitioners who are new to or familiar with virtual reality therapy for anxiety disorders."

    Jessica Stone, PhD, RPT-S, clinician in private practice and co-founder of Virtual Sandtray App, LLC

    "This book shows the power of immersive technology to bridge the gap between in-office therapy sessions and real life. Stories of real-world patient outcomes give a clinical understanding of the use of virtual reality within established therapeutic models. Dr. McMahon’s years of using virtual reality with her patients has resulted in a purposeful integration into practice protocols."

    Kristi Hansen Onkka, founder of healthiAR.com

    "Virtual reality is one of the most significant technology advancements in treating anxiety and helping clients to face their fears. If you interested but uncertain about bringing virtual reality into your practice, Virtual Reality Therapy for Anxiety will allay those fears and take you step-by-step through the process."

    Lara Honos-Webb, PhD, author of The Six Super Skills for Executive Functioning