Do you find yourself running in the opposite direction at the mere sight of a spider? Does the thought of flying make your palms sweat and your heart race? Do you avoid heights like the plague? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you're not alone. Phobias affect millions of people worldwide.
The good news is that with the help of technology, there are more ways than ever to overcome your fears and live the life you want. In this article, we'll introduce you to 10 effective tools that can help you conquer your phobia once and for all.
Built for use with the Meta Quest VR headset, a popular VR platform for gaming, education, training, and education, PsyTech VR includes a long list of virtual experiences to help you overcome various phobias.
For example, the app can help you overcome your fears of public speaking, bacteria and germs, unsanitary conditions, cockroaches and flies, dogs, airports, airplanes and flight, darkness and night, enclosed spaces, heights, spiders, needles, and driving.
Take public speaking, for example. If this is something you've struggled with, the PsyTech app will allow you to rehearse your performance in front of a virtual audience—and the virtual audience will react to you as you speak.
If you get carried away and forget about interacting with the audience, or if you use a monotonous tone and don't make eye contact, then the audience will provide feedback by chatting and ignoring you!
By making the experience as real as possible, but in a zero-consequences environment, PsyTech VR can help you improve your public speaking skills and your confidence overall.
According to the company's website, the app will be growing in 2023 to integrate biofeedback sensors to track your physiological responses, such as heart rate and breathing, and use this information to adjust the level of exposure to their fear in real-time.
From psychosis to depression to addiction, there are many ways VR is being used to improve mental health. Ovrcome is a mobile application that uses exposure therapy and cognitive-behavioral techniques to help you overcome phobias.
Ovrcome offers a range of customizable exercises designed to help you gradually desensitize yourself to your fears. One of the key benefits is that it allows you to access therapy anywhere. All you need is a smartphone and the Ovrcome app, available on both iOS and Android devices.
If you have a fear of spiders, Ovrcome's spider exercise can help you gradually expose yourself to spiders through a series of challenges and activities. For example, the experience will start by exposing you to a simple, cartoon-like spider—and it will gradually build up until you are comfortable being in front of a life-like, hairy-legged, eight-eyed arachnid.
Face Your Fears is a virtual reality app for the Oculus VR headset that will expose you to a variety of terrifying experiences, including being attacked by birds, snakes, spiders, possessed children, and even a robot attack.
For example, in one scenario, you'll experience the fear of being a child in a bed in a room where things are not what they seem. In another, you'll be flying in a plane when the engine suddenly stops.
Face Your Fears is highly immersive and engaging, with high-quality graphics and sound effects that can help you feel as though you are really in the situation but be warned, while this app can help desensitize you to scary situations, it is not built on a foundation of exposure therapy and is designed more for entertainment.
There are other more serious apps you can consider that are dedicated to overcoming your fear of flying if you're looking to genuinely tackle that particular phobia.
One of the key benefits of tech like Fearless is that they allow you to experience your phobias in a highly realistic and immersive way but in a safe and controlled environment.
Fearless is not a game, but it's also not a horror experience like Face Your Fears. Fearless follows well-proven techniques of exposure therapy, which means it starts slow and lets you progress at your own pace.
It's available on the Meta Quest 2 as well as Gear VR and includes opportunities to overcome fears such as spiders, cockroaches, bees, and wasps.
VR Heights Phobia is a super simple VR app that you can download on the Google Play Store and is designed to be used with a Google Cardboard headset to help you overcome your fear of heights—or at least experience what it's like to be walking high above the city.
While much less advanced than other options on this list, the app offers an immersive experience that simulates a range of height-related experiences, including walking narrow wooden platforms at the height of high-rise buildings.
While VR is already being used to treat conditions like PTSD, VirtualSpeech.com is an online platform that offers virtual reality training specifically designed to improve your public speaking skills. This is a great option for anyone looking to strengthen some of the most important skills needed to succeed in business.
The platform offers a variety of virtual scenarios, including presenting at a conference, presenting in a TEDx-style theater, delivering an elevator pitch, giving a presentation in an office boardroom, and even being ambushed by reporters in a hotel lobby!
In addition to its exposure therapy, VirtualSpeech.com also offers tools and resources to help you become a better speaker, such as vocal exercises, testing your speaking pace, and calculating speech length.
Fear No More, Technology is Here
There are various forms of technology that offer unique and specialized approaches to help you overcome your phobias, from the highly immersive experience of PsyTech VR to the speech analysis tools and personalized feedback of VirtualSpeech.com.
So whether you're struggling with social anxiety or a fear of small spaces, you can start your journey toward conquering your fears, and with the help of technology, you can finally begin taking control of your life.