Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in Virtual Reality
The aim of this project is to develop a virtual reality based cognitive behavioral therapy tool where users can test the skills they have learnt in CBT for disorders such as social anxiety, phobia treatment and PTSD. Alongside the VR experience will be an app which the user can then track their progress levels and log their thoughts and feelings alongside the VR.
A technique primarily used in CBT is called ‘in-vivo exposure’. In-Vivo Exposure is where patients face their fears directly in real-life settings (Cuccurullo & Joyce, 2020). However, in some cases exposure levels can be too high for patients to test in the real world (Geraets et al., 2019), therefore by providing a VR experience the exposure levels can be tailored accordingly to the user. CBT is also a viable option because it can be self-directed (Ho et al., 2015), therefore it has the potential to manage earlier symptoms of disorders such as social anxiety and provide direct, instant access.
Design - Sophie Hague
The virtual reality CBT scene will be created from a mixture of literature reviews from previous articles and also primary data collected at the beginning of the portfolio. The general idea is to create a scenario where users with social anxiety can build confidence in everyday scenarios,
Ability to repeat scenes
Ability to control the parameters of the exposure
Option to use the VR scenes at any time
The app is secondary to the VR experience where the use will log their thoughts, feelings and emotions throughout the VR scenes. This is used for self-assessment.
1. User puts on Head Mounted Display
This is where the user will start their CBT
2. The correct scenario is uploaded
Dependent on their responses in the app the scene will be chosen. For this purpose it is a cafe.
3. The user then sets level of exposure
The exposure level is decided on the level of social anxiety the user experiences.
4. The user reads the welcome introduction
At the beginning of the VR experience an introduction will appear showing the user what to expect and any specific instructions
5. The user starts the CBT Scene
The user will follow the prompts given in the experience
6. User enters the Cafe
The cafe is the sample experience for the user to understand how CBT works
7. User Talks to the Barista
By talking to the barista the user can practise small social skills such as ordering a drink
8. The user then attempts to hold a conversation with a friend they're meeting in the cafe
The user will then practise small talk with the bot to become comfortable in holding a conversation
The first task was creating the cafe components. To create the models I used Maya which would help make the 3d objects and understand the layout of the room.
The app will allow users to log their thoughts, feelings and emotions to track their progress on CBT VR. It will also allow them to select different programmes for their VR experience.