How It Works
Stress is the reaction of your mind and body to difficult or threatening situations. Mindfulness is a proven solution for stress management. We guide you through mindfulness meditations in beautiful, immersive settings, to help you manage stress and feel calm by becoming present, slowing your breathing, and activating your parasympathetic nervous system.
Anxiety is how we feel when we think that something threatening or dangerous is likely to happen soon. Managing anxiety can come from forming new, more flexible relationships with our anxious thoughts, such as recognizing that not everything we tell ourselves is true, or useful, or needs to define us and how we live. We teach you these skills, based on effective cognitive-behavioral and acceptance-based therapies, but in a highly interactive manner that lets you engage with your thoughts using more of your senses.
Fear is the reaction of our minds and bodies to immediate danger. It is the acute activation of our internal alarm system; the fight-or-flight response. But this response can be triggered when no actual danger is present. We help you learn to recognize the difference between true and false alarms and to build skills to break the automatic connections between your fearful thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Exposure to feared and avoided situations is a cornerstone of effective treatments for anxiety. VR is a proven medium for exposure therapy, providing the ability to place you gradually and safely in situations where you can learn that your worst fears do not come to pass.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality is a computer-generated multi-sensory simulation that allows people to interact and be transported to new places within a three-dimensional environment. While VR is now accelerating into public consciousness, the technology can actually be dated back to 1957 when a man named Morton Heilig invented a multimedia device called the Sensorama. Since then, neuroscientists have taken a tremendous interest in exploring the medium’s utility for treating mental health challenges, because of how the immersive technology acts on the brain while it creating a safe space.
Who can benefit from mental health care in VR?
Everyone can benefit, as the medium is incredibly accessible. While VR experiences can be expensive to develop, they are very cost-effective to distribute. We often ask ourselves: “What good is innovation in healthcare if most people can’t access it?” Our mission is to reimagine how people access and experience care by leveraging the unique neurological powers of VR and distributing it in engaging ways — until as many people as possible have an easy, engaging, and effective way into better mental health.
Why use VR to tackle stress and anxiety?
Virtual reality creates a multi-sensory simulation that our brain experiences as “real. The “bottom-up” neural pathways it activates create experiences (versus “top-down” thought processes, which are how the pre-frontal cortex responds) that can powerfully affect the brain’s threat processing centers, to either calm or arouse emotional and physiological responses, depending on the objective. Intentionally activating our brain’s threat centers by experiencing stressful or challenging stimuli is a mechanism of action involved in exposure therapy. The objective is to work through those threats and build resilience by reducing the emotional salience and intensity of the threat, then gain control over it as the brain rewires itself through neuroplasticity. The multi-sensory simulation of reality that VR can create is a powerful, scalable, and infinitely flexible way to scale exposure and extinction therapy to address a range of anxiety-related disorders.
Can VR be a replacement for other therapies or treatments?
Virtual therapeutics and wellness programs can be extremely effective in helping extinguish stress, anxiety, and fear. This is why we have built all our programs on the SAFE protocol. Wherever you are in your journey, there is a growing body of evidence to support the idea that Virtual Reality is the most effective and transformative therapeutic medium for mental health — from its ability to strengthen brainwaves to its potential for healing trauma and opioid addiction.
Let’s Start a Conversation.
At the cutting edge of a new type of mental health journey, there are always many questions. We’re here to help you find the answers.