Virtual Reality Treatment for Fears, Phobias, and Anxiety

Female patient undergoes VR therapy at our medical center


For the past 25 years, Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC) has successfully treated patients using Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET).  In most cases, we offer the treatments in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy and biosensors (biofeedback). We specialize in treating phobias, anxiety (including pre-surgical anxiety), stress and pain. Conditions treated include specific phobias such as fear of flyingfear of heightsfear of public speakingclaustrophobiaagoraphobia,  panic disorderfear of driving, fear of needles and posttraumatic stress disorder due to motor vehicle accidents. General stress management and relaxation skills are taught for stress-related disorders.  At VRMC-Coronado, treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder due to military deployment is offered using VR in combination with biofeedback and individual psychotherapy.

VRET places you in a computer-generated world where you “experience” the various stimuli related to your phobia. The VR is experienced via a head-mounted display (HMD) with small TV monitors and stereo earphones to receive both visual and auditory cues.  The VR can also be experienced non-immersively on a computer screen.


Please note: Currently all sessions are completed via telehealth. We are licensed to provide psychological services in the following states: California and Virginia. We are also licensed to provide psychological services in Belgium. Once we determine if you are a candidate for Virtual Reality, we can have a VR Headset shipped to your home. In some cases, you may also be able to purchase an inexpensive VR headset (~$20) and use your smartphone to access the Virtual Reality environments.  You may also wish to purchase a Quest2 or Pico Headset.  We can decide this during the intake session.

If you would like to receive therapy in-person, please let us know. We will be offering in-person therapy again in 2023 at our San Diego facilities. We will continue to offer VR and telehealth services to our patients in California, Virginia and Belgium.


After an intake session, you will be taught skills to help control your automatic responses to anxiety-provoking situations. Then you and your therapist will collaborate to create a hierarchy of anxiety-inducing situations. In careful, controlled stages, you will begin virtual exposure to these situations. Each stage can be repeated until you are more comfortable with the experience and satisfied with your response. At every step, the therapist can see and hear what you are experiencing in the virtual world. If the level of anxiety becomes overwhelming, you can return to a less stressful level of treatment, or simply remove your head-mounted display and exit the virtual world.


San Diego, CA Psychologist winner of the Patients’ Choice Awards.
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Female wearing VR headset