Date of Award
Dr. Paul Frewen
Dr. Paul Tremblay
Literature supports the efficacy and acceptability of VR exposure therapy (VRET) for the treatment of phobia and trauma-related disorders, although not all trauma-related mental health problems are of a phobic or avoidant nature, therefore may not be amenable to VRET. The current study intends to transition past the scope of VRET to expand the application of commercially available VR to areas of psychotherapy that are instead associated with increasing positive emotions and wellbeing to target mental illness such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
Specifically, the current study compared participant (n=80) affective, satisfaction, and meditative responses to VR guided meditation (VRGM) to their responses to non-VR guided meditation (non-VRGM). Participants reported greater positive affect, satisfaction, and desirable meditative experiences following the VRGM compared to non-VRGM. A positive correlation between pre-meditation symptoms of PTSD and depression and distress experienced during the guided meditations was also reflected, however the correlation was reduced in size during the VR vs. the non-VRGM. We conclude that psychotherapeutic applications of VR outside the scope of VRET is warranted. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
Mistry, Divya, "Meditating in Virtual Reality: Psychotherapeutic Applications of VR Beyond Exposure Therapy" (2019). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 53.