UofL Physicians only practice in region to offer virtual reality therapy for anxiety disorders

Published on July 22, 2013

Virtual reality therapy is a new and highly effective method for treating anxiety disorders and related problems. University of Louisville Physicians – Psychiatry is the only practice in the region where patients can receive this type of therapy, which extensive research has shown is useful for overcoming issues such as fear of flying, fear of heights, public speaking anxiety, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other common sources of anxiety. It also is being used to help battle addictions.

The only way to overcome a fear is to confront it, and through computerized virtual reality environments, our experts in cognitive behavior therapy create highly realistic simulations to safely and gradually expose patients to fear-inducing situations.  During the sessions, patients are coached on overcoming their fears, breaking patterns of avoidance and building effective coping skills.

Fear of flying is a common problem treated with virtual reality therapy, as it is one many people, such as business travelers, can’t avoid. Some people might avoid flying completely, or do it with great distress. Avoiding a fearful situation like flying prompts more fear, until a work trip, wedding or vacation might force someone to address their fear.

By going on virtual “flights,” patients can be exposed to triggers such as the sound of the plane’s engines, take off and turbulence. The goal is not only to allow patients to fly, but to continue to fly.

We use computer hardware and software developed by Virtually Better of Decatur, Ga.

To refer a patient

To refer a patient, call 502-813-6600.

About UofL Physicians – Psychiatry

UofL Physicians – Psychiatry, formerly known as the University Psychiatric Foundation, evaluates, diagnoses and treats patients facing mental health issues of all types and levels of severity with the utmost skill and compassion. Our psychiatrists are regionally and national known in their fields, and we are leaders in research. 

In addition to anxiety therapy, UofL Physicians – Psychiatry treats a broad array of mental health disorders in areas such as general psychiatry (psychotherapy, medication therapy and cognitive behavior therapy), memory disorders (such as Alzheimer’s or dementia), addiction therapy (such as alcohol, drugs, sexual or food), women’s mental health (related to pregnancy and menopause), depression and bipolar disorders.

With psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers and addiction counselors, we are a full-service mental health practice treating patients of all ages, from children to those over the age of 65. We serve thousands of patients every year all over the region.  We offer also inpatient, outpatient and consultation services at local hospitals.

We offer several innovative treatments, including virtual reality therapy and somatic therapies such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is the newest somatic treatment for depression for those patients who do not respond to traditional methods, and UofL Physicians is the first practice in Kentucky to offer this treatment.

For more about our services, treatments and doctors, visit www.UofLphysicians.com/psychiatry.