How Application and VR Therapy can help OCD patients


With OCD, as with phobias, there is often a ritual or safety behavior involved that the patient thinks will help them cope with their fear and make them feel more secure, but the rituals actually reinforce the fear. Michael Ambrose, licensed clinical psychologist in My OCD Cure, says, “We’re not trying to get used to fear, but instead we’re trying to build a second way of learning. It’s important to interact with things that can disprove your fear.”

Excessive prediction of negative outcomes is a hallmark of OCD, and avoidant behavior reinforces fear. When people with OCD address their fears with exposure therapy they learn that they have overestimated their thinking. As they progress through increasingly challenging exposures, they become more functional and their lives open up.

Ambrose emphasized how important it is for people with OCD find a specialist. “There are a lot of conditions in the DSM-V (u Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition) which may be treated by a generalist, but OCD is not part of it. Spending too much time talking about obsession and trying to get to the root of it is not helpful for someone with OCD. They need exposure to help them cope with the uncertainty. ”

Where can people find help?

The OCD International Foundation provides an extensive list of resources, but this does not mean that securing treatment for OCD is easy. Many therapists trained in ERP have waiting lists, and some do not take out insurance. ERP sessions can cost $ 300 an hour or more, depending on the location. After the first two barriers of time and money, one of the biggest obstacles to struggling with OCD is learning to manage between therapy appointments.

Smith saw how technology could bridge the gap between appointments and made it his mission to create an OCD treatment platform that will allow anyone, anywhere, to access support regardless of where they live or how much money they have. NOCD accepts many insurance plans and has cash payment options for uninsured members. The NOCD app is free and available to everyone. It offers access to community support groups as well as self-help tools.


Another convenient and affordable OCD treatment option is TalkSpace, where a patient can choose to meet a therapist on live video, via text, or via video or audio messaging, and pay for it. services they want. Rachel O’Neill, a licensed professional clinical advisor at TalkSpace, said: “I’ve had moments with my clients where I can be a part of their home or office environment through a live video session or a video message, in a way that is much more connected than I could be in a traditional office location. ”

Seeing a patient in and soi space is useful, especially if fear exists in that space, but what about when fear is associated with something that a person is unlikely to encounter? Many obsessive, intrusive thoughts are also taboo, immoral or illegal, so they can be challenging or impossible to simulate. If the point of treatment is exposure, how is it obtained?

Virtual reality can help people with OCD

“The in vivo approach can also be sometimes prohibitively expensive, as in flight therapy for a flying phobia,” Nadkarni said, “And some patients may even be more willing to try virtual reality therapy, since which might be perceived as safer because the patient knows it can be turned off. ”

Mariaskin gets creative with real-life exposure for his clients, but he also uses the The eye VR headsets for some OCD subgroups, such as claustrophobia. Clients wear an Oculus Go, and the therapist indicates a specific virtual environment where the walls are progressively approached. “We control the point where the walls stop,” he said, “and we can be very fine in creating exposures that meet patients where they are.”

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