We are enthusiastic about the use of technology to strengthen the benefits of psychotherapy, specifically exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves facing one’s fears by gradually confronting objects or situations that cause anxiety. AR differs from virtual reality in that it imposes objects within a client’s actual surroundings and allows viewers to interact directly with the feared stimuli. For example, using AR clients with a spider phobia may view a spider crawling on their hands with the use of wearable holographic technology.
AR addresses many of the limitations of the feasibility and tolerability of exposure therapy. For example, it is often difficult to acquire and maintain feared stimuli (e.g., insects or snakes) and to keep them in appropriate environments). Another benefit of AR is that it may increase clinician’s control of feared stimuli. The idea of facing feared stimuli can be frightening to clients and AR has the potential to increase the tolerability of exposure to anxious clients by allowing them to gradually face such stimuli in a more controlled and less threatening environment.
Resilience Across Borders strives to contribute to this burgeoning field by researching the effectiveness of using AR to enhance exposure therapy for the treatment of anxiety disorders.