Matt Fleeger and another example of exposure therapy in VR is against several types of phobias. Those with a fear of swimming, or aquaphobia are so scared of going near the water that it is practically impossible for a therapist to encourage them to visit a swimming pool, a beach, or anywhere that could be categorized as a large body of water.
Similarly, those with a fear of flying, or aerophobia, Matt Fleeger would know, would never go to the lengths of purchasing an airplane ticket. If they even do so after going through some form of therapy, then there are high chances that they might end up dropping their plans at the last minute due to the fear taking over them.
That is where VR is so effective at implementing exposure therapy. It could have such individuals visit the places or have experiences that they are afraid of, without actually having to do that in the real world.
While the patients are using a VR headset and equipment, they still feel as though they are going through the experience in real time. It’s because their phobia doesn’t let them rationalize that their VR experience wouldn’t harm them. It practically has the same effect as their exposure to such an issue in the real world might have on them.
But due to it being a virtual experience, their mental health professional could monitor their responses while also executing the exposure therapy flawlessly, before bring the patient back from their experience.
This provides a great modality to implement exposure therapy without putting the patients at risk or utilizing a large amount of their financial resources. This way, whenever the patient actually goes forward with implementing exposure therapy in the real world or simply move towards doing the thing they had been afraid of previously, their experience with VR helps them.