Case study – How Naomi got over her fear of heights
Naomi has had a fear of heights for a long time, she tried to avoid certain situations and just thought it would go away, she even went sky diving! Often a sense of panic would overwhelm her leaving her feeling quite terrified, whether it was being on a bridge or a high level in a hotel or even the London Eye. Naomi would become shaky and find herself unable to speak. She thought there was nothing she could do about it but having seen a leaflet about our virtual reality therapy, Naomi got in touch to see if this would help her.
During her sessions the counsellor explained the VR process and took Naomi through some different scenarios.
Naomi says: “With the headset on, the counsellor reassures you, it was slightly odd at first because although I knew I was definitely safe, what I saw and felt was very real situations, like being in a shopping mall or in a lift. It is all in 3D and very real indeed.”
Naomi had control of the scenarios and was able to let herself move to different levels at her own pace. In one of the scenes she was at the edge of a glass balustrade looking down, this forced Naomi to calm herself and breathe to avoid any panic setting in, the counsellor was also able to reassure Naomi at all times. The scenarios were designed to gradually encourage Naomi to face her fears. “In one situation I was quite high and it was very difficult but just to one side of my vision I could see some people doing Tai Chi, this was a great distraction and very reassuring so I sort of imitated them, breathing and relaxing to work my way through the situation. There were lots of thoughtful touches like that throughout the series. By the time I reached the top floor I felt on top of the world!”
Naomi had 6 x 1 hour sessions over 6 weeks. After each session Naomi took a week to digest each experience, she also set herself personal targets such as walking along the viewing walkway at a nearby arboretum. On one occasion Naomi was staying at a hotel in London which had a floor to ceiling window, previously this would have been very upsetting but now Naomi found that she was fine and she felt the change was really noticeable and quite remarkable.
Naomi would definitely encourage others to take part in virtual reality therapy for fear of heights. “It has been really beneficial, I genuinely don’t have to worry about heights now and my confidence has significantly improved.”
For more information please contact Oasis Talk on 0117 970 9423.