Virtual Reality Therapy

Virtual Reality (VR) is used as an Immersion Therapy (for relaxation and treatment of trauma) and as an Exposure Therapy (for treatment of phobias and fears). It is an evidence-based treatment that can be used as an adjunct to other approaches, and is validated by over 20 years of psychological research. 

Although Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT) has a very well documented evidence base as a treatment approach, it has been only recently that the technology has become more widely affordable.  For this reason, there are very few clinics offering VRT, and Ripple Psychology began offering this service in August 2023.  VRT can be used for children, adolescents and adults experiencing a range of conditions, including:

VR sessions often take place withing the standard consult hour, and can vary from five or ten minutes (for a brief immersive meditation) to a half hour VR session paired with traditional CBT or talk therapy, to a full fifty minute immersive VR session.  Longer sessions are sometimes available, in consultation with your psychologist.

The VRT sessions take place in one of our three consult rooms, usually with your psychologist present, and use the Oculus Quest 2 headset.  

VRT sessions are legitimate and evidence-based therapies that are covered by Medicare or private health fund rebates.  The Medicare rebate for a one-hour session is currently $92.90.  Check with your private health fund for the rebate applicable for your level of cover. 

Of course, as well as VRT, our standard approaches at Ripple Psychology remain available, including the talk therapies such as CBT, and trauma therapies such as EMDR.  We are taking new clients now, so request an intake form on the website, or contact our intake officer May who will discuss with you your options.  We remain Noosa’s most accessible psychology clinic, open seven days per week, with early morning and later evening appointments available. 

If you would like to hear more about VRT, here is a September article in Noosa Today!

Virtual Reality Therapy comes to Noosa


Virtual Reality (VR) technology has rapidly evolved in recent years, transcending its initial applications in gaming and entertainment. Today, VR is emerging as a ground-breaking tool in the field of psychological therapy. With its ability to immerse individuals in virtual environments, VR is transforming the way mental health professionals treat a wide range of psychological disorders. 


Last month Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT) was introduced at Ripple Psychology, making it one of very first clinics on the Sunshine Coast to adopt the technology.  While it has been used at the clinic for only a small number of client sessions, primarily as a relaxation tool in the treatment of post-traumatic stress, there are plans to expand its use to other areas, such as exposure therapy in the treatment of phobias.


Principal psychologist Melita Inglis is currently exploring the application of VR to the trauma treatment EMDR, which she uses to treat a range of conditions including PTSD. “EMDR does not require the client to ‘relive’ the actual traumatic event, but it is powerful in reducing the negative emotional impacts of that event through reprocessing of the memories associate with it” says Melita. 


As well as this particular approach, VRT has shown immense promise in the treatment of PTSD by immersing patients in controlled environments that do in fact replicate some aspects of their traumatic experiences. Therapists can guide patients through these scenarios, helping them process and reframe their traumatic memories. This approach allows patients to confront their trauma in a safe and controlled manner, reducing the emotional impact over time.


Melita’s practice partner Dave Clarke is also exploring the utility of VR in working with autism.  “There is a growing body of research literature outlining the benefits of VRT to individuals on the spectrum” he says. 


The newest member of the Ripple Psychology team is Imogen Sartor, who is researching the use of VR in treating phobias.  “Traditional exposure therapy, where patients confront their fears in real-life situations, can be daunting. However, VRT offers a controlled and immersive environment where patients can confront their fears gradually, leading to reduced anxiety and improved coping mechanisms” says Imogen, whose books are already almost full at the clinic. “I still have the luxury of a few unfilled appointment slots each week, and I’m using that time to extend my VRT expertise through research and training”.


Another area that has an expanding evidence base of therapeutic benefit is the use of VR in pain management. Chronic pain has a significant psychological component, and stress and anxiety exacerbate physical discomfort. VR can serve as a reprogramming tool, immersing patients in soothing environments and leading to reduced perception of pain and improved overall well-being. 


Dave listed five advantages of Virtual Reality in psychological therapy. 

1. Enhanced Exposure: VRT allows for controlled and repeatable exposure, crucial for treating anxiety disorders effectively. 

2. Customization: Virtual environments can be tailored to each patient’s specific needs and triggers, increasing the therapy’s effectiveness. 

3. Safety: Patients can confront their fears or traumas without real-world consequences, ensuring their emotional and physical safety. 

4. Engagement: VR therapy tends to be more engaging and less intimidating than traditional therapies, making it particularly appealing to younger generations. 

5. Data Collection: Therapists can gather valuable data on patients’ reactions and progress during VRT sessions, enhancing treatment plans. 


Virtual reality is ushering in a new era of psychological therapy, offering innovative solutions for various mental health conditions. While it’s not a replacement for traditional therapy, VRT serves as a valuable complementary tool that enhances treatment outcomes. Contact Ripple Psychology today or visit their website to find out more.