By Karen Morfitt

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Virtual reality therapy is now on campus at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“There’s like a breeze, a lot of birds chirping,” senior Abby Tracker said.

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Her day ended on a relaxing note, testing out the University’s virtual reality deck to meditate.

“Right now she’s guiding me through focus meditation to kind of re-center myself so I’m not thinking about the little inconveniences,” she said.

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Guided meditation is just a glimpse into what the virtual reality technology can be used for.

“It’s been used to treat fear of heights, fear of flying, even public speaking.”

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Monica Ng, the Director of Counseling and Psychiatric Services or CAPS, launched the program. She was looking for new, innovative ways to treat students working through mental health conditions and phobias.

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“When we are afraid of something we want to avoid them, so by putting them in that environment so they can hear all the sounds and see the environment they really have all their senses heightened,” Ng. said.

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When integrated into a person’s therapy, the hope is treatment will be easier and more effective.

“Now the therapist can talk about what’s your breathing like? Can we do some deep breathing? We start pairing it up with some relaxation techniques,” she said.

While helpful in addressing a number of mental health conditions for some, like Tracer, it’s not about treatment at all, but escaping reality.

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“When I was in here just doing that by myself, I was just taking a load off,” she laughed. “It is really relaxing.”

“Virtual reality therapy is not for everyone. It’s important for patients to talk to a counselor to determine if it is the right choice for them,” Ng recommends to anyone considering the treatment option.

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LINK: Virtual Reality Therapy At CU

Karen Morfitt