Reviewer: Dr Peter Ou, GP, FRNZCGP, Auckland
Date of review: November 2021
Comments: Reviewed the Trypanophobia (needle phobia) programme. oVRcome is an app that utilises virtual reality (VR) technology to help users self create a realistic programme to help manage their phobia. The main feature of the app is that it helps users manage their anxiety/phobia through graded exposure with virtual reality (VR) technology.
The free portion of the app allows the user to select a VR clips from different categories of phobias that they would like to work on gaining confidence in managing their phobia. The selection of VR clips are limited in number and restricted to “low and medium” anxiety ones. The videos can be viewed on a handheld mobile phone, or in a VR headset (e.g. Google cardboard) for an immersive experience.
In the premium subscription, users will be mailed a VR headset, gain access to a 2.5 hour psychoeducation program split into 6 modules and a VR library with graded exposure of the anxiety-provoking stimulus.
Use of the premium version enables users to receive psychoeducation about anxiety and phobia. They can learn strategies on how to manage the psychological and physical symptoms of anxiety, including diaphragmatic breathing, present moment anchoring, thought reframing and learning meditation techniques.
Users get a graded exposure to anxiety through provoking stimulus via a full range of VR clips in VR library.
Safety concerns: None – There are adequate safety messages about using VR correctly, especially when starting off.
New Zealand relevance: Yes, relevant to a New Zealand audience.
Reviewer: Member of the public, Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ, January 2022
Comments: The psychoeducation was good. It taught me a lot about where phobias come from and some skills to manage the anxiety, before doing the exposure (spiders) which you start from low and work you way up.
Reviewer: Member of the public, Auckland, NZ, January 2022
Comments: I loved this app. It was easy to use. It provided education on mindset and the Exposure Therapy clips were easy to choose (e.g. different levels to choose) to gradually build up your resilience. It worked wonders for my needle phobia and I know I can always go back to the App to continue to build my resilience. Such a life changer!