The fear of speaking is often cited as the world’s most common social phobia. This communication disorder is frequently identified among the top five most prevalent phobias of any kind. It does not appear to be limited by age, gender, economic or educational variables. Until this time, traditional treatment has included systematic desensitization, cognitive restructuring and skill building.
Current advances made through the use of computer display technology and the work of researchers in Atlanta and Boston are responsible for the creation of virtual reality technology for use in treating the fear of public speaking and other psychological disorders. In Atlanta, Dr. Max M. North, Dr. Sarah M. North and Dr. Joseph R. Coble are pioneers in virtual reality technology and its application to virtual reality therapy. Their technical advancements have been combined with the work of Dr. Dennis Becker of THE SPEECH IMPROVEMENT COMPANY, INC. in Boston. Research is being conducted in the Virtual Reality Technology Laboratory at Clark Atlanta University.
Version 2.0 has been developed for Oculus and Google Cardboard by Mark Grob of Core Augmented Reality Education and Dr. Ethan F. Becker of THE SPEECH IMPROVEMENT COMPANY INC.
TRY REAL INTERACTIVE VIRTUAL REALITY
This is the first known controlled study of the effectiveness of virtual reality therapy in the treatment of subjects who suffer from fear of speaking. Additional support was provided by Clark Atlanta University, U.S. Army Research Laboratories, and Boeing Computer Services. This first of its kind collaboration of cutting edge technology and time-tested traditional treatments is producing far reaching benefits which will have a positive impact on clinical and non-clinical treatment sessions for those who experience the fear of public speaking. Additionally, the general population will benefit from virtual reality research as this new technology provides a safe, confidential and economic approach to the treatment of psychological disorders.
Dr. Ethan F. Becker on WGBH in Boston discussing Virtual Reality
This study of the fear of public speaking indicates that virtual reality therapy is very effective in reducing self-reported anxiety. The virtual reality therapy treatment results in both a significant reduction of anxiety symptoms (SUD and ATPS measurements) and the ability to face phobic situations in the real world. Treated subject speakers now report the ability to speak comfortably in front of a crowd with better confidence.
While the original software and hardware solution was created in 1997, the product has been updated. The new product includes a conference room, auditorium, and one on one conversation. It’s important to note, the this is not a simple panorama sill image dropped into a viewer. This is an interactive virtual experience. With the Pro-version for corporations, a speech coach may log into the VR space and take control of the characters allowing them to more accurately recreate the experience of interruptions, distractions and more! Using Oculus, you’ll have the option of seeing your hands in the VR space!
WORK ALONE OR WITH A COACH FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!
That’s right! You can download the app and work on your own or with our pro-version (coming June of 2016) work with a highly trained speech coach from TSIC who can log into your virtual world coach you inside the virtual space! you’ll see and hear your coach as you practice! Your coach will control the other avatars based on your areas of need! Like the Matrix, our coaches will join your virtual world and help you learn to control the fear of public speaking!