Virtual Reality (VR) is showing great promise in the areas of training and therapy, yet there is still untapped opportunity in clinical, professional, educational and vocational settings. VR has the potential to go further, to deliver more powerful, longer-lasting benefits to more participants and patients across a broader section of use cases and conditions. This paper explores some of those opportunities.

VR technologies have already demonstrated that multi-sensory immersive experiences can facilitate deep perceptual and emotional connections between the user and the virtual environment, and that this can deliver outstanding results in both training and therapy environments.

Compared with traditional training approaches, including on-line and in-person sessions, training providers see that VR delivers significant improvements to participants’ experiences and the learning outcomes. VR is proving to deliver impressive advancements in key learning metrics such as reductions in learning time, increased information recall and greater confidence in applying the learnings to the real world.

In therapeutic settings, VR is enabling powerful and innovative treatments for some of the most prevalent and important mental health issues our societies face today. Additionally, immersive technologies are helping practitioners overcome one of the biggest barriers to treatment, by enabling patients to undergo therapy remotely, in their own homes.

Whilst Virtual Reality is making truly ground-breaking progress in these scenarios, there is an important missing element – emotional feedback.

The power of VR to create emotional and empathetic connections for the user provides tremendous opportunity for the treatment ofmental health conditions and in meeting the surging demand for rapid, effective learning and development programmes. Through VR and immersive technologies powerful positive experiences can be created that excite, stimulate, guide, cure, and educate more effectively than traditional tried-and-tested approaches.

Emotional feedback is poised to play an important role within immersive and virtual experiences. The ability to understand an individual’s specific emotional reaction to any given VR experience can help guide the amount of stimulation, exposure or challenge that they are presented with, in real-time, making the experience more engaging, memorable and transferable.

This paper investigates the current trends in global mental health, with specific emphasis on the impact of COVID-19 in both organisations and therapeutic settings. It looks at the mental health, training and remote working challenges corporations, business, institutions and therapists face today, highlighting how Virtual Reality is being used in these settings, and how the addition of an emotional feedback element could create even more opportunities for VR in training and therapy sessions.

To learn more about the impact VR is making in therapeutics and training, you can download and read the white paper here.