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November 1, 2023

Virtual Reality in Campus Counseling. Professors Aube and Repass Quoted in Inside Higher Ed Story

Roberts Wesleyan University’s on-campus clinic uses virtual reality to help students, faculty and outside community members tackle short-term anxiety. It relies on exposure therapy, but instead of a student simply picturing their fear, they can be immersed in an environment with their trigger.

“There are some things that would never be feasible [for immersion therapy], like fear of snakes,” said Cheryl Repass, Roberts Wesleyan’s department chair in psychology. She added that a student could not be in an actual room with a snake. “And imagining them is not nearly as potent as exposing them to an actual snake.”

Cheryl Repass headshot.

Professor Cheryl Repass

VR is particularly helpful on a campus with limited student sessions, said Jennifer Aube, director of the doctoral psychology program.

“Most college counseling centers are overwhelmed because there’s so much anxiety, and most have session limits,” she said. “This is something that can be used pretty short term for many issues students are struggling with. And even in terms of retention, it can help students take tests and function in dorms, so hopefully it gets more popular.”

Jennifer Aube Headshot

Professor Jennifer Aube

Read the whole story.

Watch Roberts video to see example VR scenarios and simulations.

WPS offers VR Therapy for a number of anxiety-inducing issues. More info on this service can be found at:

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