Virtual Reality Could Help Hoarders Declutter Their Lives

A groundbreaking study explores the potential of virtual reality (VR) as a therapeutic tool for individuals suffering from hoarding disorder.

The study involved nine participants over 55 years old who were clinically identified as hoarders and began with 16 weeks of online group therapy, followed by a unique VR experience. Participants photographed 30 possessions and congested living areas, which were recreated in a virtual environment. They then engaged with their hoarded items virtually, practicing discarding, giving away, or recycling them. Additionally, they were tasked with discarding a real item from their physical living space.

Despite the small sample size, the results were overwhelmingly positive. Seven out of nine participants reported reduced hoarding tendencies, and eight showed significant reductions in clutter during house visits. This suggests that VR, when integrated with group therapy, can be an effective tool for treating hoarding disorder.

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