Virtual Reality Phobia Treatment Study for Youth

Anxiety is a common and impairing problem for children and adolescents. The principal treatment for pediatric anxiety involves having children face their fears in a stepwise approach through a therapeutic exercise called exposures. While exposures are effective, some feared situations cannot be confronted in a clinician's office (e.g., heights, public speaking, storms). Immersive virtual reality, or VR, presents an innovative solution that allows children to face fears without leaving the clinician's office.

Researchers are conducting a study to learn more about using VR exposures to treat children and adolescents with specific phobias. This study involves a total of four visits (three virtual visits via Zoom and one in-person visit to our research center) and may last a total of eight hours. Treatment is offered free of charge, and participants will collectively receive $50 in gift cards for each assessment visit.

If your child is between the ages of 8 and 17 and has a phobia of storms, spiders, heights, and/or public speaking, they may be eligible to participate in this study.

For more information about participation, contact the study coordinator by phone at 443-327-9864 or by email at

This study has been approved by the Johns Hopkins Medicine IRB (IRB00210075, PI: Joseph McGuire, PhD).