Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy

Virtual reality (VR) describes a human-computer interaction that is a multimedia interactive display in which the user experiences a sense of presence or immersion in the virtual environment that changes in real time with head and body movements. In virtual reality exposure (VRE) therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the patient describes the traumatic experience and the therapist attempts to match in the virtual environment what the patient is describing. Imaginal exposure entails the patient repeatedly telling of the traumatic experience with his or her eyes closed to enhance presence in the memory. However, the numbing and avoidance inherent in PTSD can serve as obstacles to emotional engagement in the memory, which is an essential ingredient for treatment success. VRE increases the intensity of exposure ...

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