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Exposure Therapy Using Virtual Reality

JoAnn Difede, Ph.D., director of the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian is developing a type of exposure therapy using virtual reality. Participants navigate through a number of computer-generated environments. Each scenario is personalized to fit a stressful situation from the past. Difede told Ivanhoe, “You and I might see an overpass and think oh there’s an overpass and not think twice about it. If you’re in that convoy, that’s a location for snipers.” The scenario is repeated during a 90 minute session once a week for nine weeks. “The idea of the treatment is to teach the person, their brain, if you will, that those cues aren’t scary anymore. Nothing bad is going to happen,” explained Difede.

Source: Virtual reality for PTSD