Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 255–264 | Cite as

Virtual Reality Exposure for PTSD Due to Military Combat and Terrorist Attacks

  • Albert RizzoEmail author
  • Judith Cukor
  • Maryrose Gerardi
  • Stephanie Alley
  • Chris Reist
  • Mike Roy
  • Barbara O. Rothbaum
  • JoAnn Difede
Original Paper


Humans exposed to war and terrorist attacks are at risk for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Numerous reports indicate that the incidence of PTSD in both returning Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) military personnel and survivors of the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) attacks is significant. These situations have served to motivate research on how to better develop and disseminate evidence-based treatments for PTSD and other related psychosocial conditions. Virtual reality (VR) delivered exposure therapy for PTSD is currently being used to treat combat and terrorist attack related PTSD with initial reports of positive outcomes. This paper presents an overview and rationale for the use of VR exposure therapy with anxiety disorders and PTSD and describes the status of two systems (Virtual Iraq/Afghanistan and Virtual World Trade Center) developed for this purpose.


Posttraumatic stress disorder Anxiety disorders Virtual reality Prolonged exposure 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert Rizzo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Judith Cukor
    • 2
  • Maryrose Gerardi
    • 3
  • Stephanie Alley
    • 4
  • Chris Reist
    • 4
  • Mike Roy
    • 5
  • Barbara O. Rothbaum
    • 3
  • JoAnn Difede
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Creative TechnologiesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Long Beach VA Medical CenterLong BeachUSA
  5. 5.Uniform Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA

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