How Technology Influences the Therapeutic Process: A Comparative Field Evaluation of Augmented Reality and In Vivo Exposure Therapy for Phobia of Small Animals

  • Maja Wrzesien
  • Jean-Marie Burkhardt
  • Mariano Alcañiz
  • Cristina Botella
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6946)


In Vivo Exposure Therapy (IVET) has been a recommended protocol for the treatment of specific phobias. More recently, several studies have suggested that Augmented Reality Exposure Therapy (ARET) is a potentially effective technology in this field. The objective of this paper is to report the preliminary results of a comparative analysis of ARET and IVET applied to the treatment of phobia to small animals. To analyze participants’ activity, we have adopted a multidisciplinary and mixed perspective based on clinical and user-centered approaches. This pilot results show that ARET and IVET are both clinically effective. Both therapies produce a significant reduction in the clinical outcome measures and allow the clients to interact with a real phobic stimulus after the therapeutic session. The results also show some main differences between technology-mediated therapy and traditional non-mediated therapy. We discuss these results in terms of future design and evaluation guidelines for Mental Health technologies.


Mental health augmented reality field evaluation 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maja Wrzesien
    • 1
  • Jean-Marie Burkhardt
    • 2
  • Mariano Alcañiz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Cristina Botella
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Instituto Interuniversitario de Investigación en Bioingeniería y Tecnología Orientada al Ser HumanoUniversidad Politécnica de ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.LATIParis Descartes UniversityParis cedex 06France
  3. 3.CIBERFisiopatología Obesidad y Nutrición, CB06/03 Instituto de Salud Carlos IIISpain
  4. 4.Departamento de Psicologia Basica y PsicobiologiaUniversidad Jaume ICastellónSpain

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