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

Albert Rizzo*, Judith Cukor, Maryrose Gerardi, Stephanie Alley, Chris Reist, Mike Roy, Barbara O. Rothbaum, Jo Ann Difede

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Prolonged exposure
  • Virtual reality


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