Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for PTSD Symptoms After a Road Accident: An Uncontrolled Case Series


This report examined whether Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) could be used in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in the aftermath of a serious motor vehicle accident. Six individuals reporting either full or severe subsyndromal PTSD completed 10 sessions of VRET, which was conducted using software designed to create real-time driving scenarios. Results indicated significant reductions in posttrauma symptoms involving reexperiencing, avoidance, and emotional numbing, with effect sizes ranging from d = .79 to d = 1.49. Indices of clinically significant and reliable change suggested that the magnitude of these changes was meaningful. Additionally, high levels of perceived reality ("presence") within the virtual driving situation were reported, and patients reported satisfaction with treatment. Results are discussed in light of the possibility for VRET to be useful in guiding exposure in the treatment of PTSD following road accidents. © 2006.

Publication Title

Behavior Therapy