PsychNology Journal, Volume 4, Number 2, 129 – 144

Using a Flexible Virtual Environment for Treating a Storm Phobia

Cristina Botella
Departamento de Psicología Básica, Clínica y Psicobiología. Universidad Jaume I, (Castellón, Spain)

Rosa M. Baños
Departamiento de Personalidad, Evaluación y Tratamientos Psicológicos. Universitat de València (Spain)

Belén Guerrero
Centro Clínico PREVI (Valencia, Spain)

Soledad Quero
Departamento de Psicología Básica, Clínica y Psicobiología.Universidad Jaume I (Castellón, Spain)

Mariano Alcañíz
MedicLab. Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain)

 

ABSTRACT

Most of the Virtual Environments (VE) currently available in the field of psychological treatments are designed to solve a specific problem (acrophobia, flying phobia, claustrophobia, etc.). Our research group has developed a versatile Virtual Reality (VR) system (an adaptive display) that could be useful for different problems. In previous studies, a VR application called “EMMA’s world” was developed for the treatment of PTSD and pathological grief. The aim of the present work is to show the utility of this system for the treatment of a storm phobia. The patient was a 70 year-old woman, who was not familiar at all with computer technologies. As the patient was not able to confront even a virtual storm, the treatment was applied in two phases: In vivo exposure (exploding balloons), and exposure to VE simulating storms, rain, thunders and lightings. Results showed changes in the expected direction and were maintained at 6-month follow-up.

 

KEYWORDS

virtual reality exposure, adaptive display, psychological treatment, specific phobia.

CITE AS

Cristina Botella, Rosa M. Baños, Belén Guerrero, Azucena García-Palacios, Soledad Quero and Mariano Alcañíz(2006). Using a Flexible Virtual Environment for Treating a Storm Phobia. PsychNology Journal, 4(1), 129 – 144. Retrieved [month] [day], [year], from www.psychnology.org.

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