Redefining therapeutic success with virtual reality exposure therapy

Cyberpsychol Behav. 2001 Jun;4(3):341-8. doi: 10.1089/109493101300210231.


The success rate for treating phobias with in vivo exposure is high. Unfortunately, few phobics (less than 15-20%) ever seek treatment. Virtual reality (VR) exposure therapy is also proving to be highly effective. The present surveys assessed 162 students high in fear of spiders. In Study 1, when asked to choose between multisession in vivo exposure vs. multisession VR exposure therapy, 81% chose VR. In Study 2, comparing one-session in vivo versus multisession VR exposure therapy, 89% chose VR. Results suggest that VR exposure therapy may prove valuable for increasing the number of phobics who seek treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface*