Do self-statements enhance the effectiveness of virtual reality exposure therapy? A comparative evaluation in acrophobia

Cyberpsychol Behav. 2007 Jun;10(3):362-70. doi: 10.1089/cpb.2006.9943.


There is a clear need for more detailed analysis of the role of cognitive self-statements in virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET). To date, no research on this topic has been done. The primary aim of this study was to investigate whether coping self-statements would enhance the effectiveness of VRET. In a randomized crossover design, 26 patients with acrophobia (DSM-IV diagnosis of specific phobia) were randomly assigned to two sessions of VRET followed by two sessions of VRET plus coping self-statements, or the other way around: first two sessions of VRET plus coping self-statements followed by two sessions of VRET. Results showed that VRET, regardless of addition of coping self-statements, decreased anxiety of heights, decreased avoidance of height situations, and improved attitudes towards heights. However, at 6-month follow-up, most gains during treatment were not fully retained.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Humans
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Reality Therapy*
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Verbal Behavior*