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Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy of Combat-Related PTSD: A Case Study Using Psychophysiological Indicators of Outcome

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This article describes the treatment by exposure therapy of a Vietnam veteran for PTSD related to his war experiences. There are several unique features of this particular treatment and case report. One, the exposure treatment was delivered in conjunction with virtual reality. The patient was exposed to two virtual Vietnam environments, a virtual Huey helicopter and a virtual landing zone, while engaging in exposure to his most traumatic Vietnam memories. Two, the nature of several of these traumatic memories included guilt over acts that the patient committed in Vietnam, which is often times not considered a good candidate for exposure therapy. Three, psychophysiological monitoring occurred throughout the treatment as well as at pretreatment and posttreatment. His responses to treatment, in terms of guilt, anger, and anxiety, standardized symptom measures at pretreatment and post-treatment and follow-ups of 3 months and 6 months, and psychophysiological responding, are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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