Virtual Reality Applications to Address the Wounds of War

Albert "Skip" Rizzo, J. Galen Buckwalter, Eric Forbell, Chris Reist, JoAnn Difede, Barbara O. Rothbaum, Belinda Lange, Sebastian Koenig, Thomas Talbot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


This article details how virtual reality (VR) applications are being designed and implemented across various points in the military deployment cycle to prevent, identify, and treat combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom service members and veterans. The article presents a brief discussion that details work developing and evaluating virtual human agents in the role of virtual patients that represent military personnel for training the next generation of clinical providers. As well, research and development creating virtual humans serving in the role of online health care guides that can be used to support anonymous access to military-relevant behavioral health care information are discussed in the present article. VR has now emerged as a promising tool in many domains of clinical care and research. The article also illustrates how VR has been used to enhance the delivery of prolonged exposure therapy, provide stress resilience training, and enhance clinical interactions with virtual human representations. This article details a range of applications that illustrate the current use of clinical VR to address the behavioral health care needs of those suffering from the wounds of war
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-138
Number of pages16
JournalPsychiatric Annals
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


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