Virtual worlds, real healing : the use of virtual reality for assessment and treatment of stress and anxiety

A. Gorini

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisExternal prepared

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Virtual Reality (VR) is an advanced form of human–computer interface that allows users to interact with and become immersed in a computer generated environment in a naturalistic way. Starting from about twenty years ago, clinical psychologists have used VR for the treatment of different psychological disorders taking advantage of the possibility offered by it to create fully controlled environments in which patients can be exposed to anxious stimuli under the direct supervision of their therapists. This thesis focuses on some very recent experimental studies aimed to investigate the characteristics of VR as a clinical tool for the treatment of stress and anxiety. Results are very encouraging: VR appear to be effective as reality in eliciting cognitive and emotional responses in humans, and it seems to be a good tool to help subjects to cope with stressful conditions.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Griez, Eric, Supervisor
  • Schruers, Koen, Co-Supervisor
Award date22 Sep 2010
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • virtual reality
  • stress
  • anxiety

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