Virtual reality: A new tool for panic disorder therapy

Francesco Vincelli, Giuseppe Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of a multicomponent cognitive-behavioral treatment strategy for panic disorder with agoraphobia is actually one of the preferred therapeutical approach for this disturbance. This method involves a mixture of cognitive and behavioral techniques which are intended to help patients identity and modify their dysfunctional anxiety-related thoughts, beliefs and behavior. Emphasis is placed on reversing the maintaining factors identified in the cognitive and behavioral patterns. The treatment protocol includes exposure to the feared situation, interoceptive exposure and cognitive restructuring. The paper presents a treatment protocol for panic disorder and agoraphobia, named experiential-cognitive therapy, that integrates the use of virtual reality in a multicomponent cognitive-behavioral treatment strategy. The goal of experiential-cognitive therapy is to decondition fear reactions, to modify misinterpretational cognition related to panic symptoms and to reduce anxiety symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-383
Number of pages7
JournalExpert Review of Neurotherapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Agoraphobia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Experiential-cognitive therapy (ECT)
  • Panic disorders
  • Virtual reality therapy (VRT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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