Virtual reality based experiential cognitive treatment of anorexia nervosa

Giuseppe Riva, Monica Bacchetta, Margherita Baruffi, Rinaldi Silvia Rinaldi, Enrico Molinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The treatment of a 22-year old female university student diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa is described. In the study the Experiential Cognitive Therapy (ECT) was used: a relatively short-term, integrated, patient oriented approach that focuses on individual discovery. Main characteristic of this approach is the use of Virtual Reality, a new technology that allows the user to be immersed in a computer-generated virtual world. At the end of the in- patient treatment, the subject increased her bodily awareness joined to a reduction in her level of body dissatisfaction. Moreover, the patient presented a high degree of motivation to change. The results are discussed with regard to Vitousek, Watson and Wilson (1998, Clinical Psychology Review, 18(4), 391-420) proposal of using the Socratic Method to face denial and resistance of anorectic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-230
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1999


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Socratic method
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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