Augmented Reality Therapies for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by various traumatic stressors(e.g.; life-threatening accidents, natural disasters, sexual /physical/emotional abuse, and war) and is accompanied by multiple physical and mental comorbidities as well as strong suicidal tendencies. This research aims to contribute to the development of PTSD treatment by investigating the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) narrative in treating PTSD. This four-year research project consists of three steps. In the first stage of research, we will conduct a comparative study between AR and VR narratives with participants without mental illnesses to verify whether AR narratives work better in eliciting the emotional engagement of the participants than VR narratives. In the second stage, we will create a system that integrates AR narratives with prolonged exposure (PE) treatment and experiment it with PTSD patients to verify its treatment efficacy.

An example of combing AR narrative with prolonged exposure therapy in treating patients with child abuse PTSD

In the final stage, a semi-automatic and patient-authored AR system is expected to be achieved, through which the patients can design their unique exposure environment via voice input.

The system design of the semi-automatic and patient- authored AR narrative system

This doctoral research project will provide valuable experimental samples and scientific evidence for the research of psychotherapy, narrative studies, and AR application.


Chang, L., Cassinelli, A., & Sandor, C. (2020). Augmented Reality Narratives for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment. In Adjunct Proceedings of the 2020 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (pp. 306-309). IEEE. PDF


Liu Chang & Alvaro Cassinelli