A psychological perspective on the development of a VR exposure therapy application for typhoon-related PTSD

Gaea Marelle J. Miranda, Janelle Rose D. Tan, Geoffrey A. Solano


Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition involving the manifestation of negative biological, behavioral, affective, and cognitive responses to a triggering event or stimulus. In the Philippines, PTSD can be caused by typhoon-related trauma which is borne out of the country's relative proneness to this natural disaster. Research has shown that PTSD can be effectively mitigated through prolonged exposure therapy. Contemporary studies have also shown promise in the utility of virtual reality as a tool for aiding prolonged exposure therapy.

Objectives: To address current research gaps, the study intended to discuss the development of an adjunct virtual reality tool (Typhoon VRET) whose elements were mainly derived using data from narrative review and a consultation interview with a Filipino psychotherapy practitioner.

Methodology: The study utilized in-depth literature review and consultation interview with a Filipino trauma response specialist as primary sources of data. Key themes and findings were virtually represented through Unity, Blender, and Cardboard SDK.

Results: The Typhoon VRET features a relaxation scene, a rescue scene, and a typical Filipino house that showcases cultural elements so as to stimulate clients' traumatic reminders and fear structures. Users are given the option to control the environment, including the strength and volume of the flooding, wind, and rain.

Conclusion: Virtual reality could may be an adjunct tool to aid in addressing typhoon-related trauma among Filipinos. Several recommendations are provided in improving the technical features of the tool and integrating it into psychotherapy practice.


virtual reality; typhoon-related trauma; posttraumatic stress disorder

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Print ISSN: 2704-3517; Online ISSN: 2783-042X