Avatar therapy: From couch to cyberspace

 作者:郏狙忍     |      日期:2018-02-25 06:01:00
By Samantha Murphy Psychotherapy in a virtual world has its advantages – particularly if the real world is what you can’t cope with BY MY fourth interview, I’d developed a checklist to use before each meeting. For starters, I would make sure I had grown some hair. I’d also check that I was fully clothed – I had learned the hard way about that one. Only then would I teleport to the interview, hoping that this time my avatar wouldn’t materialise in anyone’s lap. Welcome to Second Life, a virtual world with almost 20 million players globally, where the avatars – digital stand-ins for the players – create everything around them. Every cobbled street, every tree swaying in the wind, even the wind itself, is the product of someone’s imagination. For some users, though, this isn’t merely a game. It is precisely this ability to construct and control a virtual environment that is creating a new branch of psychotherapy – avatar therapy – in which therapists interact with their clients avatar to avatar. On the face of it, this might sound like a pale imitation of a real-life therapy session. Yet its proponents say avatar therapy has some unique advantages that take psychotherapy to the next level. In Second Life, therapy sessions are not confined to the therapist’s virtual office; they can also involve role-play scenarios to allow the patient to practise their newly learned coping skills in virtual environments tailored to their needs. All the while the therapist gives real-time feedback, like a medically qualified Jiminy Cricket. Launched in 2003,