While you may know me as a pixie- the psychotherapist turned woo-woo intuitive, I have great interest in teaching helping professionals, educators and healers about the power of avatars and virtual worlds.
For more than a decade I have been studying, writing and teaching about the virtues of virtual worlds and avatars. I have talked about the upside of gaming as well as the pitfalls. I have discussed virtual worlds from a multicultural perspective and offered psychological analysis of avatar identities. I am not alone. My colleague, Kate Anthony has been along for this ride. We co-founded Online Therapy Institute in 2008 and created several courses including a 10-hour course, The Role of Avatars in Telemental Health.
The Cyberculture of Virtual Living
During this module, we will introduce you to the concept of using virtual reality platforms and avatars as part of Cyberculture, and how people live and behave as an alternative identity (or identities) online. You will examine your own assumptions and put yourself in the service-user’s virtual shoes to better understand how you can use virtual environments in your own unique way as appropriate to your chosen profession. We will also examine, via dilemmas, some of the unusual situations that may arise in your work with others.
- Challenging Assumptions
- Understanding the Service-Users POV
- Dilemmas Specific to Virtual Environments
- Participants will understand the basic concepts of the cyberculture of virtual living.
- Participants will be able to define elements of virtual living and avatars
- Participants will understand what assumptions exist and how/when to challenge them
- Participants will be able to better empathise with the service-users experience of virtual living
- Participants will be able to think through and conceptualise situational issues that may arise
Specific VR Platforms
During this module, we will introduce you to specific virtual reality platforms and avatars. Some of these are non-specific platforms (i.e general use), some are designed for mental health and coaching, and some for gaming purposes.
- Introduction and a Brief History
- Second Life
- Gaming Worlds
- Participants will understand a brief history of virtual worlds
- Participants will be able to use and understand Second Life
- Participants will be able to use and understand ProReal
- Participants will be able to recognise gameworlds and empathise with gamers
Research and Theory
During this module, we will introduce you to specific areas of social and medical conditions which have proved to be successfully treated and researched within virtual environments. By understanding such issues in the mental health and medical field, your understanding of the human condition will become applicable to many types of service user and give you a range of environments in which people are helped by virtual reality.
- Understanding Avatars in Gaming Environments
- Understanding Social Medical Conditions in VR
- Using VR to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Addressing Childhood Trauma in VEs
- Addressing Other Trauma in VEs
- Participants will understand better how identity issues surface in Gaming Environments
- Participants will understand the appeal of VE’s for working with Social Medical Conditions
- Participants will be able to understand the appeal of VE’s for working with PTSD
- Participants will be able to understand the appeal of VE’s for working with trauma
- Participants will be able to visualise the future of bereavement work using VE’s