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Virtual Clinic to Treat Stresses of War
Virtual Clinic to Treat Stresses of War

Virtual Clinic to Treat Stresses of War

Healing Center Launched in Second Life

The popular virtual world Second Life is now home to a center that helps soldiers deal with the stresses of war, according to a report in the New York Times.

"The healing center...has a big lodge, where people can spend time and talk with each other, anonymously if they prefer. They can sit around a fireplace, play games in the game room or relax on a deck next to a waterfall. They can climb a tower, where they will meet a historical warrior who tells them stories about his life. There are also real-world interactions in the virtual world. A veteran’s avatar can go for a jog. The onscreen action is powered by the human behind the screen breathing in a slow, relaxed way. There is also a stress reduction center, where experts from the Center for Mindfulness of the University of California, San Diego can take the form of avatars online and conduct sessions for the veterans. In one of the lodge's rooms, veterans can find bulletin boards with lists of helpful Web sites and other offline resources they can seek out."

Virtual worlds are increasingly being used not just for therapy but for peer-to-peer support, collaboration, and training. Remedy has developed patient support environments, advisory board collaboration applications, and other forms of on-line meetings using virtual world technology. The advantage of virtual worlds as a supplement to other forms of communication is the sense of 'presence': users can meet each other virtually in an environment that supports rich interactions, voice discussion, and the sharing of information.

Supporting the returning soldier is just the start for the Institute for Creative Technologies, which launched the healing center:

"Next year, the institute will do pilot studies on the healing center with an Army hospital. It also plans to use virtual humans and virtual worlds to create other places for people to find help, like groups for alcoholics or narcotics users, and a career center."

Further coverage of this program is available on NextGov including a Slideshow of the venue.

doug thompson
Virtual Clinic to Treat Stresses of War

doug thompson

Doug Thompson is CEO of Remedy which he founded a decade or so ago with a couple of old laptops and one of those fax machines with curling paper. Doug keeps a pulse on innovation and on maintaining the team-based culture that has allowed Remedy to grow from that modest start.