THE COUCH IN THE COMPUTER
Virtual psychology, therapy
to get own OLIVE world
Using the On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment (OLIVE™) virtual world platform from Forterra Systems, InWorld Solutions™, of Palo Alta, California, has developed a virtual world specifically designed for behavioral healthcare.
Created for use by clinical institutions and individual therapists, the online application, InWorld, has been designed to overcome emotional and cognitive barriers to therapy, counseling, and education by engaging clients and mobilising their active participation.
Like health and medical applications in Second Life, InWorld can also be used for therapist training and supervision. Although in a different virtual world it will join a number of pioneering medical training and health care applications being run in Second Life such as the SLENZ Project’s midwifery education pilot program being run by Otago Polytechnic, Auckland University’s Virtual Medical Centre, and a myriad of other universities and organisations around the world who are doing pioneering medical and healthcare work in MUVEs.
The InWorld application was scheduled to be unveiled in Toronto, Canada, today, Friday, at an American Psychological Association (APA) 117th Annual Convention plenary session entitled Next Stop: Virtual Psychology and Therapy.
“We founded InWorld Solutions to bring new technology to the field of behavioral healthcare,” said InWorld Solutions co-founder and CEO Walter Greenleaf, a pioneer in medical virtual environments and a Stanford University-trained research scientist specialising in behavioral neuroscience and cognitive rehabilitation.
“I’m excited about the convergence of several technical and social trends that enable us to provide InWorld today: the advancement of virtual environment technology, the penetration of broadband Internet, the affordability of computing power, and the growing adoption of virtual worlds,” he added.
Les Paschall, InWorld Solutions co-founder and CEO of CFG Health Systems, a 450-clinician behavioral healthcare provider in Marlton, New Jersey, said, “The potential demand for this kind of program is enormous. InWorld is designed to manage a wide range of disorders, and we’re seeing unprecedented levels of engagement and participation in our first use with clients who suffer from oppositional defiance disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as patients dealing with issues of anger management and substance abuse.”
The pair claimed that InWorld is the first and only product to offer therapists a complete solution by combining a virtual world with important clinical functions such as session notes, appointment calendar, clinical illustrations, a clinical manual, and the management of avatars, the personalized characters used by therapists and their clients.
Complements traditional therapy
Interactions use speech, so keyboard skills are not required. Sessions are recorded and can be saved for review and playback from different viewing perspectives.
It complements traditional talk therapy, helping the therapeutic process to go deeper and progress more rapidly for individual, family, and group therapy. In addition, InWorld can increase access to behavioral healthcare by allowing therapists and clients to meet in the same or different locations.
It was first used in residential care facilities for teens more than two years ago and was found to be a successful treatment option, making it possible to engage patients in the therapeutic process in ways that not only enable therapy, but facilitate faster progress.
In every setting where it has been used, clinicians and patients have reported, according to the company, that it is an important addition to the tools available for the management and treatment of behavioral health.
InWorld, which runs on the Windows operating system and requires broadband Internet access, will be available for download from the InWorld Solutions website in October 2009 at an introductory subscription-based pricing of US$95 per month per clinician.
Filed under: Education, Education in virtual worlds, SL Medicine, Virtual Worlds Tagged: | American Psychological Association, APA, Auckland University, Behavioral healthcare, CFG Health Systems, Forterra, InWolrd Solutions, InWorld, Les Paschall, OLIVE, Otago Polytechnic, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Stanford University, Walter Greenleaf