Business in Virtual Worlds, Education in Virtual Worlds, Identity and Expression, Second Life

Online Therapy Institute opens in Second Life

If you’re looking for information about online counseling, clinical supervision and the impact of technology on mental health, then the newly-launched Online Therapy Institute (OTI) is the place to visit.

The center has just launched its presence in Second Life, according to MMD Newswire. Founded by Kate Anthony and DeeAnna Merz Nagel, both former Presidents of the International Society for Mental Health Online, the OTI is a think tank for all issues related to e-therapy. The center is interested in some of the key therapy-related issues of our day, including Internet and cybersex addictions, gaming, virtual worlds, and social networking. A slideshow located here gives you an idea of what it’s about.

The site is geared to therapy professionals. To that end, it offers an encrypted message board and a directory where members can exchange information.

Therapeutic practices are at the nascent stage in Second Life. But the institute hopes that SL will will be a useful tool for professionals and consumers.

“In one sense Second Life is Therapy Heaven,” said Phillip Hodson, fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. “Second Lifers have a perfect opportunity to explore alternative versions of their personalities while interacting with others (also role-playing theirs). You could also say Second Life is the perfect escapist fantasy for those who don’t want to grow up – nor interact with flesh and blood humanity – or real therapists.”

Nagel, one of the founders, also feels that technology is now an essential part of the fabric of people’s lives.

“Technology has created a new social fabric,” she said. “Mixed reality is common for many young people who move with ease between face-to-face relationships and online encounters. Social expression and business connections are shared in virtual and actual lifeworlds. People expect to engage in many life events utilizing social media. The ability to seek out mental health services in different ways is but one example.”


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