* Please note that this is a growing list and is not yet comprehensive. If you are involved in providing mental health services and wish to be listed here, please contact me. List follows at bottom of post.
Conducting therapy in SL was my intention when first joining a little over 2 years ago. But, after discussions with colleagues, I opted against, at least for the time being. Then, I discovered the possibilities of live music, and the course shifted quite notably.
At least as of this writing, I do not intend to conduct therapy in SL. The separation of psychiatric work in RL and musical endeavors in SL has been a useful one.
There is, though, some cross-over in meditation. I’ve occasionally taught and led a group on the subject of meditation. Also, the meditative improvised music provides its own therapeutic functions.
Still, the questions of how one would conduct therapy in SL – would it be possible? and what are the considerations involved? – have been on my mind. In this setting, I was asked to speak, over the last weekend, regarding mental health in SL.
The Second Life News Network has a report on the talk from Saturday. (One bit of clarification to the article: I do not presently do music-therapy work in RL.) I enjoyed meeting several of the therapists and discussing some of the issues involved. Contributers included Avalon Birke of Wellness Island, Ren Stonecutter who discussed PTSD treatment, Marly Milena who has a background in humanistic psychology, Amaya Summers who runs a suicide prevention and education group, and myself.
Resources I’ve found are provided below. If anyone has any thoughts about them, please let me know, as I have not involved myself with these locations enough to give a comprehensive discussion or evaluation.
** Please note, Second Life is still very analagous to the Wild West. If you plan to get involved with therapy, realize that virtual therapy does not replace real-world therapy and that any therapist you meet, especially in the virtual worlds, is worth investigating for credentials. Therapy is a process that involves the development of trust, not just with institutions, but also with the individuals of those institutions. Unfortunately, I cannot personally vouch for any online therapist as I have not been in RL contact with them or with their clients. **
Having said that, I do strongly applaud those willing to do the work in creating an environment where therapy can happen online. There has been a lot of work done from what I can tell, and it cannot have been easy. Here are some of the sites I’ve discovered:
Centering Place in SL
Centering Place Online
Support for Healing Online
From the Centering Place Website:
This site is specifically designed to provide resources for those in need. It covers such topics as Abuse, Alcoholism, Suicide, Healing and Growth resources and many more helpful resources.
Heron Sanctuary in SL
Virtual Ability Online
From the Virtual Ability website:
Our mission is to enable people with a wide range of disabilities to enter into virtual worlds like Second Life®, and provide them with a supporting environment once there.
Online Therapy Institute
Online Therapy Institute in SL
Online Therapy Institute Website
From their website:
The Online Therapy Insitute is designed for clinicians and organizations who wish to enrich their knowledge about online counseling, clinical supervision and the impact of technology on mental health. The Institute, founded by Kate Anthony and DeeAnna Merz Nagel is a think tank for all issues related to e-therapy.
Wellness Island in SL
SL Counseling Online
SL Wellness Online
From the SL counseling website:
Just like real life, your Second Life® can present a variety of joys, sorrows, and challenges. Support and help are available from qualified, ethical professionals at The Counseling Center. Wellness Island hosts The Counseling Center and provides both counseling, coaching, and consulting on RL/SL mental health issues. Our library of materials has been used by dozens of support and resource groups in Second Life®.
… and from Wellness Magazine:
WELLNESS Magazine in Second Life® is devoted to your healthy body, mind, and spirit. Our focus is emotional and mental health, but you will find articles and news on a wide variety of topics.
There are also numerous support groups that have formed in world as well. Hit search and type in your query whether it be mental health, depression, psychosis, anxiety, etc.
Is there something missing from the above? Would you like to see more detail? Let me know by providing me the URL, SLURL, and anything else you feel would be pertinent.
Gee your sites about Mind, Music, and Technology is hmm how can i say, different from the others. Keep adding i will be back
I really like your blog! I Will subscribe to your feed. Im trying to bulk up but reading all i can in the meantime.
Although this center seems extremely beneficial and attractive the fact remains that if individuals on second life, not all are, are in fact addicted to this game by means of escaping from REALITY meaning the faculties and physical experience in their own bodies, these Mental Health and Wellness services will only further assert the addiction behavior for these individuals that have true isolation and addiction issues utilizing this game, Second Life, with or without the mental health resources as a negative coping mechanism distracting them from low self-esteem, trauma, and possible a multivariate of issues.
As for those without addictions to this site, interesting and enjoyable yet we must remember these programs are essentially programs and games, even on our advanced technologically oriented planet.
Hi Mindful, the services available in world are not only for “addiction” to a game world, which of course needs defining. Beyond this, there are services available for depression, anxiety, psychosis, and substance abuse, among others.
I do have to ask though, are you referring to any type of involvement in a virtual world as “addictive”? I also assume the connotation of a negative involvement when the term is used.
There is also the emphasis you place on the term “reality.” There are those who involve themselves on the computer in general for many hours a day, if not all day. In a sense, this too is an involvement in a “virtual” world. Second Life may have a central design, but the designers of the facets of its world are myriad as it is with the Internet in general. Are those who involve themselves with computers for much of the day also “addicted” by this definition?
While there are those who utilize technology towards defending themselves against the difficulties of low self-esteem, etc, one can also make a similar statement with food or sex. Most use these without difficulty and many positives can be stated of either.
The issue is certainly a complex one.
Receiving therapy in Second Life is a facinating idea. I think for many people this could be a great first step towars recovery for those who would never see a therapist or consider making an appointment.
.-= Mia Tanner´s last blog ..Neutrogena Sunblock Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF-85 3 Ounce Tubes 2 Pack =-.
Fairly nice post, really useful stuff. Never ever considered I would find the facts I need in this article. I’ve been hunting all around the net for some time now and had been starting to get frustrated. Luckily, I happened across your site and received precisely what I was struggling to find.
Mental is important. I think we can avoid a lot of disease if we care about mental health, and your post is really new idea for the treatment.
.-= Takeomi(健康)´s last blog ..梅毒の赤ちゃんなんて信じます？ =-.
I like the mental health part of SL. I like music more, but health part comes in second. Nice post
in third world countries, mental health is never a priority.,`:
dear katie indeed in third world countries mental health is not a priority, we are to busy to think about another thing but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about our mental health, thanks
Having read all the posts in this blog i`m not sure i agree with them all, however, the majority of the posts are very informative. Thanks.
Very good posts topics are good thanks
mental health is more important than body health yet most people just ignores it.;,”
First class information in this post. I’m still in the early stages of researching the subject, but the post has been very helpful.
to much presure and stress to keep up with everyting in this old worlds,….
to many mental prob, bt there is alot more (not in list)
maybe one day mentel prob is not a prob anymore but normal person is a prob
mental health should always be monitored closely in the same way we monitor the health of our body.-‘
Mental health is something that those who have it take for granted. I know I do.
Good food for thought here, and some new angles you have covered. Very interesting reading
Good post – I liked it
mental health should always be monitored closely in the same way we monitor the health of our body.-’
mental health should be our very first priority but often times it gets ignored;;.
One more thing to add. Anytime you can possitively cleanse your mind it has to be a good thing. We need to develope more creative methods like these.
I would like to take a trip to wellness island. It would be nice to be able to come home from work and go there.
So if I understand this correctly we are talking about virtual mental health resources for people who live in a virtual world. Interesting. Perhaps not as effective as real therapy though.
Bonjour, j’aime bien votre blog que je suis depuis longtemps. … Je trouve votre blog passionnant et très drôle !!
This is a great source listing for online counseling help. I think people are starting to reach out more for help in the online community, which means there need to be better and more comprehensive sources for the public to turn to. When it comes to mental health, we need the advice and help of experts and professionals, not just some online joe blow. Thanks for the listing!
Do you have a problem with alcoholism? This alcoholism test, called the …