* 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:
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.