Can you fight stress in Second Life? This is the question that Dr. Daniel Hoch of Massachusetts General Hospital is going to explore. There are, of course, many organisations within Second Life that already do things such as this: Support for Healing being one of the better known ones, but this is the first time that I'm aware of that we've had a full clinical trial of the potential benefits of Second Life as a stress reliever, quite possibly the first clinical trial in Second Life altogether.
The group will be looking for volunteers from the Boston region, so that the inevitable real life paperwork can be done, and is being conducted under the auspices of the Center for Connected Health and the Benson-Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine. Two anticipated benefits they expect to see, even if the rest of the trial proves disappointing, are feedback through the IM system to the therapist, without disrupting the session; and the ability to aid visualisation by creating virtual environments that support the guided relaxation.
It will be interesting to see how the trial turns out, and doubtless we will report it here. Thanks to Pathfinder for the tip and link to the original article in the Boston Globe.
Can you fight stress in Second Life?
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