Two innovative healthcare technologies at the intersection of serious games, alternative realities, and play therapy


Using game technologies and digital media for improving physical and mental health and for the therapeutic benefit and well-being of a wide range of people is an area of study that is rapidly expanding. Much research in this emerging field is centered at the intersection of serious games, alternative realities, and play therapy. In this paper the authors describe their Transdisciplinary work at this intersection: i) an integrative system of psychotherapy technologies called MyPsySpace currently being prototyped in Second Life with the aim of offering new and virtual translations of traditional expressive therapies (virtual sandplay, virtual drama therapy, digital expressive therapy, and virtual safe spaces) and ii) a mature body of research entitled SoundScapes that is exploring the use of interactive video games and abstract creative expression (making music, digital painting, robotic device control) as a supplement to traditional physical rehabilitation intervention. Aside from introducing our work to a broader audience, our goal is to encourage peers to investigate ideas that reach across disciplines--to both risk and reap the benefits of combining technologies, theories, and methods stemming from multiple disciplines.

Keywords: Second Life prototyping, psychotherapy, virtual reality, drama therapy, expression arts therapy, scenarios, physical rehabilitation.

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