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Italian Journal of Psychology and Internet
Psicologia Online

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nelle pagine dell'archivio si ritrova la storia di
Italian Journal of Psychology and Internet - Psicologia Online
ma anche la storia della psicologia italiana e mondiale in rete
dal 1996 al 2000
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domenica 13 luglio 2008

Second Life offers healing. Therapeutic options for users

… A lot of altruism, free giving, plenty of warnings. Isn’t there any digital snake oil here? No fake therapists?

One in-world psychologist, Dr. Craig Kerley from Georgia, who was profiled on CBS’s “Early Show,” has hung his shingle for “cybertherapy” at $90 per hour. This work, he says, “can be valuable for those who have limited choices in their geographical region, have limited time to drive to regular in-person appointments, have limited mobility, and have limitations in their lifestyle that make traveling to a brick and mortar office difficult.”

Still, Dr. Peter Yellowlees, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UC Davis and a specialist in virtual worlds, cautions about therapy in Second Life, even with professionals. He advises using it only as “a potential adjunct to face-to-face therapy,” and to “use passwords or other cues in Second Life to make sure you’re talking to the right person” - the real therapist, not scammers posing as one.

Yellowlees uses Second Life as a teaching tool, not for therapy. His Virtual Hallucinations sim gives “the lived experience of schizophrenia - to hear voices and see visions” so his students (and the rest of us) can “get inside the head, just a bit, of someone who’s psychotic.”

It certainly sparked empathy in me, much more richly than a mere clinical description of the disorder would have done.

Empathy: There’s that word again, an odd one to associate with impersonal bytes and modems, but the right one. Second Life is a hot, humming thing of wire and light, a “server” - spiritual teachers would like the metaphor - that can carry community and genuine human sympathy…

Cherilyn Parsons is a freelance writer and fundraising consultant to journalism organizations. E-mail her at style@sfchronicle.com.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/11/LVL211GP5C.DTL

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