Mental Therapy in Second Life

Ciaran Laval has an article up about last Friday’s Drax Files Radio Hour: Episode 37. I wanted to hear the information about psychological counseling in Second Life. I found it an interesting interview. The index to the show follows:

Challenges of Life - Server Scripting UG - 2014-38

Challenges of Life – Server Scripting UG – 2014-38

02:30 – Intro content listing and housekeeping announcements end and discussion of Joe Miller, former Linden, starts.

Jeska Linden relates her memories of Joe and his work with Linden Lab. Joe was instrumental in adding voice. She talks about voice like some now talk about Oculus Rift. She touches on some Second Life history as she talks about Joe.

11:00 – Discussion on Facebook Real Names starts.

Drax and Jo talk about the problem and the recent efforts by Drag Queens to get permission to use stage names. Jo points out that the media is covering this because of the sexual aspect of the story. Drax points out the problem of using real names in oppressive countries with government control of the media and speech. He and Jo get into the social problem of stalking too.

The interesting thing is Drax suggests the idea of changing things by having government force a private company to do what people want in the name of discrimination. Well, Drax is socialist, so the answer I usually hear from him is to MAKE people do things via government control, no surprise. But, history shows how poorly government does anything… actually everything.

22:00 – Discussion on New VR Gear starts.

Drax has links to the various different VR gadgets on his site. There is some interesting gear.

27:00 Mention of High Fidelity and a coming Drax avatar.

27:40 Discussion with Dr. Tammy Fletcher starts (RL doctor).

Dr. Fletcher discusses how she provided counseling in Second Life. (30:00) She discusses what she thinks of those people that are not licensed doctors offering medical/psychological advice in world. She thinks it borders on illegal.

I am pretty sure that anyone that offers professional services or purports to be a heath professional is committing a crime. As far as I know all the laws regarding a person putting their self forward as a heath professional do NOT make an exception for doing so in virtual worlds. But, this will have to go to court and be decided before it becomes generally accepted as a crime.

Her experiences and perception of people and behavior in Second Life is very interesting. I suspect some will find her stories strange. If one has not studied psychology to some measure, deep points she makes may seem shallower than they are.

49:00 ± – Discussion is about escapism and whether SL is only escapism.

53:00 – Discussion turns to SL2 and what would she change. Basically the Tier is too high. I had hoped for more. Fortunately Drax pursues the question.

56:00 – Drax and Jo wrap up the section on psychology in SL.

57:00 – Events upcoming. SL Innsmouth for sell or possibly closing.

So, is psychological counseling possible in Second Life? I think Dr. Fletcher answered the question in the affirmative. Psychological counseling is doable in SL because it is mostly a matter of people talking. Drax and Dr. Fletcher do a good job of covering the pro and con aspects of such counseling in a virtual world. I see the question of how effective it can be as highly debatable. (Page 2 button below) 

2 thoughts on “Mental Therapy in Second Life

  1. There is no where to go for counseling about things that have to do with SL except for SL because RL people don’t get it.

    • I suspect I understand your thinking. I think it is probably not completely true, but I suspect for many counselors it would be. Good counselors don’t really have to understand someone’s issues to help them. Think of what they do as holding a mirror for you while you do your make up. They wouldn’t need to be a make up specialist or even know how you wanted your look to help.

      By definition it is not a psychologist’s job to ‘fix’ a person, they aren’t broke. Think of it as giving map directions to a lost person. They aren’t broken, just lost. They know where they want to go (who or how they want to be), they just don’t know how to get there.

      I can’t imagine any issue in SL that does not have a similar RL issue, other than the technical ones like how to take a good picture or recover inventory.

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