A Multiplayer Virtual Reality Play Environment using full body avatars offers new possibilities for therapy. A key element is the use of full-body avatars, allowing for non-verbal communication. The therapist can share this space with the client so he can observe and provide interventions. This research will investigate if the core elements of Psycho Motoric Therapy (PMT) can be applied in this VR environment. It will identify what gameplay interactions should be provided to make the therapy successful. It will identify the conditions or workflow needed by the therapist that should be incorporated in the VR game design. The results should help game developers define useful design patterns for therapy and help PMT therapists recognize the opportunities for a VR therapy environment. The possibilities to use it for group therapy, where it is normally not possible because of aggression, security or organizational concerns, will be part of the research.
Improvive has been working on multi-player VR applications for the past 3 years. They are interested in the connection of applied gaming to therapy and have been in contact with Joep Kolijn to explore whether it could be an interesting tool for PMT. Improvive’s focus has been providing meaningful interactions between players using the concepts of space and non-verbal communication that are possible with full-body avatars. After a first try-out it seems that their tools can be useful for therapy. However it is necessary to validate the use of VR multi-player within a therapy domain like PMT to further develop it as a product.
- A high-level report discussing the research approach and an evaluation of each of the
- A guideline for Applied Game VR developers on do’s and don’t for applying VR in therapy.
- An online blog showing the approach and describing first results. For demonstration proposes students will support the creation of demo videos to demonstrate (re-enact) certain findings while maintaining client confidentiality.
- Exposing students at the HAN to new technology and allowing them to experience advantages and pitfalls.
- 2 Presentations about project progress
- 1 Fieldlab workshop
- General publicity for the Fieldlab and CLICKNL.
- The IP concerning the application methodologies, the workflow and best toolkit will remain with the HAN.
- The software IP remains with Improvive. The software itself is not a deliverable of this project, but will adaptations will be made to facilitate the research.
Full-body avatars allow for a large range of non-verbal communication. By providing a multi-player environment the therapist and client can share this space allowing the therapist to observe and do interventions. A VR Play environment also allows for multiple clients to share this space and do therapy as a group where this normally would not be possible (because of risks of aggression, security concerns, or organizational concerns). A virtual reality environment provides a safe space for people to express themselves. This opens up new possibilities to apply the Principles of Psycho Motoric Therapy. The core question is how can a Multi-player Virtual Reality Play Environment best be applied to support the principles of Psycho Motoric Therapy?
We can split this into sub-questions:
- . What are the (game) elements the therapist needs to interact with the clients?
- During onboarding (player enters the environment);
- During the session (game);
- When exiting the environment?
- What are the components the therapist needs to apply the model of thinking, feeling and action in VR?
- What kind of content does the therapist need in terms of environments and objects?
- What kind of toolbox does the therapist need for these actions?
- How can we introduce conflicts from the real world in the virtual world and make them meaningful?
- What is necessary to make the transfer to the real world?
- What are the key success factors for multi-client sessions?
- How can this approach support current multi-client practices?
- What kind of new approaches are possible?
- Can it work for people at different locations?
- What kind of support does a remote client need?
- How can the workflow needed to prepare and execute a client session be incorporated in the tooling?
- Are there technical artifacts that inhibit the use of a VR environment?
Contact person: Joep Kolijn
Affiliation: HAN University of Applied Sciences