The Timeline: A Qualitative Study Exploring Therapeutic Experiences in an Immersive Interactive Virtual Environment (IIVE) for Trauma Mental Healthcare

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Abstract

When facilitating mental health interventions, therapists typically involve clients in discussion within a room containing seating and a table. We argue that digital technologies can be leveraged to encourage physiological, multisensory experiences for users to work through their challenges. In the context of trauma in mental healthcare, where the body’s involvement can play a critical role in the recovery journey, such an approach can offer potential in altering the dynamic of how interventions are delivered and received. This infers a client-led process where environment and features become inclusive to a holistic treatment pathway. We developed an intervention called The Timeline, situated in an immersive interactive virtual environment (IIVE). The iterative process was informed by interviews with 12 “Experts by Profession”, as frontline mental health workers with an average engagement of 16 years. We then invited 12 “Experts by Experience”, with lived understanding of a range of trauma, to trial and evaluate the system at a UK-based hospital. We report on data from participants across both studies, evidencing how The Timeline, as bespoke content, could lead to participatory choice and personalized control in the context of digital therapy. Finally, we discuss how IIVEs could become a new platform towards a more integrative therapeutic delivery in mental healthcare.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordiCHI ‘22 Conference (CHI ’22), Aarhus, Denmark. Participative Computing for Sustainable Futures. October 8-12, 2022
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherACM
ISBN (Electronic)9781450396998
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Jun 2022

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