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Psychotherapy with virtual pet agents-the PSY-AAAT prototype system

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2 Author(s)
Ookita, S.Y. ; Graduate Sch. of Media & Governance, Keio Univ., Kanagawa, Japan ; Tokuda, H.

We propose a Cyber-Therapy Model: a therapy model to be applied in the virtual community. We have implemented a prototype system PSY-AAAT: Psychological Animal Agent Assisted Therapy (si-'at) based on this Cyber-Therapy Model. The goal is to design a compelling Cyber-Therapy Model, that involves the psychological therapy of single and multiple identity users and create an effective therapy system based on the model. The PSY-AAAT prototype system converts the user's psychological illness into an animal agent. The therapy method reflected into the agent is the Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). The animal agent becomes an indirect personal therapist to the user to lighten the psychological overload of the user. The user indirectly engages in a cooperative process with the animal agent. The user is educated about his/her illness through the caring/therapy process of their animal agent. Therapy is performed without the conscious awareness of the user. Both the user and agent initiate communication, monitor events, and perform tasks. As a result, we have designed a Cyber-Therapy Model, and have implemented the PSY-AAAT prototype system based on the model. The system has successfully converted an existing real world therapy method into the virtual community. We have laid an example that physical, and stereotypical restrictions on therapy are possible to overcome if put to practice in a virtual community

Published in:

Computer Human Interaction, 1998. Proceedings. 3rd Asia Pacific

Date of Conference:

15-17 Jul 1998