A recent message about avatars came up, which got me thinking: can an avatar help treat mental illness or other conditions?
If you are on this site, you (essentially) have an avatar. An avatar can be described as an "alter ego" or more simply as the picture in your profile. There is a virtual space called "second life" where you can literally create another life for yourself via an alter ego: you can change genders, hair color, profession...you can be anything you want to be!
So, with the invention of online counseling, wellness websites, virtual support groups...I assume we are not far from avatars being used in a therapy setting. If you have depression, for example: can you create the person you want to be online? Can you create situations in which you succeed, are assertive, think positively...and therefore, help treat some of your depressive symptoms? (of course, I realize depression is so much more than having a positive outlook: this is merely for "argument's sake").
Of course, with any new idea, comes a consequence: the more time spend in your "second life" with virtual people and virtual situations, the less time you spend with real people and real situations.
What do you think? Is there a place in the alternative medicine world for an avatar to help treat mental illness? How could that work?
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