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ERIC Number: ED539575
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 177
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2671-4899-5
Applications of the Helping Relationship in Multi-User Virtual Environments: An Exploration of Counseling from Practitioners' Perspectives
Witt, Karl Jerome
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
This study explores the perceptions of professional counselors who provide avatar-based services in multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) and their descriptions of those services. Using a virtual micro-ethnographic design, the principal investigator interviewed counselors (N=5) licensed or certified to practice in their geographic location about their professional use of the MUVE Second Life. The sample consisted of an African-American woman, three Caucasian women, and a Caucasian man, based in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, respectively. Additional information was gathered through interactions with the environment and impressions from fieldwork recorded in a research journal. Qualitative analysis based upon the work of Strauss and Corbin (1998) yielded four primary themes and nine subthemes. The primary themes denote the immersive experience inherent in virtual worlds, the conditions for success in counseling via avatar, the practice of MUVE counseling, and the pioneering spirit inherent in these activities. While avatar-based therapy parallels other forms of distance counseling in many respects, such as greater depth in briefer time, increased access for clients and clinicians, and therapeutic similarity to face-to-face interactions, MUVEs provide an immersive experience beyond other forms of audiovisual stimulation and an augmented sense of presence. These allow stronger links between experiences inside and outside MUVEs, innovative methods for self-exploration, new manifestations of concerns, and expanded therapeutic approaches. Prerequisite skills, client screening, and ethical and legal concerns are also among selected findings. This study contributes to the general knowledge base of distance counseling and lays the foundation for future research into avatar-based counseling. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Netherlands; United Kingdom; United States