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The Man With The Violin April 30, 2012

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Watch video of the performance Pearls Before Breakfast.

From Washington Post by Gene Weingarten.

 

Instant America March 21, 2012

Instant America
Created by: OnlineGraduatePrograms.com

 

Heal With Me February 28, 2012

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 1:58 pm

I’d like to tell you about something very special I discovered recently. It is the Gateway – a portal for growth and wellness that organizes the following event: “Heal w/Me” a Free Healing Clinic for the Homeless c/o UnitedSteps & The GATEWAY”

Dec 31, 2011 at the Yahoo Center, Santa Monica, CA
In Grateful Collaboration with Numerous Gracious Practitioners from The GATEWAY and others of their own accord & United Steps and Affiliates we are connecting with the Homeless & Underprivileged on this Shared HoBo (= Homeward Bound) Journey.

10AM to 3PM, Practitioners are offering services at no charge to those without a home or funds to spare on this journey we are all on. Homeless clients have been invited and their transport is being coordinated by United Steps.  Please invite any you know or see and greet…
~ Light Snacks and Water Served for Clients as supplies last (seeking sponsors to donate more snacks and drinks) ~
~ Live Vocal Entertainment (seeking folks to fill live entertainment slots) ~

The Roster of Practitioners Rendering Specialties Includes (by the way if you or anyone you know would like to be paired up with a homeless person as a one-to-one friend, we are seeking you as well, give us a contact to book yourself as such):
1) Medical Intuition and Healing with Sarah Larsen MD http://drsarahlarsen.com/, 2) Hands on Healing and Spiritual Counseling with Olivia Bareham, 3) Reflexology with Charles Haywood, 4) Theta Healing with Regine Vavasseur  http://www.heartspaceenergyhealing.com/Theta_Healing.html, 5) Acupuncture and Allergy Treatments with Chantaal Lebay L.Ac. http://thegatewayport…, 6) Clear Light Healing with Dianne Rini www.clearlighthealing-drini.com, 7) Massage with Joey Esposito http://www.bioenergist.com/ and LeeAnn Christian, 8) Energy Healing with Nora Delgado http://www.noradelgado.com/, 9) Breathwork with Achaessa James, 10) Mental Health Counseling, Healing and Tarot Cards with Ron Holman, Ph.D., MFT holmangroup.com, 11) Bowen Therapy with Jin Quan, 12) Soul Drawing with Kayla Leung,

13) Sound Healing with Natalie Koltz http://www.nataliekoltz.com/, 14) Reconnection Healing with Danielle Duval, 15) Energy Healing with Ellany http://www.touchingbodynsoul.com/, 16) EFT and NLP with Elaine McBroom, 17) Reiki with Jennifer, 18) Trigger Point Pain Relief with Art San http://www.thepaineraser.net/Meet-Art-San.html, 19) Readings with Psychic Jude http://www.psychicjude.com/, 20) Angel Card Readings with Ellany http://www.touchingbodynsoul.com/, 21) Hand and Angel Readings and Energy Healings with Lisa Martin, 22) Energy Work with Joseph Eng http://lightworkerjoseph.com/sample-page/,  23) Many there to Befriend, All Welcome, 24) Volunteer Help: Heidi, Jack Bowman…

Questions? Call The GATEWAY / a Portal for Growth & Wellness at 310 * 479* 0430 | heart-to-heart@thegatewayportal.com Explain the role you wish to take, while also contact us by phone to finalize. Our official website is http://thegatewayportal.com/
Please enjoy viewing the love and healing on this day and monthly Heal with Me Events on

YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5nzmy0pGgM&feature=pl…

Feedback: I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of organization, practitioners, and volunteers that helped put this event together. I wanted to get a massage myself, but felt that it was more of a day of giving that receiving. I ended up realizing that I do more than just give relaxing Swedish massages. I found out that I can help heal people both mentally, psychologically , and physically by listening to their needs and giving extra attention and care to the parts of them that need healing.

I’m planning to create a resilience workshop and offer it at the next clinic and also at http://www.dwcweb.org/.

Re-posted from the Ultimate Answer http://wp.me/p1ETlZ-uM.

 

Why Volunteer on Your Career Break? February 23, 2012

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 9:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Volunteering on your career break is the act of giving your time in order to help others. But have you thought about how it is helping you, your re-entry, and your career? Most career break itineraries include some sort of volunteering. It’s a great feeling to help others around the world build their knowledge, community, or infrastructure. However, volunteering on a career break goes way beyond simply feeling good about yourself; it can be a key element to building your career when you return.

Volunteering on my career break changed the trajectory of my career and life. It was through my volunteering assignment in India that introduced me to Michaela Potter, who worked for the volunteercompany I was volunteering with. Through that friendship we discovered our passion of career break travel and were determined to bring career breaks to American society in the form of Meet, Plan, Go! When seaching for a volunteer opportunity, keep in mind that it is a two way street – don’t forget that you should be getting something out of the experience too.

You need to look for opportunities that are consistent with your skills, interests, and career.When you return, you will need to consider the best way to highlight those experiences to enhance your job search or career. Volunteering can demonstrate a commitment to character, signal your ability to accomplish a goal, or show that you are a well rounded person. It will most definitely make you stand out among other applicants.

A recent LinkedIn survey found that 41 percent of the professionals surveyed stated that when they are evaluating candidates, they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience. Twenty percent of the hiring managers surveyed agree they have made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience. Over the next two months at casual Meet, Plan, Go! meetups around the country, we will focus discussions around volunteering as part of your career break. In addition, we are providing resources for you to research programs further, prepare for volunteering, and how to account for it on your resume.

We want to make sure you are making good volunteering choices and harnessing that experience back into your career hunt when you return from your break. We kicked off this volunteering meetup theme last night in San Francisco where we heard stories of other career breakers who have volunteered and introduced people to resources such as Groundwork Opportunities, who offers free volunteering opportunities to utilize your skills. Check out our upcoming schedule of free meetups or consider hosting your own Meet, Plan, Go! meetup in your city.

Sherry Ott Meet, Plan, Go! Co-Founder

Has volunteering played an important role in your career re-entry? Share your story over on our Facebook Page“.

Re-posted from Meet, Plan, Go February 8, 2012 Newsletter

 

Lunar Tet Holiday for Poor Children January 6, 2012

The Lunar New Year is nearly upon us and the 2012 Tết Holiday in Vietnam is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever before. Here at Volunteers for Peace Vietnam Saigon Branch we are just as excited as everyone else and we want to use this year’s Tết as an opportunity to extend our outreach in Vietnam.

Project Overview

For a new year coming, Tet 2012, we would like to organize a voluntary trip to K’rông Pa, a small village in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai. We want to try and make a difference to this community (especially for children) in a variety of ways over a 2-3 day trip. Villages like K’rông Pa are often forgotten in popular society and rarely receive voluntary aid; and the local people have a very poor living condition at the moment. We are looking to raise funds to help us make a positive impact in K’rông Pa, hopefully leading to continued efforts in similar communities in the future.

There will be 3 main aspects to the trip:

  • Gift and everyday necessities donation
  • Organisation of traditional games of Tet for children
  • Personal Hygiene guidance     

Gifts: We would like to give presents to the local children in celebration of Tết. Ideally we are looking for direct donations of everyday necessities such as food, blankets, clothes, in particular socks and underwear, as well as important items like new mosquito nets and any other items you may feel are relevant to the living conditions. We understand this is not always possible and will also look to raise funds in order to purchase gifts ourselves. Everything will be spread out equally and we hope for every child to receive the same or similar gifts which emphasizes the importance of these donations. This is a great chance to enhance the living standards of these children but also the families who may be too poor to afford these crucial items.

Activities and Games: With 2 or 3 days in Buon Phum, we plan to arrange many activities for the children especially but we would like to involve as many people as possible. We will play traditional Tết games and arrange performances by the VPV volunteers involved in the project and stories around the fire etc. The most special event will be the making of ‘Bánh Chưng’. It is perhaps the most famous food associated with Tết, It is a rice cake with a square shape to represent the earth. The outer layer wraps in green banana leaves. In the middle is pork meat and mung bean to represent animals and plants on earth. It’s a special tradition and will be lots of fun for everyone involved. This will also be a great opportunity for volunteers and local people to share both experiences of living in such contrasting environments and also local customs that either group of people may find interesting.

Personal Hygiene Guidance: Perhaps the most important aspect of the trip will be a Personal Hygiene guidance for villagers to learn more about improving their cleanliness and personal health. It is so important as we hope to develop simple but crucial life skills that will benefit the children especially in later life. If we can get them to understand the significance of brushing your teeth or the most effective way to keep warm in the cooler mountain weather they will be able to avoid simple but devastating health problems that can arise as they get older. As part of the guidance we would like to offer free toiletries, like toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, toilet paper and other important accessories in hygiene. We need to raise funds in order to create pamphlets that can be distributed amongst locals as well as the amenities mentioned earlier to give out so that we can put the message into practical use for the foreseeable future.

Resources – Available and Required

Available:

  • VPV Staff
  • Local Volunteers

Needed:

As a non-profit organization it is difficult to arrange a project like this which is unrelated to everyday work and provide sufficient funds from within the organization. The fundraising efforts break down into two main areas:

Donations either in actual physical objects, gifts or items for workshop or funds which can be used by VPV to purchase these items. Donors will be made aware of the use of their contributions.

  1. Transportation costs: – there will be around 20 – 30 volunteers taking part in the project. Most are students and will have difficulty in covering transportation costs. The maximum will be 30 and the price per person is estimated around 500,000VND per person. The target transport budget will be 15m VND which will cover the maximum number of volunteers but if we do not reach capacity can be used in the same way as funds donated towards the gift giving or workshop.
  2. Ways of donation: directly at VPV office (88/1B Đào Duy Anh, ward 9, Phu Nhuan district, HCMC) from Monday to Saturday (7:00 am – 9:00 pm) (for local volunteers)
  3. Through Western Union Service / Transfer from Visa card / Pay pal /….. (for international volunteers)

Information of person in charge of fund raising and received your support:

Name: Don Hong Minh

Phone number: +84(915 767 897)

Email: saigon@vpv.vn

ID card number: 111583231

ID card day of issue: Jan 10th 2011

Bank Account: 102 2526 9503 017

SWIFT: VTCB VN VX       

Any amount of donation will be highly appreciated (5usd, 10usd,…)

VPV is a trustable organization I volunteered for in 2010. I donated money for this project two years ago and wrote in a blog post about this annual initiative of bringing food to children in the Highlands of Vietnam for Tet. If you feel like making someone happy, it is a good cause. These children live in real poverty, and your presents will brighten their lives!

 

Happy New Year 2012 December 31, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 3:00 pm
Tags: , ,

Last year I bought Russell chocolate and saved covers because they were too cute. This year I used them to create The Ultimate Answer collage as a Holiday Card. It has the happiness formula in it. In 2012 be kind to yourself and those around you! Be happy 🙂

 

Good Faith Collaboration (Part Two) December 30, 2011

I enjoyed learning about collaborative culture definitions from the book. Henry Jenkins defines participatory culture as one in which there are low barriers of engagement, support for creation and sharing, and some form of mentorship or socialization, and members believe that their contributions matter and they “feel some degree of social connection with one another”.

I agree with the author that openness and incrementalism may not be enough to create good quality content. “Wikipedia must reconcile their vision with the inescapable social reality of irritating personalities, philosophical difference and external threats”. He notes that “goodwill is not always necessary to Wikipedia’s production”.

Clay Shirky said: “Wikipedia is the product not of collectivism but of unending argumentation; the corpus grows not from harmonious thought but from constant scrutiny and emendation”.

Einbinder writes in the introduction to his critique, “since encyclopedia is a mirror of contemporary learning, it offers a valuable opportunity to examine prevailing attitudes and beliefs in a variety of fields.” Indeed, problems both in community’s culture and its content are a representation of our society.

“Thomas Mann, a librarian, argues we would be better … (know of) the pathologies that infect social organisms (ex. short-sightedness, selfishness, and ignorance are constant factors in human life), rather than celebrating the unproven presumption that technology can cure all. Wikipedia is said to favor mediocrity over expertise”.

It goes even further with this caricature: “fanatical mob producing Wikipedia exhibits little wisdom and is more like a Maoist cult of monkeys banging away on the keyboards and thumb pads of their gadgets, disturbing the noble repose of scholars and displacing high-quality content from the market place”.

I would say that any criticism should be constructive. I have no doubt that technology is capable of curing a lot of social problems; it just needs to be redesigned so that people cultivate their best qualities while using it.

Ideally, contributors should become more tolerant and compassionate in the process of collaboration. Today Wikipedia volunteers are restricted to behave with civility, but do they truly feel compassion to those with opposing views? Surely, they have a sense of purpose and connection to others, but at times Wikipedia becomes a vanity project for those proving their personal significance at the expense of others.

Georg von Krogh, in his article on “Care in knowledge creation”, identifies five dimensions relevant to the successful creation of knowledge within a community: mutual trust, active empathy, access to help, lenience in judgment, and courage. Benkler and Nissenbaum argue that “commons-based peer-production” entails virtues that are both self-regarding” (ex. autonomy, independence, creativity) and ”other-regarding” (ex. generosity, altruism, camaraderie, cooperation, and civic virtue).

The author says that “the central concern seems to be how we can conceive of our humanity in working together and its implications”. His definition of good faith is “assuming the best of others, striving for patience, civility, and humor”, and Wikipedia is trying to act with it.

From 2004 Letter from the Founder: “None of us is perfect in these matters; such is the human condition. But each of us can try every day, in our editing, in our mailing posts, in our irc chats, and in our private emails, to reach for a higher standard than the Internet usually encourages, a standard of rational benevolence and love”.

Personally, I think that Wikipedia is a great invention and a great resource, but it is just the beginning of an even better model of gathering knowledge and resolving misunderstandings and conflicts. Let’s call it 1.0 version where people work together towards one great goal. It is a good start. Next version would align personal goals of the members with community’s goals, and help them rediscover and develop themselves in the process of compassionate creation.

Re-posted from The Ultimate Answer

 

Good Faith Collaboration (Part One) December 29, 2011

I recently finished reading Good Faith Collaboration book by Joseph Reagle. I was very curious about this book as not only it describes Wikipedia’s culture but also talks about its historical roots and contemporary criticism. Wikipedia is around for almost 11 years. So what is it?

First, there are actual Wikipedia pages and edits to them, as well as the meta pages documenting the policies and norms of Wikipedia itself. Second there is the talk/discussion page associated with each article. Third, there are mailing lists on which most abstract and difficult issues are often discussed. There are Wikipedia Signpost and Wikizine newsletter, other community forums such as popular “Village Pump”, and various Wikipedia related blogs, aggregators and podcasts. Fifth and finally, there are physical spaces in which some community members interact.

But mainly, Wikipedia is a snapshot of the community’s continuing conversation. Wikipedia culture encourages contributors to treat and think of others well, hence the name of the book. There are awards for best contributors like a “barnstar” (image placed on another’s user page to recognize merit). These awards are part of the Kindness Campaign and are meant to promote civility and WikiLove. There are more than 200 laws/norms by which Wikipedia contributors abide, including the guidelines of “Assume Good Faith” (AGF), “Please Do Not Bite the Newcomers” and “Neutral Point of View”.

This idea could be traced back to the beginning of the twentieth century, in particular Paul Otlet’s Universal Repertory and H.G. Wells’s proposal for a World Brain. Wells proposed the reference work compilers would be joined by world scholars and international technocrats to produce a resource that every student might easily access, in a personal, inexpensive, and portable format. This collection of the world’s intellect was envisioned to yield a greater sense of unity: wells hoped that such an encyclopedia could solve the “jig-saw puzzle” of global problems by bringing all the “mental wealth of our world into something like a common understanding”; this would be more than an education al resource, it would be an institution of global mediation.

As Wells said, “Without a World Encyclopedia to hold men’s minds together in a common interpretation of reality, there is no hope whatever of anything but an accidental and transitory alleviation to any of our world troubles.” I completely agree with the way Wells stated the problem. Additionally I question the transitory life cycle of one person’s knowledge. That knowledge must be reused even if the person is gone, as he/she may have insight into some solutions that are not easily generated, but the mankind desperately needs them.

One of the topics discussed in the book is who can really contribute. In Wikipedia’s predecessor Nupedia only educated and reasonable people were able to make final edits. Unfortunately, in my opinion, we often confuse formal school education and life experience, as one can be a PhD but uneducated in the matters of humanity. I am also not fond of the neutral point of view, as to be politically correct is not the same as being sincere and true. I would personally be more interested in hearing polar opinions to understand other people’s perspective and how they come to their conclusion.  Only when people know of completely opposite opinions on the same topic then can they start a conversation to reconcile their differences.  Having several versions of the most arguable topics is better than one bland version. Maybe views from the haters, the lovers and the neutrals.  People need to learn Dalai Lama’s realistic approach, value every person’s input and become compassionate. Only then we will be able to understand our humanity.

It seems to me that the primary goal of Wikipedia is compiling knowledge, while finding compassion is somehow secondary.

I agree about verifiability policy that “the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth”. If the material has already been published by a reliable source, not whether we think it is true. Even when it comes to voting, majority has more power over minority. Majority usually represents the most convenient opinion of the culture it represents. There should be international SMEs participating or at least rating the content in terms of trust ability. Otherwise there will always be an issue of quality due to the lack of expertise and diversity.

Here we come to another problem I see here – how globally disconnected are different language Wikipedia sites from each other. Language barrier is still present in the Wikipedia structure, which leads both to duplicated efforts (when the same articles are written separately in different languages) and the lack of content in one language when it truly exists in another language. It would add diversity if articles from different languages were swapped and became international. We would create a better version of reality if people of all nations worked on the content together, not separately. During search, there should be instant translation of all related content from other languages.

Finally, it feels that Wikipedia is not a hub of innovative views limited by its “no original content” norm, which means inclusion of referenced work only. Wikipedia is a repetition of what others said. Most importantly, it results in the loss of individuality and creativity both for their contributors and readers.

Today contributors appear to be simply compilers and hunters for good content. They are assemblers, not the creators. Everyone should be able to speak up and come up with new knowledge and solutions to the world problems. Only then will Wells’ statement become reality:  “Our world has complex and urgent problems that need to be addressed. We believe there are innovative ways for solving them together online.”

Re-posted from The Ultimate Answer

 

Immortal Hacker Challenge (Part Three) December 28, 2011

Dear hackers of the world,

It is not superpowers but traits of character that need to be developed by means of avatars and immersion. People like to solve problems especially when they are virtual. By trying different choices we will learn what leads to pain and suffering and what to do in real life if similar circumstances occur. The player will develop understanding, resilience and compassion.

There should be every day scenarios for people, like getting laid off after working for the same company for many years, not having savings and not being able to find a job for a while… What does avatar do and experience? Or racial – one white guy has to live in all black community or one black guy in all Asian community, etc. or to participate in religious services of other religions…  Learn about other cultures and their customs adn traditions. Go live in a foreign country for a year with no local language skills and being illegal. Become a virtual refugee!

It is important to create problem and suffering simulation both for existing and future scenarios. The impact will be tremendous.

Imagine that virtual Alcoholic Anonymous game was translated to all languages and distributed around the world, how many people would stop drinking heavily? Will alcoholism rates go down and people become happier?

Imagine that all young people have access to video games that teach what to do in difficult situations. A teen becomes pregnant or tries drugs for the first time to impress someone, the person creates a habit and starts eating fast food every day and gets ill, someone becomes a soldier and goes to war, followed by PTSD, etc. 

Suddenly a computer virus sounds lame. You can be immortal if you create something that impacts people’s lives positively. See Steve Pavlina’s story Living Virtues below:

“After I reached adulthood and began seriously pondering the question of how to live, the first major stopping point was essentially where Aristotle left off. In my early and mid-20s, I spent a lot of time working on living virtuously. I saw living the best possible life as becoming a person of virtue: to live with honor, integrity, courage, compassion, etc. I listed out the virtues I wanted to attain and even set about inventing exercises to help myself develop them. Benjamin Franklin did something very similar, as I read in his autobiography, and each week he chose to focus on one particular virtue in order to develop his character.

Oddly, there was a particular computer game I absolutely fell in love with during this time — Ultima IV. To date I would have to say it is still my favorite game of all time. In this role-playing game you are the Avatar, a seeker of truth, and your goal is not to destroy some enemy but rather to attain what is called the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom. In order to achieve this goal, you must develop your character in the eight virtues. All of these virtues derive from the eight possible combinations of truth, love, and courage as follows:

Truth = Honesty
Love = Compassion
Courage = Valor
Truth + Love = Justice
Truth + Courage = Honor
Love + Courage = Sacrifice
Truth + Love + Courage = Spirituality
The absence of Truth, Love, and Courage is Pride, the opposite of which is Humility.

I found this system of virtues absolutely brilliant, especially coming from a game. Years later when I finally met Richard Garriott, designer of the Ultima series, at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3), I asked him how he came up with this system and how he ended up choosing these virtues. He told me it started with brainstorming a long list and noticing patterns in how the virtues related to each other.

As strange as it is that I got these insights from a game, I still think of living virtuously in much the same way today, where these eight virtues come about through the overlapping sets of truth, love, and courage. For the combination of all three virtues though, I feel that “integrity” is a better fit than “spirituality.” Ultima V went on to explore the opposite of these, the vices which can be derived from falsehood, hatred, and cowardice. Unfortunately I feel the Ultima series really went downhill since then and completely lost its soul — I would have loved to have seen the virtue idea taken even farther”.

Re-posted from The Ultimate Answer

 

Immortal Hacker Challenge (Part Two) December 26, 2011

Avatar based recovery. Patient has access to his data and an interesting ability to track goals and milestones. It is also efficient not to have paperwork which saves time.

Janus of Santa Cruz developed drug and alcohol treatment, which includes clinical assessment, goal setting, VR training and support. Digital registration, online wellness forms and presence questionnaire. They conducted a study with 35 adults, 8 weeks protocol, non-compliance and relapses happen. Participants had to play a game daily, which formed good rituals (habits) and relationships. 

Ivana Steigman, who formely worked at InWorld Solutions, told us about Thrive Research projects. In one research they had a sponsor (coach), clinician, basic assessment administrator, patient. They had reward contract and electronic forms. Link to thrive points, incentives – coffee, gas, grocery. There is a dashboard, where they had to check in daily – visual representation of where you are. The six domains of well-being: Physical, Social, Affective, Cognitive, Vocational, and Spiritual.

NeuroSim Lab makes use of virtual worlds to assess the ways in which the structure and function of the brain relate to specific psychological processes and overt behaviors.

Sim Coach, the goal is to create an experience that will motivate troops and their significant others to take the first step – to empower themselves with regard to their healthcare (e.g., psychological health and traumatic brain injury). There was a virtual agent, former US Army soldier,  who told his story about PTSD and encouraged audience to read some recommended reading and talk to someone about their traumatic experiences (he gave free numbers to call and suggested other resources). That was cool!

Virtually Better, treat a variety of anxiety disorders such as Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Specific Phobias.

There were other individuals and organizations working in that area (Patrick Bordnick, Virtual Patent lab, VRPsych Lab, etc.) and creating new technology to help patients overcome drug and substance abuse, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, etc. There are video chat rooms where you can see a bar and people tempt you to use alcohol but you learn to overcome urges in simulated environments. They modify level of urges to build your resilience.

My favorite was a virtual meeting for AA members. You as a member pick avatar and go to live sessions with other member’s avatars from different locations. You would then discuss your issues and do the same thing as you would do in a real meeting. What really works is the power of sharing and social support.

Read more about this session from Avatar-Based Recovery Using Immersive Virtual Environments article and another session from Innovative Technologies for Psychological Intervention, Consultation and Training article.

I also attended a session about Innovation and opportunities in mobile interventions for addictions, they were discussing various mobile apps. At the exhibition hall I saw a booth advertising Stress Tracker app, which is based in Needham, MA. Another session was about national tele centers providing psychological services to patients in remote areas by means of online CBTs and video conferencing. See another article about the UK approach.

It was mentioned that American psychologists are still hesitant to use Skype or Facetime out of fear to be completely replaced by technology. Les Posen from Australia told an incredible story about government support (subsidies) for depression-cure sites and tools and as a result hundreds of organizations had sprung across Australia: Beacon, e-couch, Mood gym, anxiety online, etc. They all deliver e-health services and strategy online.

Re-posted from The Ultimate Answer

 

 
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