Design for Dasein: Integrity and experience in virtual reality therapy (VRT)

In preparation for the development of the interactive thesis project, theoretical research from a variety of fields, mostly interdisciplinary, was consolidated. Remaining to be more thoroughly explored however was the potential effectiveness of the planned design, a multimodal therapeutic experience mediated by technology based on holistic health practices, especially in comparison to that of its ‘real’, physical, in-person counterpart. Visiting with practitioners of these healing modalities invests the thesis research with a sensitivity to bring to technology an authentic experience that keeps in tact the integrity of the therapy. The concept of Dasein, borrowed from Martin Heidegger (Being and Time, 1996), was investigated through an in-class residency where it was applied to technologies that are perceived as playing a pivotal role in the disengagement of users from the ‘real’ world, presumably coinciding with a lack of interpersonal communication deemed essential in personal development (Turkle, 2012). Disengagement was understood, for example, as a user feeling more connected to a virtual world rather than his or her real world, resulting in the avoidance of real world interaction.

One possible approach to address …

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