John Francis Leader

Mixed Reality Therapy

Mixed reality therapy (MRT) is considered, in this thesis, as the application to psychological therapy of mixed reality (MR)—or the recognition of physical, virtual and imaginary reality conditions. It is suggested that this perspective can help to make the therapeutic process more extended, experiential and effective. Discussion is divided into three parts. The first part considers the context of MRT, proposing a non-normative and aetiologically-distributed approach which recognises the implicit interplay of reality conditions, and advocates that therapy is undertaken as a form of narrative intervention. The second part considers the theoretical basis of MRT, rooting many of the reasons why therapy is attended in the category errors made between reality conditions—a series of which are illustrated. The therapeutic environment and roles within the process are also considered, and experiential load is suggested as a fluid way of accounting for MR. In the third part, three prototype practical applications of MRT are discussed: a Land Rover installation; an MR therapy clinic; and a reification software platform. The role of bridging, and the use of affordance arrays, are explored. It is concluded that MRT is neither a form of therapy nor something new, but a framework from which it might make sense to view the process of psychological therapy in order to enhance its development in collaboration with a variety of creative and technical professionals.

Prof. Fred Cummins
Research Group: 
UCD Cognitive Science Programme