Workshops

To improve the knowledge and facilitate the discovery of new applications of CyberPsychology and CyberTherapy, CYPSY 25 organizes on Sunday June 21th, different three-hour practical workshops. They require a separate registration. Each one costs 80 Euro for conference participants, 160 euro for non-conference participants.

Sunday 21 June, Morning: (h. 10 AM)

  1. Designing Positive Technologies
  2. How to integrate New Technologies in Psychotherapy: Hands-on Introduction for Researchers and Clinicians
  3. Virtual Reality and New Technologies in Clinical Neuropsychology

Sunday 21 June, Afternoon: (h. 2 PM)

  1. Body Illusions in Clinical Applications: Pain, Motor Disorders and Psychiatric Interventions
  2. Virtual Reality for the Assessment and Treatment of Eating Disorders and Obesity

A detailed description of each workshop is provided below:


Title: Designing Positive Technologies

Organizer: Andrea Gaggioli and Alice Chirico

Introduction

Positive Technology is an emergent topic in cyberpsychology that seeks to understand how interactive technologies can be used in evidence-based well-being interventions. This research area results from the integration of Positive Psychology – the scientific study of the conditions that make people and organizations thrive – and the design of interactive systems and applications. The final goal is to design e-experiences that support positive human functioning, strengths, personal empowerment at both individual and group level. Smartphones, wearable devices, virtual/augmented reality, social media, and the internet offer a wealth of useful tools and resources to support psychological interventions that facilitate positive emotions, resilience, personal growth, creativity, and social connectedness. However, the range of technologies that can be used for this purpose is steadily growing and potentially extends to robotics, artificial intelligence, and neuro-technologies.

Aim of the Workshop: This workshop provides an overview about the state of the art of research in positive technology and offers possible directions to guide the design of future applications and services in this area. Participants will be provided with practical methodological guidelines/tools for the design, development, and validation of digital experiences that promote positive change through pleasure, flow, meaning, competence, and positive relationships. 

Workshop Structure

  • Identify research-based approaches to developing e-experiences for positive change;
  • Explore what we mean by digital interventions in positive psychology and examine what skills are needed to design and validate positive technology applications;
  • Understand key methodological steps in designing and evaluating positive technologies;
  • Explore the most promising research directions in positive technology.
  • Practicum: Compile a positive technology design toolkit.

Title: How to integrate New Technologies in Psychotherapy: Hands-on Introduction for Researchers and Clinicians

Organizer: Javier Fernández Alvarez

Introduction

Psychotherapy is a relational treatment in which at least one therapist and one client seeking help for a mental health problem are involved. It is widely agreed that psychotherapy entails both technical and common factors. Despite the existence of different therapeutic schools, all of them build a set of techniques in order to achieve therapeutic change. Hence, there is no psychotherapy without technology. But given the interpersonal nature of psychotherapy, is there remaining place for new digital technologies, such as mobile phones, virtual reality, sensors or the internet? A fundamental assumption of this workshop relies upon the idea that within the broad movement of psychotherapy, the incorporation of new digital technologies is a relevant leg that should not be undermined. Our suggestion is that not only is there place for integration, but moreover technological developments can boost our understanding of how and for whom therapy works (for researchers!) and they can potentiate our delivery of routine psychotherapy (for clinicians!).

Aim of the workshop: The workshop is designed both for researchers and clinicians interested in clinical psychology and specifically in psychotherapy. We will provide researchers with practical ideas and concrete examples on how to make use of the existing technologies to answer different questions of the process and outcome of psychological treatments. Besides, we will discuss the ways in which they can be applied to routine practice.

Workshop structure:

  • Which technologies do exist? An overview of existing technologies and the main affordances of each of them will be presented
  • How can clinical and psychotherapy researchers harness the existing technologies?
  • How can researchers decide which technology fits better for their projects?
  • How can clinicians decide among the ocean of apps and technological offers?
  • Is it feasible to use them in clinical practice? How?
  • Practicum: Specific examples will be addressed like the development and use of virtual environments for exposure, the use of mobile phones for monitoring and feedback of clients, the prescription of apps for intersession homework or the incorporation of sensors for the assessment of patients.
  • Practicum: A case study using virtual reality for social anxiety disorder.

Title: Virtual Reality and New Technologies in Clinical Neuropsychology

Organizer: Elisa Pedroli

Introduction

One of the most promising solutions to improve the quality of neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitation in clinical practice is the use of Virtual Reality (VR). Using this technology the neuropsychological practice can become more involving, generalizable, and ecological. This improvement is possible thanks to its ability to measure behavior in valid, safe, and controlled environments in an objective and automatic way. Also, VR provides a unique medium suited to the achievement of several requirements for effective rehabilitation intervention: repetitive practice, feedback about performance, and motivation to endure practice. Specifically, using VR it is also possible to drive and control exercises for patient rehabilitation within a functional, purposeful and motivating context. The presence of a dynamic learning also may increase engagement of the patients. On the other side, a VR-based assessment allows us to understand how patients behave in daily-life activity, instead of only analyze a small part of a complex constructs. A mixed approach may conduct the clinicians to a deeper knowledge of patients.

Aim of the workshop: The main aim of the present workshop is to provide further knowledge about the methodology and use of new technology for neuropsychological applications. Specifically, we will analyze the last technology devices in order to understand the pro and cons for the clinical practice. Then we critically analyzed some of the available tools related to specific neuropsychological deficit.

Workshop structure:

  • Theorical background about virtual reality (sense of presence, UX, …)
  • The hardwares available and their cost
  • Use of VR in clinical applications for neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitation
  • Practicum: Test some device and critical analysis
  • Practicum: Brainstorming by groups about the implementation of new methodology and protocols.

Title: Body illusions in clinical applications: Pain, Motor Disorders and Psychiatric Interventions

Organizer: Marta Matamala Gomez

Introduction

Body illusions (BI) have been defined as the perceptual illusion of being in another body, or an object, physically differing of the real body in terms of size, location and ownership. Through BI is possible to experience an out of body experience, feeling the own self outside the limits of the physical body), and embodied in a fake body part, or even in a full fake body. BI had been widely used in the field of neuroscience and clinical neuroscience directed to the understanding of body representation in the brain, and to study some body representation distortions or clinical conditions such as pain experience in healthy subjects. However, in the recent years more researchers and clinical researches have been using body illusions in clinical populations with distorted body representations because of their clinical conditions. Further, the development of the technology paved the way to the use of new technologies to induce BI such as mirrors, videos or virtual reality.

Aim of the workshop: The main aim of the present workshop is to provide further knowledge about the methodology and use of body illusions for clinical applications. Specifically, we will review the bibliographical background about body illusions, the methodology behind the induction of body illusions, types of body illusions, and different systems to induce BI. Further, through this workshop we aim to encourage clinicians to introduce the use body illusions interventions by using simple and low-cost technology systems in clinical practice.

Workshop structure:

  • Theorical background about body illusions:
  • What body illusions are
  • Types of body illusions
  • Methodology to induce body illusions: rubber limb, mirrors or virtual reality
  • How to assess body illusions
  • Use of body illusion in clinical applications for: 1) psychological and psychiatric interventions, 2) pain management, and 3) motor disorders.
  • Brainstorming by groups about the implementation of new methodology strategies to asses body illusions.
  • Practicum: Test the induction of body illusions using different set-up such as a fake rubber hand, a mirror, or using immersive virtual reality systems.

Title: Virtual Reality in the Assessment and Treatment of Eating Disorders and Obesity

Organizers: Giuseppe Riva and Clelia Malighetti

Introduction

Since the late 1990s the use of virtual reality (VR) has expanded in the field of mental disorders. During this time, several VR-based applications have been developed for the treatment of eating disorders (ED) and obesity. Both these pathologies involve disturbances related to eating behavior, weight, emotion regulation and body image. Although effective and well-established protocols are now available for the treatment of ED and obesity, relapses are frequent and a proportion of patients do not improve after intervention. In this context, VR has been shown to be a useful technology for enhancing traditional cognitive-oriented therapies.

Aim of the workshop: The main aim of the present workshop is to provide further knowledge about the methodology and use of virtual reality for the assessment and treatment of eating disorders and obesity. Specifically, we will review the rationale about the clinical use of VR and the different VR approaches used for assessment and treatment of obesity and eating disorders that is based on theory-driven psychological treatment techniques.First, VR can reduce eating-related anxiety during and after exposure to virtual food (cue exposure), helping to disrupt the reconsolidation of adverse, food-related memories. Second, a recent neuroscientific model of body image disturbances – the Allocentric Lock Theory – suggested that eating disorders may be associated with impairment in the ability to update a stored, negative allocentric (offline) representation of one’s body with real-time (online/egocentric), perception-driven inputs. The addition of VR sensory training to unlock the body memory (body image rescripting protocol) can improved the efficacy of CBT.

Workshop structure:

  • Theorical background about the clinical use of VR
  • Theorical background about the use of CBT in the treatment of eating disorders and obesity
  • Analysis of the results of existing randomized controlled trials using VR in the treatment of these pathologies
  • What is VR cue exposure
  • What is VR emotional rescripting
  • What is VR body swapping
  • Practicum: Test the different protocols using immersive virtual reality systems.