a pocket therapist for anxiety
Colleen K. Macklin
Katherine MoriwakiWriting and Research
Barbara B Morris
Sessions is a therapeutic tool that combines alternative forms of therapy with the serenity of the ocean. Although research has proven that our realities are governed by the mind and can be altered as a result of certain anxiety disorders, it has also has proven that the mind desires clarity and can adapt to other natural rhythms if stimulated. Water has been linked to providing mental clarity throughout history – from ancient Roman/Greek bathhouses, to modern day beach/lake vacations. Through creating a mobile tool to combine proven forms of therapy, comprehensive biometric data, and a meditational retreat for over stimulation, Sessions is the pocket therapist for anxiety.
Sessions has two methods of use: everyday usage, allowing people with anxiety disorders to have access to treatments without a visit to a doctor’s office, and with a professional mental health provider.
During everyday use, this application takes a mobile form and requires the user to wear an activity/biometric tracker to acquire anxiety levels throughout the day. As the user’s anxiety level begins to rise to a designated threshold, the user is notified to take a deep breath, allowing for him/her to be aware of their increasing level before it becomes a full-fledged attack. When the user is calmer, they will see a calmer display of waves, and as anxiety grows the waves get choppier. While the thought of someone seeing rougher waves seems like it may be more anxiety provoking, the use of light sounds of softer rain and water a calming constant.
When used with a mental health provider, equipment such as EEG’s are used in addition to the accumulated data from every day use, to offer a more in depth and comprehensive treatment.
Together, as a mobile clinical and mobile application, Sessions offers the user a comprehensive view of their own progress by wearing popular non-intrusive tracking devices without changing their daily routines. Currently, Sessions is being tested with a small group of individuals who have anxiety disorders ranging from PTSD to generalized anxiety.
Barbara Compagnoni is an east coast surfer, game designer and creative technologist. She has taken a unique space within the surfing community at the intersection of technology, biology and psychology; She investigates why we love the ocean and its waves, and believes that the ocean's helpful benefits can be applied therapeutically.