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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Friday, August 19, 2011

SW 2.0 Column Sneak Peek - Virtual Clinical Practice

Folks, I'm really excited to be profiling Nancy Smyth, LCSW, Ph.D., and Mike Langlois, LICSW. Both Nancy and Mike practice what is commonly called virtual social work or virtual clinical practice. They both use a variety of computer games and interactive online spaces, such as Second Life, in their social work practice.

For example, here's Nancy talking about the power of virtual placemaking with the International Transgender Hate Crimes and Suicide Memorial in Second Life:
The power of virtual immersive platforms becomes really clear when you find a place in a virtual world that really uses the environment effectively. The International Transgender Hate Crimes and Suicide Memorial provides an excellent example of such a space. To start, the memorial is a peaceful, visually appealing place: a beautiful building and surrounding green space, with the sound of waves crashing at the shore. The dark granite walls, reminiscent of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, lend a somber tone to the space and the feeling of being in a protected enclave.

Upon entering the building you encounter an alter filled with pink and blue candles. This is the memorial for transgendered people who have died from suicide. Each candle has a name associated with it and when you click on the candle a description of what happened to that person comes up in the chat. I clicked on quite a few of the candles: the tragedy of these deaths comes through loud and clear. Nearby the altar is a box where you can submit a request to light a candle for someone.

Read the rest of Nancy's post here.

Here's Mike explaining Gaming Affirmative Therapy:

You can watch Mike talk more about gaming affirmative therapy here.

What do you want to learn about virtual clinical practice? In what ways can these practices help our clients, or respond to our clients already using these technologies in new ways? How can social workers incorporate virtual clinical social work into their practice?

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