Thursday, April 10, 2014

Real Life, Virtual Life: Real Challenges and Real Opportunities

It is a frequently portrayed stereotype: a rather sad loner in the basement with headphones and a computer, living a virtual life in a virtual world because “real life” is just too hard.

Colleen Crary, M.A. (Anya Ibor in Second Life®) is the executive director and founder of the nonprofit Fearless Nation. She will address mental health and quality of life in virtual worlds and beyond at the upcoming April 26, 2014 Mental Health Symposium. The Symposium is sponsored by Virtual Ability, Inc., and will bring together researchers, educators, clinicians, and experts representing a variety of backgrounds.

Ms. Crary will bring her expertise and experience in educating, supporting, and advocating for the rights of people who have experienced psychological trauma to her presentation “Creating a Vibrant Life: Lessons from Adversity.”  For her, and for so many, virtual worlds offer an extension of our real life, not an alternative. People can improve the quality of their current existence in any world by learning from those who have triumphed over adversity.

“People can enhance their lives, create a ‘vibrant life,’ by embracing opportunities found in life’s adversity,” she notes.  We can, in both real life and virtual life, uncover “hidden opportunities in life’s darkest moments, and start the journey from ‘bitter’ to ‘better.’”

“New research shows some surprising and very positive directions in quality of life enhancement,” Ms. Crary explains. Even people who have been traumatized are able to turn their lives around “to embrace a more creative and satisfying existence, free of victim-hood and self-pity.”

Ms. Crary, a doctoral candidate in Psychology at Walden University, has her Masters in Forensic Psychology from the prestigious Chicago School. She has brought her expertise in psychological trauma and dealing with adversity to her work with the military and law enforcement communities. She is a long-time participant in virtual worlds, and understands how connecting with people virtually can bring profound meaning to life.

Virtual Ability is pleased to welcome Colleen Crary, and a number of other experts and researchers, to the 2014 Mental Health Symposium. The Symposium will be held in Second Life®.

This international professional conference offers a variety of opportunities for learning and for personal and professional growth. It is free, ADA accessible, and open to the public.

Please, consider joining us on April 26, 2014 to learn about:
  •    Insights from Research: Depression among Older Adults
  •    Employment Equality Through Accommodation and Self-Advocacy
  •    Well-being Among Persons at Risk of Psychosis: The Role of Self-Labeling, Shame, and Stigma Stress
  •    Super-good: Why People Serious About Addiction Recovery can become “Weller than Well”
  •    The Role of Counseling in Quality of Life and How Counselors are Exploring Virtual Service Delivery
  •    A Healing Space Built with Veterans in Mind: Virtual Worlds and Psychological Health
  •    Creating a Vibrant Life: Lessons from Adversity

Sessions start at 7 am PDT and will be held at The Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island Second Life®.

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