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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Psychotherapy in The Digital Age: The Integration of Online Identities in the Therapeutic Process
by Aizenstat, Alia, M.A., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2018, 73; 10749644
Abstract (Summary)

The Digital Age has brought to light emerging individual, social, and cultural changes that impact how mental health practitioners should approach psychotherapy. As techno-humanistic values permeate society, this thesis explores how online identities have been and can be integrated into the psychotherapeutic process through three primary stages of therapy: diagnosis, assessment, and treatment. Utilizing a hermeneutic methodology, this research explores and defines content spanning the digital world; artificial intelligence; virtual, mixed, and augmented realities; what an online identity is; and how online identities develop individually and collectively. Two overarching research findings emerged: (1) the blurring of online and offline realities and (2) that online identities have their own social and cultural context. Within these findings, new suggested clinical applications of how to incorporate online identities into diagnosis, assessment, and treatment modalities are proposed, most notably through the author's original contribution of the Virtual Identities Integration Therapy Model.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Elliott, Michael
Commitee: Elliot, Jemma, Jacobson, Gioia
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Counseling Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Counseling Psychology, Developmental psychology, Psychology, Web Studies
Keywords: Avatar, Digital world, Identity development, Internet addiction, Online identity, Virtual identity
Publication Number: 10749644
ISBN: 978-0-355-86853-1
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