Psychother Res. 2023 Oct 17:1-14. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2023.2270139. Online ahead of print.
ABSTRACTObjective This study compared metaverse counseling with in-person counseling, using in-person counseling as a comparison group. To achieve this, we assessed whether metaverse counseling, a novel treatment approach, is comparable to traditional in-person counseling. Method: A total of 60 participants voluntarily participated in the study. Among the participants, 28 preferred in-person counseling, whereas 32 selected metaverse counseling as their preferred treatment option. Results and Conclusion: The findings indicated no statistically significant differences in the psychological symptom change patterns between the two counseling modalities. Both metaverse and in-person counseling demonstrated a common pattern of reduced symptom levels from pre-to post-session (Metaverse counseling Cohen’s d = 1.04, In-person counseling Cohen’s d = .62), which remained stable from post-session to follow-up regardless of the chosen counseling modality. Furthermore, the study revealed that the metaverse counseling group exhibited a higher level of working alliances than the in-person counseling group. Additionally, there was a slight tendency toward higher levels of counseling satisfaction in the metaverse counseling group than in the in-person counseling group. The results of this study support the use of synchronous metaverse programs to treat college students. The implications and limitations of this study are discussed. (195 words).