Citation (APA Style): Ranjbartabar, H., & Richards, D. (2016). A virtual emotional freedom therapy practitioner (Demonstration). Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Autonomous Agents & Multiagent Systems (AAMAS), 1471—1473. Retrieved from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2937216
The role of virtual humans in a range of health scenarios, including therapy and counseling, are being explored. To help people in managing their emotional health this research project novelly investigates the value of a virtual practitioner to deliver the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT, also known as the Tapping Method, is a kind of psychological acupressure technique to optimize emotional and physical health. Significantly, we compare two different types of virtual EFT therapists: one that seeks to exhibit empathetic behavior with another that delivers the therapy in a neutral manner. An initial online semi-interactive study with 37 participants reported benefits for both therapists from baseline emotion, and these improvements increased with a subsequent session. The empathic agent delivered slight but non-significant improvements but did not achieve a higher level of rapport with the human.