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Cognitive Reframing in VR (First Resort: Early Access)

First Resort is a VR mental wellness app I worked on at BehaVR. It is currently available for free in an Early Access period on App Lab, and was recently selected as a finalist in the "Best Health Game" category by Games For Change 2023. One of the app's main functions is to teach users how to practice cognitive reframing—a key tool of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which involves challenging and restructuring distorted thoughts. I was the lead designer and one of the main artists on this project, responsible for a wide range of work, including concept development, storyboarding, art, animation, particle systems, prototyping, grayboxing, level design, gameplay design, sound design, and graphics optimization. I also wrote the dialogue for the tutorials and created shaders for interactable objects. This is the third cognitive reframing experience I have designed at BehaVR, preceded by an earlier version from an MVP, and an unrelated game called "Fireflies" that exists in earlier products such as RecoVRy.

The cognitive reframing games in First Resort progress over several chapters. In the first activity, users learn to acknowledge the feelings and behaviors that come up in response to their thoughts. They then learn about types of cognitive distortions and practice labeling their thoughts. In another activity, users challenge the accuracy of their thoughts by gathering evidence. Lastly, users identify their core beliefs, and examine if those beliefs are preventing them from achieving their goals.

The target platform for First Resort was Meta Quest and Meta Quest 2. All art assets featured are low-poly and optimized to run on a VR headset.

Learn more at:

Copyright © BehaVR, Inc.

Highlights from "Identifying Cognitive Distortions"

Animations portraying different distortion types from "Identifying Cognitive Distortions"

Highlights from "Cognitive Reframing: Gathering Evidence"

Highlights from "Cognitive Reframing: Usefulness & Core Beliefs"

Interaction design shaders that I created using Unity Shadergraph: a hologram for placing objects, an outline shader for grabbing objects, and a glowing fresnel shader for highlighting objects

I created the design and art for the lantern, including the flies and flames particle systems

Concept art of the Wisdom Tree

Concept art of the Wisdom Tree