Frequently asked questions
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About the ProReal platform
It helps with communications - people find new insights and express their thoughts and feelings using virtual world technology
The ProReal software is an immersive, virtual-world technology platform that helps people create a visual representation of how they experience a situation, explore different perspectives and futures and solve problems. Clients enter a secure, virtual landscape and add avatars and props to create representations of real-world scenarios. It is a digital tool that can be used in a range of organisations and sectors by trained professionals.
Professionals from a range of sectors from managers to business coaches and clinicians to counsellors.
No. Although it is built using 3D gaming technology it is not a game. Whilst it can be fun to use, there are no levels or tasks to complete and no one gets hurt! Once clients use the software, they quickly realise that the rural landscape is a place designed for reflection.
It depends on how you’re planning on using it. Click here for more info.
David Tinker is the co-founder of ProReal who has worked as a development coach and consultant for 20 years and trained in sociodrama, coaching and facilitation. For many years he’d noticed that groups quickly accessed insight when the way they understood and experienced the world could be made visible, and when participants stood in the shoes of another or stood back to view a scenario from a distance. He explored the thinking of Moreno and Jung as well as research into the part that virtual reality can play in supporting communications.
You need a suitable laptop or desktop computer (Windows or Mac are fine), an unrestricted internet connection and permission to install the software on your device. It can be accessed 24/7 online via a secure login providing flexibility, convenience and increased access for clients to do self-help online. Click here for more details of system requirements.
In the ProReal platform, an avatar is simply a digital representation of something, usually a person
The avatar needs to be ‘real enough’ and in our testing and use with clients all over the world this was found to be the most effective representation
Props, or symbols, are really useful to represent things about our world, for example adding a wall might represent a barrier which we want to acknowledge and name, for example “lack of trust”. Similarly, we might add a clock to represent the urgency of a situation, or might use a part of the landscape such as a gate or the crossroads to help us understand something better.
You can view situations and scenarios from different perspectives via the use of first, second and third person camera angles.
ProReal has a choice between an “empty room” space or a “storytelling” world which helps express the situation in a more metaphorical way by using paths, woods, gates, crossroads, rivers and other landscape features. Future landscape designs may be added in the future, based on client’s preferences.
We have designed the software to be very easy to use - most clients learn how to use it in the first 5-10 minutes. For those using it with others in their work, we have found that most people require 15-20 hours of training, much of which is practice time. We deliver the online training via three webinars, reading material, reflective practice/assignment work and a formal assessment at the end. We also offer face-to-face training for groups – this is costed depending on how many and where. Click here for more info.
Yes. Clients can come back to a scene they’ve previously created as all sessions (or worlds) are automatically saved. They can also be deleted when they are no longer needed.
About the Company
ProReal Ltd’s registered office is in Oxford UK although much of our work is carried out online. Our team is geographically dispersed – in the UK, Poland and Germany.
ProReal Ltd is a private limited company, wholly owned by its two founders and Directors – Andrew Jackson and David Tinker.
Yes, we have Clients and Facilitators in Poland, Romania, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden…and recently even Bali! Technology is a great way to work across geographic boundaries… and our business clients expect that.
We have completed several research studies funded by SBRI Healthcare, an NHS England funded initiative which supports innovation which addresses unmet health needs. ProReal has also received support from the UK's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Click here for more information.
Benefits, uses & terminology
Yes. In our corporate work, remote and online use of ProReal has lead to cost reductions of between 30-40%. These savings are based on a number of factors – accelerated insight meaning less time needed with clients and reduced travel costs. In our work with young people, counsellors told us it helped them ‘get to the important stuff more quickly’. See Features & Benefits for more details.
There are many – from accelerated insight to better engagement all of which help to reduce costs. See Features & Benefits for more details.
The software has been used with people diagnosed with anxiety, depression, personality disorder, trauma, eating disorders and ASD. If you would like to find out more about our evidence base, please contact us.
Our research to date has found no harmful effects of using the software. Clients sometimes experience high levels of openness when working with the software and it is important for the facilitator to be properly trained, so that they contract well and provide a safe environment.
The ProReal platform can be used either online or offline. “Online” working means that the worlds can be saved and accessed remotely via an internet connection – this is really helpful when working in different locations (e.g. when a coach is in one country, and the client in another). “Offline” working means that the worlds can be saved on the device, and local work (e.g. face to face) can be done without the need for an internet connection. The software’s architecture provides for both options.
Technical & troubleshooting
You need a suitable laptop or desktop computer (Windows or Mac are fine, an Intel or AMD, 32 or 64-bit processor / at least i3 or equivalent is recommended), with minimum 1.5 GHz processor speed and at least 2GB RAM and 350MB storage. You will also need an unrestricted internet connection and rights to install the software on your device. It can be accessed 24/7 online via a secure login providing flexibility, convenience and increased access for clients to do self-help online.
Watch this space…we’re working on it. The user management system works on a smartphone, and we’ve started testing on android devices. We know too that smartphone plays a broader role in communications, text msg, reading material, prompts and reminders, etc.
We are in the process of completing the testing on some tablet devices, and the ProReal software already works well on Windows-based touchscreen laptops and tablets.
You need to have an Internet connection for initial Registration, and when you install the ProReal software for the first time. After this, you will need to be connected to work with online worlds.
This is a very important subject to us. We aim to treat the ‘in world’ data as yours – so the user chooses when to delete worlds and any data associated with this. We have designed a system which relies on secure logins and passwords for users, and data is encrypted at key stages. Further details (including the things you also need to do to protect it) are available on request.