The COMET Zen Garden is a gamification of the COMET (Competitive Memory Training) task used in the treatment of people with low self-esteem. The garden adopts the aspects of playful interaction, collection and progression as key elements of the game.
COMET TRAINING TASK
Low self-esteem has been found to be a common factor of people undergoing treatment for personality disorders. Such conditions could lead to self-injurious and suicidal behaviors. The Competitive Training Task (COMET) was created to help in the treatment of low self-esteem. The COMET training works by encouraging clients to retrieve functional self-referent opinions and knowledge instead of dysfunctional ones.
COMET ZEN GARDEN
Early on during the design of the gamification, we noticed that the common paradigm adopted in gamification design, namely providing users with an challenging problem to overcome, creating an experience of flow and thus motivating users to achieve success in their challenge, might not work so well with people with low-self esteem. Instead of feeling challenged by their repeated failures, users could become discouraged in their abilities and could even feel more negative about their self-worth. As such, the gamification of the COMET therapy relied less on the element of challenge and instead on playful interaction. Thus, the COMET ZEN garden was created to be used as part of the COMET training procedure.
The current Zen garden was deployed as a mobile application. Users are encouraged to plant, grow and collect positive self reference resources (stories, images etc.) of themselves and revisit the plants to strengthen memories of their positive qualities.