Teaching Note: Bridging Contemplative Social Work Education and Emerging Technologies


  • Juan Rios Seton Hall University


virtual reality, augmented reality, Nicotera, Circle of Insight, pedagogy, trauma, healing, social work


This paper will describe Dr. Anthony Nicotera’s theory of the Circle of Insight and apply it to emerging technology, such as virtual reality and explore why special attention must be paid in this context to integrating immersive contemplative practices with the experience of racialized Black and Brown people in the virtual space. Evidence shows that virtual reality as a tool can increase empathy through virtual body transference and could be an effective teaching tool (Cogburn, 2018). It is theorized herein that if the Circle of Insight is applied accordingly with and through virtual reality, participants may gain a better understanding of their inner core, addressing deep rooted trauma associated with maladaptive thought processes. With this understanding, clinicians can work with individuals toward a more healthy and more comprehensive healing journey. Finally, this article will explore the importance of emerging technology utilizing ethical practices through the lens of a transformative justice framework.

Author Biography

Juan Rios, Seton Hall University

Juan Rios is an Assistant Professor, researcher, scholar, practitioner who centers his work around building collaborative compassionate communities.


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