We were lucky enough to speak to Silja Litvin about her journey into psychology and the development of award-winning app eQuoo.
What drove you to pursue an education and career in psychology?
When I was a child I moved around a lot (born in Germany, raised in Southern California, lived in Luxemburg, France and Germany) and was suffering from what I now realised was light culture shock. When I was about 12, my sister received a book about body language, and I was introduced to psychology. It blew my mind that there was a science that could help me understand human behaviour and emotions and wanted to be a psychologist ever since.
Tell us a little bit about PsycApps and the eQuoo app
PsycApps created eQuoo, using the know-how of the gaming industry through our partner, Collision Studios, a game developing company that has worked on games like ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Scrabble’ the game teaches psychological skills that help build resilience – acting preventatively – heighten life satisfaction and happiness.
After the initial introduction to eQuoo through Dr Joy, our games Avatar, designed to be a chatbot at a later stage, our game teaches two psychological skills for each level. In the story, the player has to use the skills they just learned to win the level. While playing the game, the player is asked questions that evaluate their personality on the Big Five Personality Dimensions. After each level, the player is given feedback about their personality, positively framed.
We use psycho-education, story-telling, positive psychology, low-level cognitive behavioural therapy and gaming to make sure the skills are permanently implemented into the players psychological ‘tool’ set and readily available when confronted with a stressful life situation.
eQuoo is a multi-award winning positive solution that has generated thousands of organic downloads. We’ve partnered with Mental Health America and other charities like Minds Ahead, have partnered with UCL for a clinical trial and are running pilots with Bosch UK and Inmarsat.
What obstacles have you faced while pursuing your career?
Fundraising is truly a bone breaking exercise.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Right now I’m a huge fan of Verena Pausder, the founder of the children’s gaming company Fox and Sheep.
What advice would you give to women looking to kick-start their career?
Find what you love, make sure your partner supports you and start the journey. You will laugh, you will cry and you will become very creative at swear words.
Any exciting plans or future projects you can tell us about?
We are now fundraising to scale the game and really spread the good news of emotional health through games, so please wish us luck!