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Client: eGGZ

When you are feeling depressed, it is often hard to think positively. People who are depressed often think negatively like ‘It’s all my fault’ or ‘they must be angry’. When receiving cognitive therapy, you will learn to recognise those automatic negative thoughts, and replace them with alternative more positive thoughts. An important part of this type of therapy is putting this into practice in real life. Unfortunately, your therapist cannot be present then. This is why we developed Cafe Sunday. A Virtual Reality (VR) world where you can practise being in everyday situations, in a safe environment, with your therapist present.

In Cafe Sunday you can pretend to be a waiter in a cafe. You will find yourself in different situations. Some of the guests will start a conversation with you, others will just share their thoughts. In both cases you will be challenged to come up with alternative thoughts. By practising cognitive therapy this way, it will boost your confidence. People already participating, experience that these alternative thoughts have a positive effect on the way they feel and act. The game has been set up so you can ‘play’ freely. It does not restrict you to play it one way only – it is non-linear. And your therapist will decide when the game is finished.

Evidence based design

During the development phase, the game was continuously tested, with clients as well as experts. All design choices were made with their feedback in mind. For example, we have chosen to use abstract characters, based on this feedback. By using abstract characters, clients will form their own thoughts rather than being influenced by their environment.


We were asked to develop Cafe Sunday by the Dutch e-Mental Health Centre (eGGZ Centrum), together with the Arq Psychotrauma Expert Group. During the next two years extensive research as to the effectiveness of the game will be carried out by the VU University Amsterdam.

What can we do for you?

IJsfontein has vast experience within the education sector, as well as in developing serious games for the healthcare sector. Would you like more information? Please contact us via email, or give us a call on +31 20 33 00 111.