Humans make emotional connections with objects all the time. From their earliest years, most toddlers cling to a favorite inanimate object, such as a rattle or a fuzzy blanket. When we grow older, we become attached to other things. Some 55% of us would give up caffeine and 70% would give up alcohol before giving up their smart phones, according to a recent survey.
The point is, that we can develop a human– like connection with objects – including VHAs. Dr. Timothy Bickmore, a professor at Northeastern University calls this type of connection a “therapeutic alliance.” He likens it to the relationship patients once had with a neighborhood doctor or pharmacist.