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Dive Therapy (ダイバーズセラピー, daibaazuserapii?, lit. "Diver's Therapy") is a long-established mental healing technique that has existed in the region of Metafalss from around year 3219 AD. This technique consists of an especially-trained Reyvateil, called Dive Therapist under this context, allowing a customer to Dive into her Cosmosphere, where she will proceed to create a world based on the customer's wishes and preferences to then take actions to improve his or her mood and attempt to heal whatever it is causing them unhappiness. It is also the gameplay system that allows players to cure the IPDs they have captured in the Containment Missions, allowing them to gain new Girl Powers and recruit them into Cloche's Fan Club.

History

Dive Therapy was started around year 3219 AD as a consequence of the fallout from the repeated failed attempts at creating Infel Phira and also, from the discovery that Jaza's sealed theory for the creation of Metafalica would have required a large amount of sacrifices for it to be made possible. This caused the people to dismiss the realization of their utopia as an impossibility and caused them to fall into a deep depression given how much hype the radical faction that disclosed Jaza's theory had generated around Metafalica's creation, so they sought a way to dispel all that despair and sadness from their hearts. It was at this point that it was found out that the Dive Machines that were used solely by the Reyvateils could serve as healing tools not only for them, but also for the humans, and thus some Reyvateils started using them in order to heal the humans who they allowed to Dive into them.

Thanks to allowing the people to forget temporarily about their daily troubles, this practice gained a lot of popularity and it soon spread throughout all Metafalss. However, in year 3270 AD, some unscrupulous Reyvateils started using this technique as clandestine Therapists and thus proceeded to lure their supposed customers into their Soulspaces just to kill them through a Critical Down once the Dive had started. This problem was so severe that ultimately the Grand Bell at the time issued a law forbidding the practice of Dive Therapy throughout the whole region in year 3271 AD, citing "moral problems" as the reason for it.[1]

However, said law was repealed at 3348 AD once the IPD Outbreaks started being a major problem and danger to the Metafalssians due to the discovery that Dive Therapy could be used to stop an outbreak in process, and in fact, the Grand Bell itself started encouraging the spreading of Dive Therapy once again the following year, going as far as to initiate formal investigations on the relationship between Therapy and the IPDs. This could be said to be the golden age for Therapy, which lasted for about 405 years.[2]

However, these times came to an abrupt end when Alfman Uranous instigated a coup d'etat that resulted in the death of the Pope at the time, as well as that of Maiden Arshe and her husband, and given that his plans for the War Against the Goddess and the creation of Metafalica required as many IPDs as possible, he passed a law that once again made Dive Therapy an illegal profession, though only in the capital city of Pastalia. However, he also initiated a propaganda campaign to discredit Dive Therapy and slander all who practised it by stating it was an indecent profession due to the Therapists welcoming all people into their Soulspaces with no regard for their own well-being or self-respect. Ultimately, this law was abolished once Cloche Leythal Pastalia and Luca Trulyworth assumed the power over Metafalss as its current Maidens, so now Dive Therapy can be practised all over Metafalica, and there is also rumors that there are plans to export it to the other regions.

How Dive Therapy Works

While at first sight it might seem like Dive Therapy is exactly the same as a normal Dive, that isn't the case. Below the details on how it differs from a normal Dive will be explained.

A Therapist's Training

Before a Reyvateil can start doing Therapy, she first must submit herself to a harsh training that requires her to be able to put herself into a state of lucid dreaming on-demand and with a 100% success rate, as otherwise, she will be unable to retain her consciousness and control her Cosmosphere during the Dive.

Once she has managed to do this, next she will have to create barriers, or partitions as they are called, to segregate the part of her Cosmosphere that will be used as a therapy space from the rest of her Souslpace. This is done so the customer won't be capable of seeing any parts of the Therapist's true Cosmosphere and also, to keep the dangers from said Cosmosphere from manifesting while the customer is still inside the therapy space.

There are some setting modifications that can be done to the Dive Machines by changing the Grathnode Wave flows to make it easier to reach the lucid dreaming state, as well as also there being some drugs for this purpose, but the main part of it depends on the Reyvateil herself: if she is unable to reach the lucid dreaming state and maintain it, she won't have any future as a Therapist. And given managing to reach such a level is so difficult and demanding, it isn't unusual for Therapists in-training to end up vomiting or feeling sick whenever they awaken from a training session.

Additionally, Therapists follow a manual for crafting Song Magic especially designed for use in Therapy given that normally-crafted Song Magic is too dangerous and unpredictable to use in their therapy spaces. Said manual explains the regions of the mind that should be used for concentration, how to focus feelings in them and how to imagine and create physical things there, which allows those who master these techniques to create Songs that could easily pass off as a proper Lv. 1 Song Magic. However, the Song Magic created in this way has no predetermined personality or behavior, and instead each Therapist gives these characters a personality they can empathize the most easily with.

Once a Dive Therapist has completed her training, she will be issued a license and join the Therapists' Association, meaning she will be ready to start working in full.

Therapy Process

When a customer first requests the Dive Therapy service, he or her must first go to the Therapists' Association Manager and tell them some of their own personal information and preferences, so the manager will be able to allocate them with a Therapist that will be willing to construct a world based on them. Once the allocation is done, the customer will personally meet with the Therapist in a public place such a plaza or restaurant in order to prepare and discuss with them the plan for their Therapy session, and once both parts have agreed with the plan, they will set an appointment for the date in which the session will take place.

Once the day and time comes, both the customer and the Therapist will enter the Dive Pods as if they were to conduct a normal Dive, but instead, the Dive Machines will be tuned for the Therapist to do her job and to make it easier for her to erect the mental partitions and retain her sense of self for the Dive. Afterwards, the customer and the Therapy will carry out the plan for the Therapy session, which generally includes actions such as tea parties, playing tag, lying on the Therapist's lap in a flower field, or merely the customer discussing their personal issues with the Therapist in a way similar to a psychotherapy session. Once the plan has been carried out, the Dive will be concluded and the Therapist will be paid the fee that was agreed upon between her and the customer.

As for Critical Downs, all Therapists give guarantees to their customers that such an event won't happen during a Therapy session, and given all the events during a session are controlled by the Therapists, it's impossible for one to happen. However, if a Therapist does cause one intentionally, while it wouldn't be dangerous to her life or that of the customer, it would severely mar her reputation, as within the Dive Therapy business there is no greater show of disrespect to a customer than to intentionally cause a Critical Down during a session, and it has even been equated to a waitress in a restaurant splashing a glass of water on a customer's face to then assault them to the point of knocking them out with a tray.[3]

However, it must be mentioned that a Therapist will never consent to carry out actions or set up worlds beyond the limits she sets for herself. An example of this would be Luca, who remains professional in all her sessions and never allows her customers to even touch her unless it's strictly necessary, while on the converse, other Therapists such as Nana have an "anything goes" policy in respect to the sort of deeds they will allow in their sessions. If any customer tries going too far, to the point of attempting to force the Therapist to break her own rules, the Therapist will terminate the session prematurely and the Dive Shop Association will ban that customer from entering any Dive Shops in Metafalss for the rest of their lives.

Summary of Differences with a Normal Dive

  • The customer never interacts with any of the personae of the Reyvateil, but with the Reyvateil's conscious self herself.
  • The area used as the therapy space is only a very small area of the shallowest stratum of the Reyvateil's Soulspace, so the customer is unable to take any actions that would have significant impact on the Reyvateil's psyche, rendering them unable to breach the Reyvateil's privacy in any way.
  • Continuing on from above, the partitions that separate the therapy space from the rest of Soulspace can't be crossed by the customer unless they manage to break through them, which is highly unlikely.
  • The Dive Machines are tuned manually to help with the Therapy process.
  • While crafting Song Magic is possible during Dive Therapy, the Therapist generally uses pre-made emotions to make Song Magic suitable for Therapy sessions, as normal Song Magic would be too dangerous to use in the therapy space due to their unpredictable nature.

Other Uses

Dive Therapy also allows the Dive Therapist to install virtual Dive Machines into her Cosmosphere, making possible the practice of sandboxing another Reyvateil's Cosmosphere into what is known as a Proxy Dive. However, only highly skilled Therapists are capable of carrying this sort of Dive due to the advanced technical skills and knowledge that are required for them. Most even refuse flat-out to carry out Proxy Dives due to how dangerous this technique can be if it's executed incorrectly.

Dangers of Dive Therapy

While Dive Therapy is generally speaking a beneficial process for the customer, there are a few dangers about it: if the Therapist is still inexperienced or suffering from great emotional turmoil, there is the possibility that the partitions she uses to separate her Soulspace from the therapy space will be too fragile to be used for a proper Dive Therapy session, with catastrophic consequences. This means that either the customer could wander into her true Cosmosphere, with all the dangers it entails, or the personae of the Reyvateil could break through the partitions and start causing all sorts of trouble to the customer, thus requiring the Dive to be terminated early.

Similarly, potential customers must be wary of trying to receive Dive Therapy from any Reyvateil who is not a licensed Therapist, as while there haven't been any recent cases of it, being murdered during a Therapy session is still a very real possibility.

On the other hand, Dive Therapy can also be hazardous to the Therapist herself if she attempts to modify her Cosmosphere far too much, such as provoking fake Paradigm Shifts, or attempting Proxy Dives without being sure herself that she will be able to carry them out properly, as these can have the consequence of severely distorting her Cosmosphere and even causing her mind to break down completely.

Reasons for the Illegalization of Dive Therapy

The Neo Grand Bell led by Alfman Uranous has claimed that Dive Therapy is an indecent profession practised only by the most shameful Reyvateils, who have no sort of self-respect or sense of self-preservation, which is why the profession is banned in Pastalia and also why the current Maiden, Cloche Leythal Pastalia, leads a movement to illegalize it in the rest of Metafalss.

However, Alfman actually has ulterior motives for forbidding Dive Therapy that have nothing to do with modesty or decency: the whole reason why he passed said law and staunchily denounces the profession is because Dive Therapy is the only method through which IPD Outbreaks can be healed at the source. Given that this serves as a large obstacle to his goals of gathering an IPD army that is to be used in conjunction with the powers hidden in Infel Phira to defeat the Goddess, he decided to nip the problem in the bud and forbid it altogether, so no one would take away his potential soldiers. It was also easy for him to spread this sort of reputation due to some people misunderstanding what the service was about due to their high fees.

As for Cloche, she is not privy to any of that information and she is also ignorant to how Dive Therapy works, so she just denounces it because of what she heard about the profession from Alfman. However, she changes her mind once Luca explains to her how the process works in the Infelsphere, and additionally, she saw exactly how it could be used to treat the IPDs, which is why she agreed to lift the ban on it after she took over the government during the events of Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica.

As an IPD Treatment

Dive Therapy works quite differently when it's used to treat IPDs, as instead of letting them Dive into the Therapist's mind, the Therapist will Dive into them. Once there, she will block off the area that seems the most likely to be the cause of the outbreak and then apply to it a regulated D-Wave shock to temporarily paralize it, leaving the IPD in an apparent-death state. During this time, the Therapist will take actions to supress the outbreak's symptoms and also make sure there are no relapses in the future.

However, only highly experienced Therapists try to carry out such treatments, as misjudging the intensity of the D-Wave shock can have serious consequences, up to utterly destroying the IPD's Cosmosphere and leaving her brain dead. Similarly, only Therapists that are intimately familiar with the structure and functioning of a Cosmosphere are capable of judging the areas where the outbreaks may start in an accurate manner.

Dive Therapy in Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica

Dive Therapy is one of the major game systems in Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica, and one that can be accessed by the player at any Dive Shop provided they have seen the tutorial for it, have at least one uncured IPD, and have Luca in their party.

Players that will attempt a Dive Therapy session must head to a Dive Shop, and after paying the fee for it (IPD Level * 100 + 100 Leaf), and occasionally giving an item required by the IPD, they will find themselves in a screen with the IPD and the background that represents her Cosmosphere.

At this point, they will be presented with three choices:

  • Talk, in which Luca will attempt to converse with the IPD to cure her.
  • Operation, in which Luca will apply medication to increase or decrease the effect of the conversation attempts. The medication options are Increase Wave Packet Flow, which halves a conversation attempt's effects, and Inject Liquid Grathnode, which doubles it. Each of the options will get stronger in intensity the more the player uses them during a single session, resetting only if the session is restarted.
  • Watch, in which Luca will analyze the IPD's personality. This serves to give the player hints about which options they must choose in the conversations to increase the Psychoinflammation gauge.

So players must choose Talk and then pick one from the two options given, one of which will increase the value in the Psychoinflammation gauge at the top of the screen and the another having the opposite effect of decreasing it. Players have a total of five Talk attempts to make the Psychoinflammation gauge fall into a pink range known as the Cure Zone, and if they manage to do it by the time the five Talk attempts have been used, the treatment will be a success and the IPD will be cured. On the other hand, if they fail to have the gauge end in the Cure Zone or if they make it increase so much it goes beyond what the screen can display, the treatment will end in failure and the player will be forced to pay again the treatment fee to try again from the start. It must also be noted that if the IPD requires an item to be cured, said item will be lost regardless of the treatment's success or failure.

Luca's Therapist Experience

Similarly to how Cloche has a unique status screen showing the player's status in regards to Replekia and the Cloche Fan Club, Luca also has a unique status screen showing her Dive Therapist level and the levels each of her personality traits have reached. Said traits are Emotion, Sympathy, Delight, Curiosity, Sorrow and Mercy; and Luca must have reached a certain level in one of them before she will be capable of treating some IPDs. However, in practice, Luca's Therapist level increases extremely quickly through treating the IPDs and the personality traits also gain levels themselves from certain Talk Topics and Synchro Topics, so it's extremely rare for a player to be unable to treat an IPD due to lacking Therapist Experience for Luca.

References

  1. Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica Setting Encyclopedia - History Section, Page 90
  2. Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica Setting Encyclopedia - Timeline
  3. Ar Portal - Toukousphere Issue #111

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