How therapists use board games to help people
“Our yard is really what gives things meaning and motivates us to do absolutely nothing,” Levitt said. “For a long time I was more of a destination than a trip person, and I think that’s really changed, in part thanks to this game.”
Role playing can be especially helpful for people who have experienced trauma and oppression. Cassie Walker, a clinical social worker and trauma specialist, sees games and role playing as a valuable way to connect with clients and demonstrate that treatment doesn’t have to be serious or painful.
“Trauma separates us from ourselves, and one of the first things that separates us is our imagination and creativity,” Walker says. Board games allow their customers to reconnect with their imagination, the structure of the games provides some relief and encourages people to start thinking about what can be and not what he is.
While many of the people involved in treating morbids are children and teens, many therapists — including Walker — work with adults. Walker wants The Therapy to be a fun and stimulating place for clients.
“Treatment is very important and has a lot of potential for healing, but the colonization of our health and wellness and our minds has made it something old, persistent, and depressing,” Walker says. “I laugh with my clients, I cry with my clients. We play games, and we explore the fun with them.”
How to participate
Geek Therapeutics has a profile Guide of certified geek therapists on his website. In addition to TTRPG therapy, some providers offer forms of manic therapy, including therapeutic video games and less structured role-playing. These therapists offer services in the United States as well as internationally, and many accept insurance.
For those interested in leading group sessions and helping others, Geek Therapeutics offers training for mental health professionals, including Therapeutic game mastery training. The nine-week course includes training from professional game masters, some of whom are from Wizards of the Coast, the company behind Dungeons & Dragons.
“It can be very intimidating because they have over 30 years of experience,” says Bean. “But it’s also amazing to work with them and gain a really ingenious insight, because they are masters of their craft.”
To complement the Game to Grow method, Davis and Jones created critical nucleus With other mental health professionals and innovators. The game suite provides educators, parents, and mental health professionals with all the resources needed to run a TTRPG, including adventure modules, pre-written character sheets, and a facilitator’s guide designed to integrate therapy into games. The game is modeled after D&D, but it removes many of the rules and complications that can make TTRPGs intimidating for new players.
“We want to remove some of that complexity to make it more relevant to storytelling, and the magic of life in narrative social play,” Davis says.
You don’t have to be a therapist to participate either. Both organizations also provide training for people who are not mental health professionals, such as teachers, parents, or anyone looking for a way to connect with themselves and others through games.
treatment geek Certified Expert Specialist The program helps participants better support their peers and students through the lens of TTRPGs and fandom more broadly. The course is self-directed and offers over 80 hours of content to participants.
Game to Grow offers two types of training outside of the accredited Therapeutic Game Master program –community training And the teacher training. Davis says teacher training is more in line with educational goals than remedial goals, and integration common core And the Twenty-first century skills. Community training is for anyone who does not fall into the category of an educator or mental health professional.
Bukamazu is the clinical director of take this, an organization focused on reducing stigma and increasing mental health support in gaming. Boccamazzo also provides training in the applied use of role-playing games in clinical and educational settings. He points out that playing a TTRPG in and of itself does not constitute a therapeutic exercise, even if the GM is a mental health professional, so keep that in mind.
“The game is not the cure,” Bukamatsu says. “Cure is therapy, using the game as a means.”
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