The Impact of Video Games in Therapy

In recent years, video games have become more than just a way to relax and pass the time – they are now being used as a therapeutic tool in multiple different fields, including psychology and psychotherapy. 

This modality of therapy has become known as “video game therapy,” and it involves using specially designed games as a way to help individuals address certain psychological issues in a safe, immersive environment. 

Video game therapy has been used to help people suffering from a variety of issues, such as anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that playing video games in a therapeutic setting can significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as improving emotional regulation skills. Video games can also be used to help individuals build coping skills and improve problem-solving skills. 

The games can be tailored to individual needs, allowing for targeted practice in an area in which the individual may struggle. Specific games can also be used to help with social skills, decision-making, and communication. Not only can video games be used therapeutically, but they can also be a great tool for relaxation. Playing a game can help individuals to de-stress, unwind, and take a break from their day-to-day lives. 

Additionally, playing a game can help to improve self-esteem, as it gives the individual a sense of accomplishment and mastery. Using video games in  therapy is an innovative and exciting new way to engage with our clients without the need to force  traditional methods that may not work for every client. Playing games with a therapist can  be used to help individuals build a positive outlook on life, learn new skills,  as well as provide them with an opportunity to explore any issues or concerns they may be facing in a safe, interactive environment. As research in the field of video game therapy continues, it is likely that more and more individuals will benefit from this form of psychotherapy.

A big use of video games in therapy is with treating children who may not feel compelled to speak  in therapy sessions and getting them to open up can be a challenge. Fortunately, with video games being used in therapy, there is a way to make therapy more interactive, engaging, and even fun for children—by using Minecraft during sessions! 

Minecraft is the world’s best-selling video game, making it incredibly popular among children and adolescents. It is a virtual sandbox in which players can explore, create, and work together. The game is extremely versatile, allowing players to build whatever they can imagine. The system allows for complete creative freedom as well as individual expression. This tool can come in handy when a clinician is wanting to teach problem-solving and creative thinking skills, which can then be applied to life outside of the game.

The use of Minecraft and other games  in therapy can be an effective way to engage children in the therapeutic process while also allowing them freedom to open up to their provider through common language, or in this case, the common enjoyment for the game. A therapist may not know everything this is to know about Minecraft, but the simple gesture of having the game as part of the toolbox for treatment can provide a level of safety for the young client not ever experienced before. 

For example, a therapist may ask the child to create a structure in the game that demonstrates an obstacle they are facing in life. This can open up some crucial dialogue between the therapist and the child, leading to insight to family life, school struggles, and problem-solving. Then allowing for the clinician to create a treatment plan that allows for these concerns to be worked through with goal setting and further sessions.  Another beneficial aspect of using Minecraft in therapy is the ability to work with other players online. This gives children the opportunity to experience collaboration, communication, and cooperation in a safe environment. This can be extremely beneficial for children who are shy or have social anxiety, helping them to develop their social skills and work together with others.

Overall, the use of games like Minecraft in therapy can be an effective way to engage children and help them develop the skills they need to interact in their everyday lives. Through building and collaborating with other players, children can learn to become more confident and learn problem-solving skills while having fun in the process. 

Keep on building!

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