GFH: Games Assisting with Psychotherapy

May 26, 2010 -

While there is very limited information on the intersection of games and psychotherapy—studies are extremely few and far between, and by some accounts, only a single “game” broaches the subject—one child psychiatrist is using videogames in a different way; as an icebreaker.

Dr. T. Atilla Ceranoglu is an instructor at Harvard Medical School and a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, in addition to running his own practice. In a session at Games for Health, Dr. Ceranoglu detailed how he makes use of videogames.

Inspired by a quote from Freud, “There is little that gives children greater pleasure than when a grown-up lets himself down to their level, renounces his oppressive superiority and plays with them as an equal,” the doctor outfitted his office with videogames. The use of games permits doctor and patient to build a therapeutic relationship, allows Ceranoglu to evaluate cognitive skills and helps to emphasize what the child might be feeling in real-life.

Ceranoglu shared the story of a 14-year old boy, who had been having troubles with his family. On the third office visit, the boy, who hadn’t said much to the doctor up until then, joined Ceranoglu for some cooperative play in a Lord of the Rings title. The boy started commenting on the gaming ability of the doctor, which began to promote communication between the two.

Eventually the boy relayed how he played games at a friend’s house, because he disliked his home environment. The two played a game of baseball, which the foreign-born doctor was not very good at, and the boy won handily. A FIFA match followed (a game which Ceranoglu excels at). The boy was getting creamed, so he started reacting in-game, getting red cards, which lead to his players being tossed from the game. In time, the boy took to practicing the game at home before finally returning to beat the doctor. This pleased Ceranoglu because the boy took something from the office home with him.

Further into treatment, the boy confided to Ceranoglu that he wished he had a brother to play games with, which led to a conversation in which the boy told the doctor about his brother dying some years earlier. The parents of the boy had never told Ceranoglu about this tragedy; they had chosen to ignore the incident as if it never happened. The boy then admitted to visiting his brother’s grave quite often, sometimes every day. From there Ceranoglu was able to further break down the walls and to administer assistance to the boy. He said that videogames made all this possible.

As far as what attributes games used in this manner should posses, Ceranoglu recommended that any games used should be brief and repeatable, contain many levels, feature an easy learning curve and portray various types of avatars. Additionally, games should contain stories relevant to a child’s conflict, should be able to be saved at any point (to avoid lengthy play sessions) and feature flexible multiplayer modes plus user-made content.

Dr. Ceranoglu said he discusses the role of games in treatment with parents beforehand, to avoid catcalls like “I’m not paying you $XX an hour to play games.” He reports that the reception of his techniques from other therapists has been “quite good.”


 
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ZippyDSMleeCutesy name for motherboard. My 300$ mobo fried itself one night...04/27/2015 - 4:23pm
Andrew EisenNo problem. No idea what a mobo is but it's easy to overlook stuff in the Shout box.04/27/2015 - 4:18pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Ah sorry, last 2-4 days I been dealing with a dead mobo then my new laptop came in trying to get it up to date and stuff transferred over....blag04/27/2015 - 4:16pm
Andrew EisenAlready linked about 10 shouts ago.04/27/2015 - 4:00pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.polygon.com/2015/4/27/8503893/konami-delists-itself-from-new-york-stock-exchange This just in Konami and Capcom merge so they can ignore more IP's.04/27/2015 - 3:50pm
E. Zachary KnightNot really. I think people are overly critical of other game projects. Delays should be expected and shouldn't be considered a major failing and worthy of the crap they get.04/27/2015 - 3:09pm
Matthew WilsonI agree that Double Fine gets off way too easy compared to others.04/27/2015 - 2:40pm
PHX Corphttps://twitter.com/Nibellion/status/592762131264733185/photo/1 a Transcript reguarding the Situation at Konami has been found(CEO Went Nuts over mobile and wanted kojima removed from the company)04/27/2015 - 2:25pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, delaying games has been amassive point of contention for games that raised a fraction of what Double Fine did.04/27/2015 - 2:14pm
Matthew Wilsonand yes they went way way over budget from what I read.04/27/2015 - 12:33pm
Matthew Wilson@AE if they cancaled it there would be massive outrage, but people tend to be ok with a delayed game.04/27/2015 - 12:32pm
IvresseBleh, can't edit shout on my phone :-/04/27/2015 - 12:32pm
Andrew EisenHell, the Kickstarter itself raised WAY more than DF was asking but I saw no accusations of impropriety.04/27/2015 - 12:31pm
Andrew EisenA little over three years later (two and a half years after the estimated delivery date), the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter finally delivered the game. Oddly, I never saw anyone accuse Double Fine of scamming or conning anyone.04/27/2015 - 12:30pm
Ivresse@PHX Corp: Not only that, but Konami have just delisted themselves from the NYSE:http://polygon.com/e/826793404/27/2015 - 12:28pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile I felt bad for everyone outside the US who wanted to watch the HOTS finals, the fact it was on espn 2 in prime time is a major major step forward for video games.04/27/2015 - 12:14pm
james_fudgeThanks Papa!04/27/2015 - 10:43am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/its-official-silent-hills-is-cancelled-1700379816# It's Official: Silent Hills Is Cancelled04/27/2015 - 9:48am
Papa MidnightI also hope that legislation holds the individual(s) who initiated the action is criminally liable for any and all harm that may come to persons involved (whether it be the cops or the victim(s)), as well as any property damaged suffered by any party.04/27/2015 - 8:16am
Papa MidnightJames: Small typographical error in the article for the NY Congressman's legislation: earlier is misspelled as "earlkier" (context: "Chuck Schumer (D) earlkier this month.")04/27/2015 - 8:14am
 

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