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.”


 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which video game platform are you most thankful for?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Matthew WilsonI kinda hope this is not true. http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2014/11/nintendo_might_not_be_making_more_gamecube_controller_adapters_at_the_moment11/27/2014 - 1:34pm
Matthew WilsonI saw that. I wish people would stop preording, but sadly that will never happen.11/27/2014 - 1:26pm
Papa MidnightUbisoft has cancelled the Season Pass for Assassin's Creed: Unity (http://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/2ni2ac/ubisoft_cancel_season_pass_for_ac_unity/)11/27/2014 - 1:08pm
NeenekoBut now I can use the christmas discount justification too,11/27/2014 - 11:46am
NeenekoI am also sorely temped by Civ:BE, mostly because I have a demo coming up and I know my productivity will tank.11/27/2014 - 11:45am
MaskedPixelanteThe Evil Within is only a month old, right? And it's already 66% off...11/27/2014 - 10:29am
MechaCrashI held off on Civ:BE because I am pretty sure it'll get a bigger discount during the Christmas sale.11/26/2014 - 11:09pm
MechaTama31I'm sorely tempted by Civ: BE, but I have to stay strong and remember what it felt like to be repeatedly kicked in the junk by Civ V...11/26/2014 - 10:58pm
MechaCrashNah, just providing more proof that GGers are lying when they claim it's really about ethics in game journalism and not a proxy war against feminism.11/26/2014 - 9:58pm
MaskedPixelanteMSS is Murdered: Soul Suspect.11/26/2014 - 8:34pm
Andrew EisenWhy the interest in Ghomeshi? Is it relevant to something we've been discussing? (Not saying it's not but it seems a rather random thing to bring up.)11/26/2014 - 6:39pm
WonderkarpJian Ghomeshi arrested on sex assault charges, released on $100K bail http://www.citynews.ca/2014/11/26/jian-ghomeshi-arrested-on-sex-assault-charges-released-on-100k-bail/11/26/2014 - 5:55pm
WonderkarpJian Ghomeshi to #Gamergate: Our culture’s toxic masculinity crisis on display http://www.salon.com/2014/10/27/jian_ghomeshi_to_gamergate_americas_toxic_masculinity_crisis_on_display/11/26/2014 - 5:55pm
WonderkarpI saw that. Amiibos are pretty awesome. I have 10 now :P11/26/2014 - 5:49pm
Matthew Wilsonon a weird side of smash news, a level 50 Amiibo almost won a tournament. http://www.siliconera.com/…/story-fox-amiibo-nearly-won-su…/ I guess Nintendo made the cpu ai better.11/26/2014 - 5:44pm
WonderkarpAny of you guys watch Game Grumps? They have an episode detailing alot of the bugs in the hilariously bad Sonic Boom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3Jb3A0HLe4&list=UU9CuvdOVfMPvKCiwdGKL3cQ11/26/2014 - 4:19pm
Andrew EisenI'm blanking. What's MMS?11/26/2014 - 4:16pm
james_fudgeI keep an eye on it for really good deals11/26/2014 - 4:00pm
MaskedPixelanteEhh, MSS is only half off, I can wait for it to go under 1011/26/2014 - 3:48pm
NeenekoWhich is why I completely ignore the site.11/26/2014 - 3:15pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician