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 :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Wonderkarphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4a9tMGSTG411/23/2014 - 5:32pm
WonderkarpDan Vavra of Warhorse Studios at the Nordic eCommerce Summit 2014 on Game Journalism and why ethics are important11/23/2014 - 5:27pm
WonderkarpGame Dev Ashley Ross on the Block/Blacklist https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2n603f/thoughts_on_the_recent_igdaggautoblocker_incident/11/23/2014 - 5:25pm
Wonderkarpwhich is interesting cause this the first one 100% made by 2k games after the THQ buy11/23/2014 - 4:17pm
Wonderkarpbleh. the more I play WWE 2k15 on PS4, the more I get disappointed.11/23/2014 - 4:09pm
Neo_DrKefkaIt happened around 1030 this morning. I was not blooding because blood was on my hands11/23/2014 - 3:50pm
Andrew EisenThat depends on a lot. Were you bleeding at the time you requested to leave or did you want to leave work to go to the doctor over an incident that happened on a different day that you didn't file an incident report for?11/23/2014 - 3:21pm
Neo_DrKefkaThat would be a major OSHA violation correct?11/23/2014 - 1:54pm
Neo_DrKefkaOff topic but I was at work and went over to the first aid kit to get some eye drops. I look at my hand and noticed blood on my hands. My employers said their is no incident report and they won't send me to see a doctor and that I am abandoning my job.11/23/2014 - 1:54pm
MaskedPixelanteThe more I hear about AC Unity being rushed out, the more I think Ubisoft was telling the truth about why they couldn't add female co-op models.11/23/2014 - 1:14pm
IanCI wouldnt say the 360/PS3 version were superior. They were different games.11/23/2014 - 11:49am
MechaTama31It's hard to rank my top 5 against eachother, but they would include Ghostbusters, Back to the Future (all of it), Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Princess Bride.11/23/2014 - 11:09am
Andrew EisenTrue, but I liked the fact that rather than do a crappy looking version of the PS3/360 version, it went with an art style more suited to the Wii's strengths.11/23/2014 - 12:26am
Wonderkarpif I had the money, I'd buy one of those expensive proton pack replicas11/22/2014 - 11:25pm
Wonderkarpthats the wii version though. the PS3/360 version is far superior.11/22/2014 - 11:19pm
Andrew EisenOdd that there was no hose connecting the thrower to the backpack. Was there just no more horsepower left in the Wii to animate it? And did seriously no one on the dev or QA team notice the Ghostbusters patch on the player's sleeve was backwards?11/22/2014 - 11:17pm
Andrew EisenI played it one the Wii and rather liked it.11/22/2014 - 11:15pm
Neo_DrKefkaGhostbusters on the PS3 and Xbox is Ghostbusters III for me. It was a short but wonderful experience.11/22/2014 - 11:13pm
Andrew EisenGhostbusters is my number one but the other films in my top 5 are Blues Brothers, Nightmare Before Christmas, Little Shop of Horrors (the Frank Oz one) and Jaws.11/22/2014 - 11:05pm
Wonderkarpso interesting info about that blocklist I'm on https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B3GOLniCUAAnHbP.png11/22/2014 - 10:54pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician