A recent profile of Mike Langlois, a clinical social worker in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and author of the eBook "Reset: Video Games & Psychotherapy" by Psychotherapy Networker (part of its Clinician's Digest III), makes the case for psychologists and mental health professionals to learn more about video games and even play them if they can.
Langlois points out that video games are an important part of his patients' lives and so he must know something about them to build relationships with young clients.
"If I’m doing play therapy with adolescents in the 21st century, I should be playing the games of adolescents in the 21st century," Langlois tells Psychotherapy Networker.
Psychiatrist T. Atilla Ceranoglu agrees. In a 2010 Boston Globe editorial, Ceranoglu said that the focus should be on what young people play and how they play it. Ceranoglu's research on the use of video games in psychotherapy finds that psychotherapists can build relationships with their young clients by playing video games with them, and can learn valuable information about important traits like frustration tolerance, creative problem-solving, competition, and collaboration.
Even if therapists don't feel the need to play games, Langlois believes that it is important to be aware of and sensitive to gaming-related issues. He says that by listening to stories he has learned how people use video games and their communities to get help them when they were depressed or even suicidal.
"It was very different than the media hype I was hearing about how video games are all addictive and cause isolation," he says.
You can find "Reset: Video Games & Psychotherapy" on Amazon.com.