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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IronPatriotbenohawk, TotalBiscuit is a totalLIAR and decided to be part of the gamergate problem.08/03/2015 - 4:27pm
IronPatriotbenohawk, here are some of TotalBiscuit's totalLIES against gamergate victims: https://medium.com/@SvizraLion/everything-totalbiscuit-got-wrong-in-way-too-many-words-4df407e8113c08/03/2015 - 4:27pm
IronPatriotbenohawk, TotalBiscuit claims he's against harassment, but he joined a movement created for harassment and told inflammatory lies about the victims of gamergate.08/03/2015 - 4:25pm
IronPatriotbenohawk, TotalBiscuit told massive lies about gamergate victims like Sarkeesian. What difference does it make if one side of his mouth says he's against harassment when he joins a movement created for harassment?08/03/2015 - 4:23pm
Big PermIn the end, I can respect it being their tournament with their rules.08/03/2015 - 3:58pm
Andrew EisenHell, I don't like a lot of character designs/costumes but I don't believe I've ever actually been upset by one.08/03/2015 - 3:58pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - There are always people upset with every character design in existence. So? You can't please everyone.08/03/2015 - 3:57pm
Andrew EisenI think it was more an attempt for everyone else to take it seriously. Either way, it was just a suggested option for tournament organizers.08/03/2015 - 3:56pm
Big PermI can't imagine a DoA tournament existed beforehand to showcase the boob physics. I'd think it was already taken seriously by the people who play it08/03/2015 - 3:55pm
Andrew EisenYeah, I remember the "let's suggest an optional restrict certain outfits from Dead or Alive tournament play to encourage people to take the game seriously and focus on the gameplay." That should have nothing to do with DOAX3 localization decisions though.08/03/2015 - 3:54pm
Big PermProbably just twitter drama then. I don't remember game sites being surprised DoA had bouncing boobs08/03/2015 - 3:53pm
Matthew Wilsonin any case people who want it can just import it, unlike Nintendo, the ps4 isnt region locked08/03/2015 - 3:53pm
Matthew Wilsonthe costumes stuff I am ok with. its their tourament, but people were getting upset by the disgin of the characters08/03/2015 - 3:51pm
Matthew Wilsonthat was a difrent more recent one.08/03/2015 - 3:49pm
benohawkI don't remember the exact game and tourney, but Matt and Perm are right that they tried to ban dome female costumes from a tournament a few months ago08/03/2015 - 3:49pm
Big PermLink to community forums that have tournament rules http://www.freestepdodge.com/threads/fsd-doa-tournament-standard-rules.156/08/03/2015 - 3:48pm
Matthew WilsonI belive it was dead or alive08/03/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenWho was getting upset by how the females looked in what?08/03/2015 - 3:46pm
Matthew WilsonIt may have been a difrent fighting game, but it did happen.08/03/2015 - 3:46pm
Matthew Wilsonpeople were getting upset by how some of the females looked.08/03/2015 - 3:45pm
 

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