Q. Won't "therapacizing" RPG ruin enjoying leisure sessions anymore?

Q. My teenage daughter is concerned that using your RPG Therapy services will ruin her enjoyment of gaming because she will then always associate it with therapy instead of fun.

A. A reasonable concern, fortunately we have a method that helps keep the enjoyment, and actually enhances their recreational enjoyment of gaming, while still achieving specific therapeutic goals.


Long Answer:

As per your daughter's concerns about this approach ruining her love of gaming through therapeutic association, we can certainly address that.

We have been using recreation therapy and role-playing games in therapeutic settings since 2004, in educational settings for over 30 years, and recreational RPGs for over 40 years.

We have heard these concerns from many people, and it is a common concern for many recreation therapy clients that their favorite activity will no longer be enjoyable.

Fortunately the research supports that as a very low risk factor, and that generally their leisure enjoyment of the activity typically increases due to the training they will receive.

For therapeutic gaming so far nobody has reported our programs ruining their enjoyment after completing their sessions with us.

Most have found they were able to enjoy gaming far more than they imagined before.

This is because they learned so much more about how to optimize their experience for the most fun, for themselves and other participants, than they would have learned on their own.

We help them "take it to the next level".

Our approach is to help them focus on the game while in the game, which research shows when delivered optimally provides inherent benefits.

During the game we do interject guiding techniques to help them address any maladaptive thoughts or behaviors that manifest in the game that might be interfering with their gaming efficacy, but this is addressed in terms to help them become better at the gaming and improve their enjoyment of the game, drawing on their intrinsic motivations to maximize engagement.

This helps optimize any of the inherent benefits of the activity, in addition to any adaptations we made to the activity to target the client's specific needs, and the advanced abilities of our trained and certified facilitators.

Generally the overt "therapeutic discussion" is only briefly focused on during the post-game and/or pre-game processing sessions. This is when we briefly discuss what they learned, how to apply what they learned to be more effective in their next game session, and potentially how to apply in their life generally. For those that struggle (initially) with the verbal interaction, or to help with other goals, we often have them write in their adventure journal (or record audio/video journal if writing is difficult), etc.

Since we often partner with other care providers, much of the 'heavier" discussions may come up with your child's regular therapist, but with a new framework for expression that may have been previously lacking.

During their sessions with us, we focus on trying to optimize their opportunities for "Flow State Experience", which means they are having the most immersed, fun experience, and are in an optimal state of experiential learning mode.

Additionally, we can add a layer of separation, for example if your child currently plays a role-playing game like Dungeons & Dragons, we offer the use of many other RPGs besides just D&D. This can sometimes help alleviate their fears a little, they can have their "D&D regular gaming group", but for the therapeutic sessions be playing "Doctor Who RPG", "No Thank You Evil", "Adventures in Middle-earth", "The One Ring Role-Playing Game", or others, as a layer of separation in association.

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