Putting the Gaming Experience at the Center of the Therapy-The Video Game Therapy® Approach

Healthcare (Basel). 2023 Jun 15;11(12):1767. doi: 10.3390/healthcare11121767.


Video games have been increasingly used as a form of therapy for various mental health conditions. Research has shown that video games can be used to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction. One of the main benefits of video games in therapy is that they can provide a sense of engagement and immersion that traditional therapy methods may lack. Additionally, video games can teach valuable skills such as problem solving, decision making, and coping strategies. Video games can also simulate real-life scenarios, allowing individuals to practice and improve social skills in a safe and controlled environment. Furthermore, video games can provide feedback and track progress objectively and quantifiably. This paper proposes an approach, the Video Game Therapy® (VGT®) approach, where game experience is put at the center of the therapy in a tailored way, connecting the individual patient's personality, the therapy's goals, and the suggested type of video game through the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).VGT®'s core assumption is that playing video games could facilitate patients in reaching conditions where traditional methodologies and therapeutic approaches could work best. VGT® was elaborated according to the Adlerian therapy vision and, consequently, the different phases of Adlerian therapy and VGT® match. Despite the use of video games in psychotherapy might have some adverse effects in specific cases, VGT® is currently used in three associations with positive results in promoting emotional experimentation and literacy, social feeling, sense of identity, and activating cognitive processes. Future developments include expanding the use of VGT® further to validate such results from a statistical point of view.

Keywords: creative couple; flow; individual psychoanalytic therapy; psychology; therapy; videogame.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.