How To 'Level Up' In Psychotherapy
A new mental health program seeking to help veterans combat depression is using a classic video game concept - 'leveling up'.
Dunlap realized that this concept could also help people recovering from injuries or other trauma by making the big goal — recovery — into a series of fun, smaller tasks. Adding a gaming element to the therapy helps people focus on smaller accomplishments, she said.
“It’s about giving yourself some kind of way to make it through without getting bogged down, as opposed to something big and terrible,” said Dunlap, who is a doctoral candidate at the American School of Professional Psychology. “One of the biggest struggles is motivation. Video games do that really, really well [and] keep you trying even though you know what you’re doing is difficult.”
She is now testing that theory in the mental health clinic of the veterans hospital where she holds weekly meetings with a small group of veterans who are dealing with issues such as depression, often while rehabilitating from physical injuries as well.
The program emphasizes building emotional resilience among the soldiers. Early in the program, she said, showing up can earn someone a point. “Showing up, in recovery, is the biggest step,” she said. “At first, if you show up you get a point. Then there are weekly challenges.”
As patients progress, they have to do more to attain the next level and gain the next reward, as players often have to do in games. The challenges might be as simple as doing something you enjoy during the week.
Psychotherapists have been paying attention to both gaming and science fiction. The technique of "projective psychotherapy", pioneered by A. James Giannini, M.D, used sf great Philip Jose Farmer's World of Tiers books as the jumping off point.
Farmer then worked with Giannini to create a new novel in the series. Red Orc's Rage, published in 1991, tells the fictional account of an adolescent using Tiersian therapy to get better:
"THE TIERSIAN THERAPY patients form a small and elite volunteer group," Doctor Porsena said. "Usually, they start out with volume one, The Maker of Universes, and read the rest in proper sequence. They choose a character in the books and try to BE that character. They adopt all the mental and emotional characteristics of the role model whether they're good or bad. As therapy progresses, they come to a point where they start getting rid of the bad qualities of the character they've chosen. But they keep the good features.
"It's rather like a snake shedding its skin. The patient's uncontrolled delusions, the undesirable emotional factors which brought him or her here, are gradually replaced by controlled delusions. The controlled delusions are those which the patient adopts when he or she becomes, in a sense, the character in the series.
More recently, a London psychotherapist began offering therapy within World of Warcraft. Also, see this article on Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy For Iraq Vets.
Via the Washington Post; thanks to Blue Monkey for the tip and the reference on this story.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/3/2012)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
3RDiTEK Lifeblogging Headband Camera
'It's logging anyway - everything you see on duty goes into the black box.' - Charles Stross, 2007.
Robot Lawyers And Robot Judges Now Everywhere
'The law clerk arrived, a smallish robot with a battered stainless steel hide and dull coppery features.' - Frederik Pohl, 1954.
Roam-e Flying Selfie Drone Cam
'Tight mid-shot and pull out on but behind me...' -Karen Traviss, 2004.
DoNotPay Lawyer Program Contests Parking Tickets
'I want my lawyer program.' - David Brin, 1990.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Self-Healing Textiles! Say Goodbye To Torn Jeans
'The constant renewal of the fibers, repairing any faults...'
Fleets Of Ford Autonomous Cars In 5 Years
'He urgently addressed the vehicle's AI."Can't we go any faster?'
Electric Head Patch Helps PTSD Patients
'Don't confuse this with the little ten amp neurosis models.'
MEDi Robot Calms The Nervous Patient
'Specially programmed stabilizing surrogate devices.'
NASA's Interplanetary Internet DTN
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Superior Morals For Autonomous Cars
Exemplars of military and civic virtue.
Housekeeping Robots Easy To Imagine, Tough To Make
George Jetson had it easy.
Augmented Reality On Construction Sites
'To Nigel Bishop, the walls had become blue glass...'
Moorebot Personal Assistant Robot
'...a full-size 38-tube fully automatic companion for you!'
One-Shot Gene Therapy Cure $665K
One shot - one cure. Guaranteed.
Laser 'Autonomous Target Selection' Now Available To Curiosity Rover
And, given the birthday situation, is this a good time?
Ultrasonic Wireless ‘Neural Dust’ Sensors For Medical Monitoring
'These dustmotes already had sensors and independence built in.'
Breathable Carbon Nanotube Membrane For 'Smart Uniforms'
'The 'skin's got these reflexes, changes its permeability...'
Record 1007 Robots Dance In Harbinger Of Doom
Okay, Sonny, I know you're out there.
Cicret Makes Your Skin Into A Display
'On the translucent mica-like coverings over the orifices, appeared reddish characters...'
Tesla's To Eye Future With New Sensors?
'I want to show you something new in the way of an automobile.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories