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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Culture ")

Greenhouse Plugin Reveals Your Congressman's Money Sources
'Fuller details may be obtained by punching the code number...'- John Brunner, 1975

Michael Jackson, Resurrected
Singing an original song, no less.

Napping Station Now At UofM Library
'Then he strolled across the dayroom to the hypnoteleset...'- Pohl and Kornbluth, 1952.

Russia Bans Cursing, Demolition Man Morality Device Next
'John Spartan, you are fined five credits for repeated violations of the verbal morality statute.'- Demolition Man, 1993.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Monsieur Bartending Robot
'He poured the liquids into his maw...'

Cities Detect Gunfire Acoustics With ShotSpotter
'Sound trackers on the roof...'

Cruise Automation's 'Highway Autopilot' For $10K
'It cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car...'

Pengheng Space Capsule Hotel Staffed Entirely By Robots
'A planet-wide chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Electric Bacteria That Live On Pure Energy
'April 5, 1977; that was the night the waveries came.'

EXACTO Smart Bullet From DARPA
Nicely visualized in what 1984 movie?

Neural Implant To Treat Memory Loss
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

MIT's Shape-Shifting Robot Materials
The T-100, an advanced prototype, is made of liquid metal. Not quite ready.

LS3 AlphaDog Robot Marine Corps Video
'He admired the fast-plodding, articulated legs, so necessary since roads had degenerated...'

Vantablack Is Blacker Than Your Black
'Well, we have a black coating now that’s ninety-nine percent absorptive...'

Remotely Operated Gardening Rover - Student's Space Agricultural Robot
'There were things growing all over the place, not just in some domed enclosures blasted some millions of miles out in to space.'

Revisiting A Cloud City On Venus
Lando Calrissian, are you still available?

'Windowless Cockpit' Like Star Trek's Patent Applied For
Mr. Sulu, take us out.

'No Man's Sky' - The Matrix Is Almost Ready
Ready for an adventure, Neo?

The Claustrum - The Brain's On Off Switch?
'All I have to do is move this switch and he'll recover consciousness...'

Haptic Gloves Teach Braille Without Effort
'Jenkins bit his lip... [at] the sensation of having his fingers manipulated by the gauntlets he wore.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.