How Playing Video Games Can Be A Form Of Mental Health Therapy


New technology from the 20th to the 21st century have gone through nearly every procedure and have helped improve human behavioral patterns and interactions. The use of the Internet and the rest of technology, including video software, are currently utilized in almost everybody’s basic daily activities. This, however, has created both opportunities and complications when therapists handle patients who are obligated to use their smartphones and digital apps, specifically adolescents, kids, and even adults.

There’s no age limitation on the use of technology, and mental health experts are increasingly treating different types of patients and discussing how online apps and video software can affect their physical and mental well-being.

For a long time, technology has been seen as an enemy to a healthy lifestyle, but on the contrary, there is a great possibility for it to be used by mental health therapists and other professionals to interact and manage their patients. One of these technologies is gamification, a rising trend that therapists have experimented with to connect with tech-savvy clients. Now, gamification, or the use of game structures, is being used as a training ground for employees to get acquainted with workplace guidelines, or for any individual who wants to practice structure. Gaming, as a way of helping a therapist improve counseling, is fairly fresh, which is why therapists and other clinicians are extremely careful when utilizing this method.

The Possible Future Of Video Gaming For Mental Health

There seems to be a bad wind for video gaming in media, but researchers are now beginning to look into the chance of developing a video game to help tackle mental health issues. Some of them attest from experience that they have been encouraged by the possibility that video gaming can improve one’s well-being, including the treatment of mental health conditions. It is important to note, though, that there are a few examples of games that were structure this way. Not all games are meant to cure, and there is still a lot of research that needs to be done because not all games have great potential.

Video Gaming In The Mental Health Setting

The biggest challenge is developing certain video games that are geared toward enhancing mental health counseling and treatment. Programs must be of high quality and should be designed to prioritize the user or client. Counselors, therapists, and other healthcare professionals are now further investigating these video games.



This is a video game that is used as a counseling tool and is based on a fantasy world consisting of seven levels. Its primary mental health purpose is to reduce depression. Quests, adventures, and mazes are used on this game to teach the user some skills on how to manage his depression and find ways to add happiness and fun into his life. A character may be teaching the user here to start with breathing exercises to get a reward. Some skills need to be collected, and once the user completes all these skills, the user can now build something called the ‘shield against depression,’ which has proven to be effective in real-life situations.

A British study on this game showed that those who played the video game for a specific number of weeks improved better than those who went for counseling face-to-face. Thus, SPARX can be used in conjunction with a specific formal therapy to hasten positive results.

Mobile Game For Anxiety

Developed by Hunter College and the City University of New York, users who tried this mobile game report of a reduction of anxiety and stress symptoms after 25 minutes of playing. PersonalZen, an ABMT (attention-bias modification training) mobile app, also gained positive reviews after users tried it out.


Hunter lead researcher Tracy Dennis states that applying mental health treatments into video games successfully can truly transform how people see mental illness and how they see their own physical and mental well-being. However, they should still be used cautiously, as there is always a risk to any type of technology when utilized more than needed.

Despite the fact that gamification still has a lot to prove with regards to where it stands in counseling and therapy, evidence indicates that the advantages of playing video games outweigh the disadvantages. They are most useful to adolescents and young children. School counselors may also try learning about video gaming. As more technologies are introduced to us every day and they continue to revolutionize our lives, mental health professionals need to find solutions and methods to accept these technologies and worth with them for better mental health outcomes.




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