Video games. Are they bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll! Despite a lot of research being conducted on how video games are destroying society as we know it, there is a lot of evidence that video games can be beneficial for your mental health. So what happens if you take that to the extreme? Well, you get video game therapy! That's right, some mental health professionals are treating PTSD with video games or using them as a tool during counseling sessions. It turns out that video games are good for you! So grab your console, turn on your brain, and find out how Sega and psychology intersect.
Wanna play some therapeutic games?
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When I was a kid, maybe around age 9 or 10, I developed an irrational fear of vomiting. Why? Because I never puked, at least past the age of when the brain forms long term memories. Stupid, I know.
Anyway, my parents put me in therapy, and the therapist would fire up an SNES at the beginning of every sesh. We'd play NBA Jam while he talked me through my (lack of) logic about vomiting. It totally worked. I got over my fixation and moved on with my life. If I had to guess, the enjoyment of playing video games was then associated with talking and thinking about vomit, if only tangentially. It was enough of a foot in the door to be effective.
Even more effective was when I took a couple of shots after drinking a bottle of red wine at age 19 (I never vomited in the interim, I never get sick). I definitively overcame my fear of vomiting in the back seat of my roommate's Toyota. It felt fantastic.