Therapeutic Benefits of Role-Playing Games

By: Matt Nolan

Role-Playing Games are a popular form of games that people throughout the world play. Role-Playing Games or RPGs come in many forms in both video game, board game, and table-top formats. Examples of RPGs are Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer, or World of Warcraft. This type of game provides opportunities for players to be creative as well as interactive. The games can also be utilized in a therapeutic sense and have benefits for those who engage in this form of therapy. Below we will outline a few of the different aspects and benefits to participating in RPG group therapy.

Creativity is a cornerstone of role-play games and allows players to create a character with unique characteristics and backstories. Furthermore, players can customize almost every aspect of their game down to the way their dice look. This gives the players control to create the character they would want and gives them an avenue to play as this character. In some cases, players have characters that act vastly different than they might handle a situation which gives players a unique opportunity to go outside their comfort zone within a supportive environment. Role-Play Games are in many ways a blank canvas in which players can help paint and create a world around them within the game.

Role-Play Games are collaborative and interactive with other players while giving individuals a chance to build social and problem-solving skills. Role-Play Games are designed so that the group members are given tasks and from there the group must figure out how to best proceed forward. This type of open-ended play gives players the chance to be innovative in their problem-solving while giving players the opportunity to collaborate and build social skills that not only work within the context of gameplay but outside of the therapeutic setting as well. The relationship building aspect of RPGs is one that makes each game campaign unique.

RPGs provide a safe space for player to explore not only within the game but themselves as well. Therapeutic Role-Play Games work to create an environment that gives players a chance to engage in growth with the other group members as well as themselves. Players are given a chance through this interactive type of play to explore problem-solving and decision-making through their character. Within therapeutic gameplay players are asked to explore their character’s actions and how this is similar or different to how they would handle a given situation. Furthermore, the group is always encouraged to explore the challenges as well as areas of enjoyment that they experienced and engage in discussions with other group members.

Role-Playing Games are an opportunity for individuals from middle-school through adulthood to engage in an interactive creative game. It is a game that is both social and collaborative. Here at North Texas Counseling Associates, we utilize Role-Play Game therapy and are currently taking applications for this season’s Dungeons & Dragons Therapy group. All types of experience levels are welcomed so whether you’re new to games such as Dungeons & Dragons or have played your entire life and are currently in a campaign we would encourage you to consider whether this group would be a good fit for you. If you would like more information, please reach out to our main office (817-281-6822 or admin@ntxcounseling.com) and we can provide you with more information about these groups.

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