Is there a space for the delivery and application of the new media and video game-based interventions (VGI) within the treatment of mental health issues? Recent research suggest that there might be as video game-based interventions have been greatly popularised and yielded positive results in the treatment of affective disorders as well as eating disorders. Results have also proved positive in the rehabilitation of brain after injuries and as a consequence of neurodegenerative disorders.

It also appears that video game-based interventions have proved effective in the treatment of mental health issues fraught with problems of emotional regulation and impulse control - often associated with progression and maintenance of addiction. Such interventions could help individuals learning new coping styles in response to negative emotions and facilitate improvement of self-control strategies. In this presentation, the various applications of VGI’s within mental health settings, as well as their potential inclusion in addiction treatment programmes will be discussed.

It seems significant for clinicians to be aware of the technological advances and other contemporary approaches to the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of mental health issues as well as any new potential ways of facilitating the treatment of addictions. Considering the ease of accessibility to the new media and video games (or VGI) by all populations, video game-based interventions can prove as add-on or enhancement tools to more classical approaches to mental health treatment. Furthermore, recent utilisation of video game-based interventions within the work on neurodegenerative disorders seems especially useful for practitioners working with older populations (due to high prevalence rate of dementia for this particular patient/client group). Video game-based interventions as rehabilitation or treatment tools still seems a relatively new idea however, considering recent growth in games’ popularity amongst mental health practitioners and their increased accessibility and the ease with which people get immersed in games, this idea seems worth promoting in our field.

Learning objectives:

  1. Update knowledge on contemporary approaches to mental health treatment with the use of commercially available digital resources.
  2. Discuss the implications of potential application of new media resources to the treatment of addictions and considering their add-on functionality to the more classical methods of treatment.
  3. Question an often biased approach to video games (or VGI’s) as tools designed for ‘mindless fun’ and/or ‘addictive escapism’ by encouraging an experimental utilisation of such widely accessible and varied tools/intervention to own clinical practice.

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