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weakwiththedawn in extreme_nerdery

Therapy while gaming!?

Article on Yahoo News: Dr. Richard Graham has his way, massively popular online game World of Warcraft will soon get an unofficial new character class: the therapist.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the London psychiatrist is spearheading a movement that would let mental health workers join online game worlds as avatars in order to better treat players suffering from game addiction.

Dr. Graham believes the key is reaching at-risk players on their own turf.

"Those affected don't exhibit the same outward warning signs as most teenage anti-social behaviour issues do because they're in their bedrooms most of the time, seemingly out of trouble," he told the Telegraph. "Because of this we can't get through to them in the traditional educational environment or intrude on their actual bedrooms -- we need to turn to the Internet itself to tackle these problems."

The issue of game addiction itself is still quite thorny. The American Medical Association still doesn't consider game addiction to be a legitimate disorder, while other reports -- including a Swedish study claiming that Warcraft is "more addictive than crack cocaine" -- say otherwise.

Graham hopes to launch the project "by the end of the year," and has called on Warcraft maker Blizzard to possibly give therapists free access to the game. He also notes that since most therapists probably aren't Warcraft experts, the project could potentially recruit gamers to act as "peer mentors" and help identify troubled players.

So, although this e-mail is about WoW, this will no doubt inspire a small (very small, no doubt) handul of therapists who want to infiltrate other games.

How do you guys feel about this? Instead of hearing that 13 wine about how you tea bagged his dead body, you may hear "Now that you've shot me, do you feel less angry?" coming from you headset. Are you worried that this may actually happen? If it does, do you politely ignore, angrily berate, or smugly play along?

I don't believe any of this would happen, it's a pretty outlandish (See: Stupid) idea, but I would like to hear your opinions on it.

 

Comments

LOL oh man, there is SO much about this that the American Counseling Association will never, ever approve.

While there are outlets for online counseling, they aren't necessarily very effective (there have been countless studies done on this) and they are under serious security measures in order to make sure that confidentiality is maintained. This would be nearly impossible on an MMORPG like World of Warcraft.

So speaketh extreme_nerdery's resident therapist.

August 2009

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