Computer Therapy and Coping Skills

Therapy Games for Bibliotherapy

According to Winnicot, [10]  “games are therapy, a creative experience in the space-time continuum always on the theoretical line between the subjective and that which is objectively perceived”. As such, computer therapy games constitute fertile ground for internalizing coping skills in spite of the emotional issues involved. This game provides a transitional medium in which the child can work through his difficulties vicariously through the experiences of the game’s hero.

Wealder claims that the value of the game lies in its being a medium for the fulfillment of desires and in its enabling a struggle with traumatic events through desensitization and identification. [11]

Games accompanied by a therapist and used as a therapeutic tool can add further dimension to game usage.

According toGardner, [12] this is an opportunity to decrease guilt, to suggest therapeutic alternatives, and to encourage desensitization through multiple repetitions.

As was mentioned, Earthquake in Zipland is an adventure, quest-style computer game. We chose this genre of game, since Quest games demand a high level of creative thinking (more so than with common shooting or driving games) and a high tolerance for lack of clarity and uncertainty.

Lack of clarity and uncertainty, together with anxiety and despair, are also typical of the divorce experience.

One of the best techniques for coping with uncertainty is to develop one’s sense of creativity. [13]

Winnicot formulated this well – “it is creative apperception more than anything else that makes the individual feel that life is worth living.  Contrasted with this is a relationship to external reality which is one of compliance.” [14]

A further principle of an adventure game – quest style – is the use of humor – sharp, witty, sometimes cynical, sarcastic and paradoxical but often funny and amusing nonetheless. Humor maintains a player’s alertness and creates the motivation to continue playing. This element also serves our purposes, since laughter has the ability to release tension and change perspective [15], thereby serving as an excellent therapeutic tool.

Another reason for choosing a Quest game is the ability to integrate interactive dialogues between the characters – while allowing the child playing to decide where he would like to lead the conversation.

The game can also be used in bibliotherapy. [16] The story itself has a therapeutic component inasmuch as it also evokes identification, empathy, resistance, opposition and disclosure of many confusing emotions. In reading a story, one uses the sense of sight to recognize and identify the “right word” or phrase. The remaining senses are activated to the extent that the reader is able to use and develop his own imagination.

In watching a movie, two senses are used concurrently; sight and hearing. Both enable the viewer to enter a world of imagination and metaphor, into a story adventure with its unconscious impact.

A computer game provides an additional dimension.  It is multi-sensory. This means computer games involve a three-dimensional visual experience; hearing and listening to music, and a kinesthetic “hands-on” interaction. In addition, it offers active involvement in the plot process versus passive viewing.  Thus, it is multi-functional, affecting more areas of the brain, including the unconscious [17]. Thus, a computer game can have a greater impact.

The game-creating process was fascinating and challenging and required the definition of a new genre within the medium of computer games.  The challenge was to successfully produce a game that would be interesting and fun, while fulfilling the other rules of the Quest. This was in order to encourage children to play it and, at the same time, fill the needs for coping with divorce .

Continue reading “Introduction – Part 3 – A Tool For Parenting Children of Divorce″

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Computer therapy games offer children of divorce the opportunity to internalize coping skills and compliments bibliotherapy programs.


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