Would RPG be effective for treating PTSD, especially war veterans? Or would it be counter productive?

by Hawke Robinson published 2011/07/30 11:00:00 GMT-7, last modified 2021-01-06T09:55:33-08:00
A number of people have suggested undertaking research on whether using RPGs could be helpful or harmful for war veterans struggling with PTSD.

A number of psychologists I've spoken to over the years about potentially using role-playing games as a therapy for different populations, have suggested trying it with those suffering from PTSD, especially those returning from war zones and the like.

This is intriguing, but I would be wary about doing so prematurely, before enough of the data is in that we have a clearer understanding of which variables would be more likely to help. That being said, it is an intriguing idea, and definitely on the TO DO list for the future. Anyone aware of any studies performed yet using role-playing games for sufferers of PTSD?  I believe I've read a number from general role-play (not gaming) therapies and psychodrama therapies, so it seems the close potential overlap could benefit from their experiences.

Status Update: Since this article was originally written back in 2011, I have been taking a number of classes related to trauma and PTSD, and some advanced training through the VA's online programs, to steadily build the background and skills necessary to undertake using RPGs for the populations with PTSD. More updates on the http://www.rpgresearch.com website will be available as they occur.

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