Therapy games that can be utilized for both in-person and online teletherapy or online counseling and how to utilize them are reviewed in this post. Playing games and psychotherapy may seem entirely unrelated. The truth, however, is that therapy games can complement counseling and improve client progress. It is not uncommon to find a clinician with a closet full of games and art materials, especially if they work with younger populations. With the rising popularity of virtual counseling, it has been necessary to take these resources online. Let’s explore some of the online games you can use during virtual therapy and how they may help you address multiple problems.
Why Do We Use Therapy Games in Therapy?
Therapy games aren’t just for fun. As we will explore below, many can be used to address specific issues in therapy. Additionally, playing games may serve several general therapeutic functions. Many people are anxious about going to therapy. They are hesitant to share personal information and are reluctant to open up. Therapy games take the focus off the client and can help a therapist make clients feel less self-conscious. They are a valuable tool in establishing rapport with more guarded patients and help therapists set up ice breaking activities.
Therapy games also offer alternative outlets for expression when verbalizing thoughts and feelings proves difficult. Important themes and areas of focus often emerge through play. In fact, this is the basis for all of play therapy. Games also introduce different ways to cope with problems. By playing games, clients may learn creative ways to deal with difficult situations.
Here are a few interactive online (virtual) games that therapists can use utilize:
Classic strategy games have been used for years as part of therapy with both children and adults. Games like checkers, chess, and Connect Four can help a therapist assess and enhance certain cognitive and emotional abilities. For example, abstract thinking, planning, concentration, and problem-solving may be expanded through strategy games. If you have ever played these games, you know that coping and frustration tolerance are often tested and further developed. SkillGamesBoard is a one-stop site for accessing strategy games.
Creative outlets help clients express themselves non-verbally and also introduce therapeutic ways to deal with problems. An interactive whiteboard allows adults and children to express their feelings through art and can be used as a form of therapeutic assessment. Another expressive outlet is the use of online sand trays, which are often seen as a resource that combines play therapy and art therapy. Clients use virtual sand and toys to create the world as they see it. It is especially useful in assessing and treating trauma. Finally, creating comic strips allows clients to work through pertinent themes when they have problems with vocalization or expression of feelings.
Certain online games can be used to explore problematic family relationships. For instance, Monopoly and Life bring out themes of home life and family interactions. They provide a format for family members to safely work through familial roles and allow the therapist to assess family dynamics. The therapist can use them to point out areas in need of improvement and then work with the family on changing maladaptive roles.
Online Games That You Can Adapt and Personalize
One advantage of online games is that they can be edited to address specific issues. Ordinarily, Jeopardy would not be considered highly therapeutic. But when you can choose the categories to reflect pertinent issues it becomes a productive therapy tool. Jeopardy Labs is a site that lets you tailor the categories you want to address, such as emotions and social skills. You can play alone with the client or add family members. Online Uno is another game that can be adapted to help a client express their feelings. Commonly termed Feelings Uno, participants are asked to express certain emotions based on the card colors drawn.
With screen-sharing capabilities, any online book can become a virtual therapy tool. Through stories, children and adults can be educated in learning how to cope with specific people and situations. These can be found all over the internet if you search for a particular topic.
A Bit of Everything
One site that has a variety of virtual resources for therapists is Therapist Aid. These include interactive online tools for use in therapy with adults and children. Some of the tools are games, such as bingo for adolescents and adults working on anger and addiction problems. Kids have activities that address emotions and worries. There are also online stories that address important topics. Other interactive tools include guided meditations and exercises for struggling couples. You need a membership to access much of their content but it possesses a wealth of other resources (e.g., worksheets and treatment guides) that every therapist can use.
Playing Board Games Virtually
While online resources are increasingly available, you can still rely on old-fashioned board games. Certain traditional games were created specifically for therapeutic work. The Talking, Feeling and Doing Game and Stop, Relax & Think come to mind. Although it might be a bit more awkward, you can still play these games virtually. The therapist just moves the pieces and reads the cards for you. Until these games are available online, it might be worth some inconvenience to obtain their therapeutic benefits virtually.
TheraPlatform (teletherapy, practice management and EHR in one) offers a lot of interactive aids and tools that therapists can utilized in both in-person and online therapy (teletherapy). They offer a built-in whiteboard that can be used for creative therapeutic activities, including drawing and painting. They also have an option to access reward-based games that can be used with various populations, including activities that assist with problem-solving and social skills. What’s more, TheraPlatform gives the user the ability to easily screen-share these games and apps with the client.
No one is claiming that virtual counseling is the same as in-person therapy. However, it has its advantages. And one of these is having easy access to games and other activities without having to amass all the physical materials. Online counseling is the present and future of psychotherapy. Why not benefit from all that it has to offer?
TheraPlatform, an all-in-one EHR, practice management and teletherapy tool was built for therapists to help them save time on admin tasks. To learn how TheraPlatform can help you conduct creative and interactive teletherapy sign up for 30 day free trial. No credit card is required and TheraPlatform is the only EHR that does not have extra fee for telehealth.
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