Exploring the benefits of different game types in therapy.

I have found this article on the NCBI website, written by H. Lynn Horne-Moyer, Brian H. Moyer, Drew C. Messer and Elizabeth S. Messer, which is really interesting and thorough in describing the use of Electronic Games (EG) in therapy. Many studies and research projects have been done on the benefits of EG in rehabilitation.

In this research, it was shown that electronic methods were “equivalent but not superior in efficacy for a wide variety of medical health and mental health issues”  and that “a greater therapist engagement may be associated with better outcomes”

However, some of this research also indicates that “electronic methods are often equivalent to more traditional treatments and may be more enjoyable or acceptable, at least to some consumers.”

Two types of EG can be distinguished: electronic psychotherapy games (EGP) also called "serious games" that are developed primarily for therapeutic purposes, particularly in the area of mental health, and electronic entertainment games (EGE) that are developed primarily for recreational purposes but which can also be used as a therapeutic tool.

“Most approaches to incorporating technology into the therapist’s office use games or programs specifically designed to serve one or more therapeutic needs.”  If we take the example of Lusio, each game we create is suitable for the physical therapy of body parts (we can't prove yet the psychological benefits which we suspect are there). But other electronic games exist and have been designed to help individuals with:

  • Impulse-related disorders
  • Various anxiety disorders, mood and depression
  • Auditory hallucinations...

This method can also enhance psycho-education, attitude change, relaxation, pain management, social skills, problem-solving skills, emotional modulation, self-control skills, motivation, and therapist-client interaction.

This article explores that with advanced graphics and audio-visual performance, the ability to create virtual multi-sensory environments and audio-visual representation of imaginary worlds. Thus, clinicians can "create a therapeutic environment conducive to skill development, minimising behavioural problems and creating a positive, enjoyable and motivating atmosphere".


By Lucie Gonzalez (Guest Blogger and Researcher)