The advent of technology has permeated nearly every aspect of human life. Countless avenues have seen and been benefited exponentially from technological innovations including business, healthcare, corporate, and numerous other sectors. We have the world at our expense in the very palm of our hands because of technological advancements and the video game industry is one of its stark examples. 

The birth of the game industry was initially for the purpose of proving to the world that technology and computer science can be used for more than just warfare and destruction. Ironically, with the growing popularity of video games, a large population of people had a negative opinion because of how addictive and impactful they became in the life of young adolescents and even adults. 

Violence associated with video games has a complicated history, but we cannot deny the potential that video games have had in developing problem-solving skills, hand-to-eye coordination, multi-tasking abilities as well as quick decision-making. Studies have shown that video games have made a major impact in the field of therapy. Research has shown that playing Tetris after going through a traumatic event helps cope with the trauma or reduce flashbacks of the trauma. 

How Video Games Have Impacted the Mental Health Sector

Despite the negative assumption surrounding the gaming industry, scientific studies have shown that playing certain games has made a significant impact on treating mental illness and even Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Countless games have been designed for the sole purpose of treating behavioral illnesses through the immersive virtual experiences that they offer for the users. 

While many might argue that mobile games might result in users being addicted to phones, we cannot deny the practical and productive use that they have in our lives. From connecting with people around the world to curing people’s boredom with entertainment, it has also catered to mental health needs as well. Developers have teamed up with psychologists and mental health experts to come up with innovative and user-friendly game concepts for mental healing. Let us take the mobile game developed by the City University of New York and Hunter College. With more than 40 million people around the world suffering from anxiety, this game was created keeping those individuals in mind. Research has shown that these therapeutic games have exponentially helped in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. 

Clinical Psychological Science has also made considerable progress in their research by monitoring patients through attention-bias modification training (ABMT) with the help of a mobile application named PersonalZen. In this game, players are made to burrow into an avatar’s path with a soothing background track. This app has considerably helped even in treating patients with advanced stages of anxiety and no means to consult a therapist.

Games are often used in therapy to help patients take a breather from the grimness surrounding the very idea of seeking therapy. Therapists swear by the usefulness of immersive and therapeutic games to enable their clients to have fun and establish a cordial relationship with their patients. It is a relaxing activity with which children, young adolescents, and even adults seek some form of respite. Therefore, therapists have commonly used games as a form of relaxing activity for their patients during therapy sessions to help them open up without hesitating or any inhibitions. 

Therapeutic Games Designed For Mental Health Issues

Therapeutic games are considerably popular in the mental health sector and have been popularly used by therapists all around the globe because of how effective they are. Therapeutic games don’t typically have long game plays but have spectacular sound and graphics to make the maximum impact on the patients’ healing. These games have proven to be better-coping skills than other unhealthy coping mechanisms. Here are a few examples of therapeutic games:

  1. Night in the Woods — This game was designed for patients suffering from depression and anxiety. It mainly helps players develop healthy coping mechanisms where they are required to play a character named Mae, a college dropout who returned to her birthplace that has drastically changed into a scarier and more sinister place. 
  2. Depression Quest — It is an interactive fiction game where the player plays as a person suffering from depression and seeks ways to manage his life including his illness, job, relationships, and possible treatment. This game aims to show patients with depression that their feelings are important and understood and that they aren’t alone in their strife. It is also an example to show others how depression affects people. 
  3. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice — This is one of the most beautiful games made for the purpose of developing coping skills for psychosis such as schizophrenia. The main character is Senua, a Celtic warrior, and her heroic quest to save her lover.
  4. Gris — This is a soothing game where the player plays as a young girl and her journey of recovery from grief and loss with the help of puzzles and challenges.
  5. Celeste: This story-based video game helps players suffering from anxiety and depression where they are required to play as the main character who battles her own demons as she climbs up a mountain. 
  6. Sea of Solitude: This is one of the best games for behavioral therapy. Players play as the main character named Kay who transforms into a monster as a result of her negative feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, anger, and worthlessness taking over. The game helps develop skills to recover from these negative feelings.
  7. Set: Set is a game prescribed to patients who require cognitive behavioral therapy. Patients suffering from Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum traits, and other problems are greatly benefitted from this game because it aids in building cognitive sharpness. Children as young as four or five years old to adults can easily play this game of strategies for finding sets on a set table.
  8. Uno: Uno is a popular card game with basic card game rules but much simpler. It has four colors instead of four suits where players are required to discard one card at a time or draw cards. The main object of the game is to get rid of all cards first. Young kids can easily play this game with friends, therapists, teachers, and even parents. Through this game, patients learn hand coordination by shuffling, handling, and dealing with cards, how to take turns in order, and also how to deal with the challenges whenever their turn is skipped or when they are required to take on extra cards. 


It is a proven fact that gamification is a valuable step in the process of counseling and mental healing. It has significantly helped patients and victims of trauma as well as others with no way to consult a counselor or a mental health expert. Incorporating games into therapy sessions is a promising way of reaching out to or healing children, adolescents, and in some cases, adults as well. It has been greatly utilized in behavioral therapy for school counselors who deal with kids on a regular basis. With the continued growth of technology in the day-to-day aspect of our lives, technological advancements have also permeated into the mental health sector and have indeed made a major revolutionary impact.

Also Read: New Gaming Technology To Adapt To In 2022