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What is Gaming Addiction Counseling?

What is Gaming Addiction Counseling?

Counseling is helpful for just about anyone trying to overcome personal challenges, including mental illness, substance use or addiction, and more. As technology changes, so too do the ways in which it can influence our mental health.

Of course, anyone can enjoy technology and media in moderation, and it’s not inherently problematic to implement these activities into your routine.

Some people, for instance, may have a passion for the process of video game development or playing the games themselves. 

However, when playing video games crosses a border and goes from a harmless pastime to something that consumes a majority of an individual’s life, a more severe problem comes to the surface: genuine addiction.

Because gaming is a relatively new phenomenon in the grand scheme of things, there’s still a lot of progress to be made regarding the way society handles an addiction to it. 

In addition to the overview of gaming addiction counseling provided in this article, mental health resources like those at Mind Diagnostics can help you begin to understand the difference between healthy and addictive gaming, the consequences of a gaming addiction, and what options are available to help get you back on track.

Gaming Addiction Counseling: A Brief Overview

Research is still ongoing regarding the best treatment for video game addictions. However, experts generally agree that people can use treatment methods commonly associated with other common behavioral concerns to address their addiction.

These treatment methods include cognitive-behavioral therapy, an specifically designed addiction relief program (a “12-step” program), support groups, and more.

Gaming addictions don’t just affect adults, though. Group or family counseling is perfect for parents who wish to consult a professional about their child’s potentially problematic behaviors related to a lack of moderation when it comes to playing video games.

Online addiction counseling, no matter what strategies it entails, generally attempts to help an individual understand how gaming impacts their life as well as determining what underlying factors may be contributing to the addiction. Counseling can help reveal how video games are central to an individual’s feelings, emotions, and sense of life goals and rewards. 

With proper treatment and effort, it’s entirely possible for a person to learn how to change gaming into a hobby rather than a lifestyle if desired. Oftentimes, other factors are the true driving force behind the addiction, and things tend to get easier as they are addressed.

Techniques Used in Gaming Addiction Counseling

As mentioned, different counselors may utilize different therapeutic techniques throughout counseling to best suit an individual’s personal challenges. 

Each professional has different experience and preferences, but in general, you can expect some of the following techniques to be commonplace in most treatment plans:

 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Most experts believe that cognitive-behavioral therapy is the ideal way to treat video game addiction. 

CBT is a form of talk therapy in which the therapist or counselor helps an individual fundamentally change their way of thinking by identifying troublesome emotions. Then, the therapist will try to help the person change their outlooks so that they can reduce the frequency of these negative emotions.

In the case of video game counseling, therapists may first start by identifying and focusing on the thoughts and feelings that potentially led to the video game addiction. From there, unpacking why gaming consistently arises as a coping mechanism or a comfort tool generally occurs.

The lasting impact of CBT involves setting goals for the patient, such as only playing a certain amount of time per week on games. CBT can also teach a patient important skills to use to avoid triggering or otherwise risky situations (or to handle them appropriately should they arise).

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Wilderness Therapy

An alternate treatment option for video game addiction is the wilderness therapy, which removes the person from the source of their addiction entirely. The goal of this therapy is to allow individuals to confront and understand how they feel without playing games constantly.

Wilderness therapists believe that placing an individual in a natural environment free of modern distractions allows them to feel more comfortable with their emotions. 

A person may also come to the realization that they do not want to play games if they feel happier without needing to experience them.

On the other hand, a person may come to appreciate games and realize that they can better enjoy them while also taking better care of themselves and experiencing other parts of life, too. 

Supporters of the method believe that this therapy is the best chance for an individual to recover from any kind of addictive habit, not just video games. 

Alternative Methods

A gaming addiction counselor might also employ some of the following techniques, among others, to promote self-reflection, change, and personal growth:

  • Aversion therapy
  • Trauma theray
  • Group/family therapy
  • Expressive or creative therapy
  • Journalling
  • Mindfulness skills

Conclusion

Gaming addiction counseling can encompass many different types of techniques, all poised to help an individual overcome their addictive behavior. 

A counselor can also help their patients manage complex emotions and develop healthy coping skills that can help maintain good mental health in the long run. 

Much like other addictions, gaming addiction can be debilitating and often requires a combination of significant personal effort and professional intervention. Recovery is possible, though, and so is redefining your relationship with gaming as a whole.