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I am a clinical psychologist working as a freelance psychologist where I have been receiving children, adolescents and adults since 2005.
My therapeutic practice with children has always led me to regularly look for therapeutic mediators to help me in the follow-up of these clients. This activity of research, novelty and tools echoes what I was taught at university: “a good psychologist must be open and creative”.
Introducing a new tool into the therapeutic space necessarily forces one to think and rethink one’s practice with the material brought by the client; it is a very rich dynamic.
Thus, my open-mindedness and creativity were particularly in phase with the follow-up of children but this dynamic was not present for the follow-up of adolescents. Of course, video games were regularly invited to the sessions for those whose verbal skills allowed a quality exchange, but for the others…
Inspired by the experience of precursors such as F. Lespinasse (1996), B. Virole (1992) and M. Stora (2002) among the best known, I decided in December 2011 to start using video games as therapeutic mediators.
I started with The Sims 3, then a few months later Minecraft joined my therapeutic arsenal, followed by Portal 2 in June 2014, Papo & Yo, Never Alone… As you will have understood, the world of video games had just allowed me to set in motion the dynamics evoked for the follow-up of children. The same approach, the same questions, the same preoccupation with the interest of the tool with such or such a problem as when I am in the children’s games department.
The success has been greater than expected insofar as the introduction of the video game during the session has also benefited the children’s aftercare. I find myself with a therapeutic tool used by two populations of clients, children and adolescents, which was not the case with the playmobils, the wooden train, etc… This allows me to see how such and such a game is invested at certain ages, at different levels of intensity of such and such a problem.
I am still very surprised during some of my interventions to be questioned by my interlocutors on this therapeutic practice which would like to be recent, even surprising when this practice has more than fifteen years of anteriority.
This is all the more surprising as more and more psychologists are using this tool with their clients, but a “public” dynamic is not sufficiently created around this practice, in the sense that it remains too confidential. It is not a question of promoting a practice but of making it visible, at the level of what swarms within groups of psychologists on social networks.
So I came up with the idea of this blog, as a concrete way of highlighting a concrete clinical practice so that other psychologists could invest in the tool, for a certain professional and non-professional audience, because today, in 2015, many psychology conferences do not even address the question of digital technology in their reflections on the profession of psychologist. We are still a long way from integrating this practice into the training of psychologists.
I am simply going to set out in writing what I am used to doing orally, testify to a clinical practice and try to show how relevant it is in the follow-up of our small clients, how the therapeutic space can be so intensely invested by an adolescent who came to therapy because there was “video game” in the sentence: “I suggest you meet a psychologist who knows and uses video games”.
This blog is not in my name because it will not be my only practice, other colleagues will come to enrich a particular video game with their “therapeutic-video-game” practice, and / or on a different support.
Of course, sometimes we will “reinvent the wheel”, but what a pleasure it is to follow in the footsteps of our predecessors and to arrive at the same result, the same effects. I wish that it was this dynamic that transpires, this force that emanates from therapeutic practice and that one day at the psychology colloquiums there would be no more astonishment there.
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