The Sims 3 : the forerunner

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The Sims 3 is the first video game to appear in my clinical practice in December 2011. When I set up as a freelancer in 2005, I knew that if I had to use a video game in a session. it would be this one for two reasons. The first is that I have been playing the game since its release in 2000 with a good sense of the potential in therapy for children; the second reason is that I had read the results of Michael Stora’s work, which showed how relevant the use of The Sims could be.

So, when I used The Sims professionally in 2011, I had eleven years of personal experience with this game, three versions of the game and a dozen extensions.

But why did I wait so long before I started?

First of all, I had to take the time to put my liberal practice down and to gain professional experience in order to be able to adapt my therapeutic framework in the best possible way.

Evoking in session the practice of this or that game with patients, verbally replaying games of Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Call of Duty or Minecraft is one thing, but introducing video game sessions into session therapy is a different exercise, which necessarily shakes up the framework.

Secondly, I had to overcome an asset that had turned out to be a handicap: my excessive knowledge of the game destabilised me when it came to using The Sims in practice.  “This to be seen, that to be done, the needs to be managed, the families to be developed and the generations to be managed, to make The Sims progress in their jobs and in their social relations, etc….” There were too many possibilities and too many questions that did not fit into the therapeutic framework because I could not find “the gateway” to this famous framework.

One day my daughter asked me if she could play. I set her up in front of the computer, started the game and watched her start playing. Having always seen The Sims at home, I didn’t need to explain the game to her since she had already learned it by watching me play (like the younger ones do by watching the YouTube channels dedicated to Minecraft, knowing how to play it without ever having practised it).

It’s by seeing someone playing The Sims for the first time that I was able to get back into this “naive” beginner’s context as well as by deciding that the best way to use The Sims in a session was to start from the beginning, i.e. the construction of the character(s), step by step, name/first name, physical features, clothing, character traits…

Creating a Sims or avatar

The rest would follow naturally as I will present in the articles that will follow.

This post is also available in: Français

About Bruno BERTHIER

Psychologue Clinicien en libéral Diplômé en 2001 de l'Ecole de Psychologue Praticiens

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