Therapeutic Aspects of D&D


Hi everybody i’m Ryan and in this episode: Dungeons and Dragons as therapy, let’s talk about it First of all, I have to say I am NOT a licensed or trained or anything like that mental health professionals, so if you’re looking for a Medical advice or opinions. Please reach out to a therapist and make an appointment. There’s nothing wrong with it There’s no shame and a lot of people, you know might see a therapist. I know I do when I talk about using D&D as therapy, maybe a better way of phrasing it is as a therapeutic tool or a Therapeutic outlet. I don’t know if you’re a therapist if you’re a professional in this field Maybe in the comments below you can tell me a better way of phrasing this just so that I’m presenting my thoughts As accurately as possible So what am I talking about? Well for me when I see a therapist when I When I engage in that well what I’m part of what I’m doing is I’m exploring Aspects of myself. I’m dealing with things that are going on in my life I’m learning more about myself I’m expressing different aspects of of what’s in my head and all that kind of stuff And so if I’m taking those aspects of therapy when I’m engaged in a game whether it’s as a dungeon master or Playing my character when I’m sitting around that table with my friends A lot of those similar things are going on And by the way, I’m talking about D&D, but you can fill in the blank with any game You want Shadowrun numenera thunder scape. It really doesn’t matter. I’m saying D&D for the purpose of streamlining everything so D&D as Therapy and what am I talking about? Well for me a lot of the times D&D is a way for me to sort of Process what’s going on in my life There will be times a lot of the times where there are certain struggles that I’m dealing with or maybe even life events and they find their way into The game and maybe it’s not a one for one thing and as a player I’m I’m not telling the DM Oh, hey, I would really look I would really like it if you could have my character deal with How stressful it is looking for a job or something like that what I mean is that you know as I process through I Know yeah, let’s go with that difficulties in my professional career There’s a lot of times where that sort of manifests itself with my characters whether that’s my My Rogue character from a number of years ago who in in that game was climbing the ranks of the Assassin’s Guild that he was a part of and He didn’t hopefully I mean that really turned into a lot of different trials and tests that he had to deal with He had to learn how to play the game in a certain way how to hold his tongue how to know how to get the job done and Even if it wasn’t a job that he really wanted to be doing stealing the crown from a From a prince was something that we had to do and he didn’t agree with it whatsoever But you know, it was a part of the job and okay. Well, let’s do this Well, you know in in hindsight in retrospect now and even a little bit at the time those were kinds of things that I was dealing with in my workplace not stealing crowns or Assassinations or anything like that. I’m not a professional assassin Am I a professional? No, I’m not. I’m not I probably shouldn’t say that online Anyway, but at work, you know at work I do deal with trying to climb the ranks of my professorship and those types of things and so there was a parallel between My life the hardships. I was dealing and then sort of getting to work those out in game and there’s some satisfaction that can be found in that as my hero, you know as my rogue is Able to accomplish things and whenever the DM says all right later that night There is a ceremony make this check make that roll do this thing. What’s your Constitution? You stay awake through the entire thing and you have a new brand on Your chest and you know that this allows you passage into the inner sanctum, you know, that’s not what’s happening in academia But there’s some satisfaction around the table for me and And the love and support of the people that I’m playing with who are really proud of my character and saying, you know Good job. You’ve been working hard, and it’s finally paying off so For me D&D is therapy. Well, it’s because there’s aspects of what’s going in my life that find their way into the game not necessarily on purpose or forcefully But they show up and sometimes they can help me deal with what’s going on in the real world something else that Dungeons & Dragons can help you deal with I think and again I’ve had personal experiences here is dealing with Some fairly complex and often uncomfortable emotions your emotional life and especially like Hardships and really difficult stuff that happens in game I think in a very real way Can help prepare you for similar hardships and similar similar difficulties in life now again I’m I’m not a professional. I don’t know the intricacies of you know, emotionally dealing with something for pretend In order to help cope with something in your real life I’m not giving any kind of medical advice. All right, let’s get to the heavy hitters here for me. I’ve dealt with death in-game characters that I’ve cared deeply about spent years with who have died or beloved NPC’s who have died and there’s a real emotional connection there and there is a real sense of Loss and in a lot of ways the way that I’m able to I don’t know Maybe it’s maybe it’s kind of like dipping your toe in the water or getting a practice run a dealing with grief. Look I’m certainly not trying to say that for anybody else dealing with the loss of a character or dealing with the death of an NPC is Exactly the same as dealing with the death of a friend or a family member or a classmate mate or a colleague I wouldn’t put that on any of you and say that you should feel these things the same way but I do know that for me the loss of Some of the characters in some of my campaigns especially the really long running campaigns those felt very similar to win two when I lost my grandmother in undergrad for example, or You know I have had other Schoolmates who have who have died and While perhaps I wasn’t coping with those in the best way in my real life You know, whenever those people one of the one of those people left my life in school My games were a way to Mourn And maybe it was a little safer for me maybe that’s a part of what it was Through who through the actions of my character I was able to mourn for dead NPC In a way that I wasn’t quite ready in real life to mourn for you know someone in my class who had passed away and I I don’t again as a professional. I don’t know that it’s the healthiest thing in the world but it helped me, you know, it helped me in the time and so again, Gaming as a tool as a therapeutic tool as an outlet Is is something that I’ve got experience with when it comes to those Really complex and heavy emotions and it’s certainly something that I’ve value, you know even in some of my own personal therapy sessions there have been the there has been the use of roleplay and imaginative exercises and those were coming from licensed professionals and and so maybe even in that there is a little bit of a similarity between Using the tabletop roleplay as a way of dealing with life events and emotion and all that kind of stuff Lastly what I say D&D is my therapy And even when I say kind of just jokingly Probably what I mean the most is is that it’s my time where I get a group session Right I get group therapy. I get to sit I sit in the circle Sit around with my friends people that I know Support me and We’re all there for the same thing And that we all are in this together. And so I might have had a really difficult week at work Or I’ve just had you know fights fights with families and loved ones And then the the table is a place where we like, okay All of that stuff can just go all of that stuff can just go away For three four or five hours and I can be here I can be present in this moment and I can be focused on accomplishing some goals and some tasks and I can put Ryan on the back burner for a little while because now I need to get the headspace of Catsbulger or of Aqualane or a Storm or whomever it is that I’m playing for that session and that’s invaluable to me Gaming and sitting around the table is one of my absolutely favorite things it’s one of my great passions in life and so For me, it’s that group therapy time Meaning I get to sit with the group and be concentrating on this and it’s a bit of an escape perhaps but it’s a chance to put the worries of the day out of my head and focus on something else and I get to recharge and rejuvenate whether that’s a really fun silly festival session or Something that is deep and difficult Combat, heavy brain melting puzzles. It doesn’t matter. It’s it’s exercising a different side of myself a different aspect of myself Exploring different aspects of myself and that’s really valuable. At least. I’ve found that it’s really valuable So, however, we want to use that word therapy or a therapeutic tool or what have you And again if you know the right word Let me know what it is. Let me know what it is in the comments But have you experienced that do you use D&D as a way of Coping? hopefully in a healthy way coping with difficulties or exploring different aspects of yourself or escaping from The difficulties and the monotony of what’s going on? How do you use D&D if you have if you thought about it in that way before how do you use RPGs in a way similar to what I’ve been talking about I’d really love to read about those in the comments below And especially with this topic if you read something from someone else that you don’t really agree with Hey maybe just let that go and You don’t need to comment on what they’re doing because I don’t know I can see this one getting a little bit personal But if you want to comment with what you do I would I would really love to jump in on that and have some of those conversations That would be really cool. If you like this conversation, then I really hope you check out. Dr. Megan Connell She has a wonderful set of series as well as a really cool ongoing series Clinical Role will definitely put some links to her stuff in the doobly-doo as Well as there’s probably going to be a pop up Dawn will probably do that in editing more Yeah, so please go and check her out. Thanks so much before watching this video Don’t forget to Like share and subscribe, you know sharing is that really important thing That’s the way that people find out about us and see that you’re engaging with us So more than anything, please hit share. That would be really great. So until next time I’m Ryan and this is Roll 4 Initiative Bye Don’t know why I just blanked I totally just blanked