Clinical Use of Video Games

Clinical Use of Video Games

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7601-3.ch007
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Despite the extreme popularity of video games among adolescents, researchers in the fields of developmental and social psychology examining video games have focused mainly on the association between video game use and negative outcomes, while research on positive outcomes is more limited. Video game, and the usage of video games, in (adolescent) therapy and (adolescent) psychotherapy is anything but ubiquitous. The research and clinical potential for combining video games and the communicative possibilities of the internet are immense. Hence, the purpose of this chapter is on video game and their usages in (adolescent) therapy and psychotherapy. This chapter will cover the history of video games, video games in psychotherapy, and the different types of video games and their usages in psychotherapy.
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According to Ceranoglu (2010), the first video game materialized on an oscilloscope screen in 1958 (Kent, 2001) featuring a game of simulated tennis that amused visitors to Brookhaven National Laboratory. Thereafter, video games have become a major part of pop culture and the entertainment medium of choice for millions of people (Gettler, 2008; Poole, 2000). However, for many, video games were first created in the 1970s and since then have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry: the annual U.S. retail sales of video games reached more than $9.9 billion in 2004 alone (Greitemeyer & Osswald, 2010; Sestir & Bartholow, 2010). According to Greitemeyer and Osswald (2010), large-scale surveys show that 70% of homes with children ages 2 to 17 years have computers and 68% have video game equipment (Woodard & Gridina, 2000). Eighty-seven percent of children play video games regularly (Walsh, Gentile, Gieske, Walsh, & Chasco, 2003). Children ages 2 to 7 years spent an average of 3 to 5 hours a week playing video games (Gentile & Walsh, 2002), while 8th and 9th-grade students average 9 hours per week (Gentile, Lynch, Linder, & Walsh, 2004).

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