Problematic Gaming Specialist Training Program: A Course Overview
Geek Therapeutics is a group based in Fort Worth focusing on equipping clinicians with tools to improve their work with clients. They work to integrate geek culture into your therapeutic practice through books, trainings, and even D20 dice! Dr. Anthony Bean, PhD is a clinical psychologist with over 14 years of experience helping clients and clinicians improve their work around geek culture.
Geek Therapeutics offers five trainings for mental health professionals and streamers, one of which is the Problematic Gaming Specialist course. This 15-hour CEU training is insightful, practical, and research-based. I recently completed this training and want to share a few of my take-a-ways.
The Problematic Gaming Specialist course is made up of some of the greatest minds in the field of mental health and gaming.
Dr. Anthony Bean, Ph.D. – Video game researcher, executive director at The Telos Project and the founder of Geek Therapeutics
Dr. Daniel Kaufman, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor at Grand Canyon University, owner of private practice AOE Counseling, and the chair / organizer for the DSM-5 Taskforce on Gaming Disorder
Dr. Jamie Madigan, Ph.D. – Author, podcaster, and leader in the field of the overlap between psychology and video games
Dr. Stephanie Diez-Morel, Ph.D. – Professor of Graduate Social Work at Edinboro University, founder and CEO of Reboot and Recover, and International researcher of gaming and internet use
Dr. Ryan Kelly, Ph.D. – Private practitioner at Southeast Psych, Co-founder of Geeks Like Us Media, and Published researcher and author in VR, gaming, and gaming therapies
Dr. Joseph Atanasio, Psy.D. – Clinical Psychologist in New York City specializing in work stress, life transition, and mindfulness
These accomplished professionals guide us through the complicated and interesting world of video games and working with our clients who game. They are experts in their fields and offer researched and evidence-based ideas and tools in working with clients who interact with video games.
Soaked in Research
Every portion of this training has research to back up their claims. Every presenter does a great job discussing ideas around the topic at hand and brings it back to what the research says. Not only are these professionals who work with clients struggling to find balance with gaming, they know what the research says about how to work with clients who game.
The training does a great job of integrating up-to-date research related to gaming. They make a point about healthy gaming and there is research to back it up. They make a point about how games can be problematic, there is research on that. They have tools and ideas on helping those with problematic gaming, and yes, there is research about that too.
Other trainings have research to back up their claims, however, the amount of research from six different Ph.D. or Psy.D. level professionals is unmatched.
Focused on Strengths
One aspect I appreciated about the Problematic Gaming Specialist training was it’s focus on strengths of those who game. I work with many teens with ADHD and who are on the spectrum. Many parents, and teens, see ADHD and a spectrum disorder as a problem to work through and manage. I admit, I’ve thought this at times too.
This course highlights how people who are not neurotypical score higher in some areas than those who are “normal” or neurotypical. Those with ADHD score high in creativity and passion and those on the spectrum score high in IQ and passion. Yes, they are weak in the areas of attention and social skills, but that’s okay.
Dr. Ryan Kelly, Ph.D. does a great job explaining how in a video game, the most powerful characters are strong in some areas and weak in others. Those characters who are even across the board or “normal” do not perform as well. The idea he unpacks is how we all have our strengths and weaknesses and it’s about improving upon our strengths rather than focusing so much on our weaknesses.
This idea of improving upon our strengths is a fantastic one to explore with our clients. Yes, we should work on improving our social skills if needed. However, we should also promote creativity, passion, and areas of strength. If someone is a natural athlete, we encourage them to be the best they can be in a particular sport. If someone is gifted in math, we should promote that. We need to see and promote the strengths in our teens and kids no matter what they are diagnosed with.
Practical Mindfulness Techniques
The final item worth mentioning is the last section in the training about mindfulness. Dr. Atanasio walks through the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. He points out research showing its benefits. Then he walks you through a few guided meditation exercises. I’ve done guided meditation before, but I found this one very helpful for letting go of emotions and challenging thoughts. I was able to utilize these tools with my clients immediately in session.
Mindfulness has great benefits and this training goes over how it can be particularly helpful for our clients who game. This section of the training gives clinicians practical tools to improve resilience and emotional regulation through mindfulness practices.
There is much more to the Geek Therapeutics Problematic Gaming Specialist training. These are just a few highlights I appreciated about the course.
If you are a clinician looking to hone your skills around gaming, you need to check out the Problematic Gaming Specialist training from Geek Therapeutics. It’s OP!