Positive Psychology and the World of Gaming

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Positive psychology has its roots in ancient philosophical concepts, planted in conversations centered on life’s meaning, what it means to be human, and our relationships. Interestingly enough, the origin story of gaming is woven within those same philosophies, with the first written account by Herodotus as he discussed the use of games to help people cope with famine and war. Despite criticism and negative remarks like “you’ll rot your brain,” video games provide a source for meeting psychological needs during a time when reality has appeared to fall short. In this training, we will examine the appeal of video games as well as the potential benefits - discussing the research which supports the inherent value of gaming to our growth and survival. Participants will delve into the theory and concepts of Positive Psychology through the lens of video games and learn strategies for its clinical application. Positive psychology is an approach well-suited to the gamers of the world, and video games offer a natural environment for understanding the PERMA Model of positive emotions, relationships, engagement, meaning, and accomplishment. After all, who else is more familiar with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow, created within the context of Positive Psychology, than gamers and game developers.

1 Discuss the 5 elements of the PERMA model through video games. 2 Identify at least 5 strategies for incorporating video games into clinical practice using a Positive Psychology approach. 3 Examine the 24 Character Strengths and how video games can help in building strengths.

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Christina Scott MEd, LPCC-S, RPT (she/her)

Mental health therapist and aspiring vampire slayer, Christina infuses pop culture into her daily clinical practice.

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