Therapeutic Role-Playing

Earlier this week, Kotaku released an article putting the spotlight on several therapy groups across the country that use Dungeons & Dragons to help children with social issues. The piece is a short, but interesting read. I highly recommend you give it a read by clicking the above link.

This article managed to inspire some thoughts of my own. Thoughts about how role-playing games have been a therapeutic outlet for myself, helping me deal with the troubles of everyday life. They’ve helped me come out of my own socially awkward shell, learn how to cooperate better with others, and become a better person.

I can’t count the times where I’ve used a session or made a character for a campaign to help myself work through an issue I was having in the real world, having no other outlet. They gave me a space to express myself, getting the problems that were causing me stress off my chest, and have fun while I was at it.

Furthermore, I think role-playing games have helped me be more empathetic towards others. Being able to take on a role that is vastly different than oneself, seeing what it feels like to live in another person’s shoes for a few hours every week, and deal with the struggles they are subject to can help expand your own views while also helping you learn a little more about yourself.

It’s also just nice to be able to exit reality for a evening every week, getting to put the hardships of life on the sidelines so you can enter another world, one where you get to have adventures with friends, and possibly become a hero in the process.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced the therapeutic elements of role-playing games. How have they helped you emotionally in the past?

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