How Teens Can Benefit From Video Game Counseling

Depression in teenagers is a serious concern that necessitates innovative and engaging treatment solutions. In a world where teens are often more digitally connected than ever before, leveraging their familiarity with technology can lead to powerful therapeutic breakthroughs. One such innovation is the use of video games in therapy. As a parent or teen, you may be surprised to learn about this unconventional approach. However, when applied correctly, video games can offer a unique, engaging, and effective therapeutic tool.

Video Games in Therapy: More than Just Play

Video games, particularly those developed with therapeutic goals in mind, provide an immersive, interactive environment where teens can explore emotions, confront challenges, and build resilience. Here’s how:

  1. Emotional Exploration: Video games can facilitate indirect emotional expression, especially for teens who find it challenging to articulate their feelings.

  2. Engagement: The immersive nature of video games can make therapy more appealing and relatable for teens, encouraging active participation.

  3. Resilience Building: Video games can simulate challenges, allowing teens to learn and practice coping strategies in a low-risk setting.

  4. Social Connection: Multiplayer video games offer opportunities for social interaction, reducing feelings of isolation common in depression.

The Science Behind Video Games and Depression

Recent studies highlight the potential of video games in managing depression. A study by Roepke et al. (2015) found that a video game called “SPARX” was as effective as traditional therapy in adolescents with depression. Another study by Russoniello et al. (2013) reported that casual video games could reduce depressive symptoms.

Incorporating Video Games into Therapy: A Guided Approach

If you’re considering incorporating video games into therapy for a teen with depression, consult with a mental health professional knowledgeable about this approach. They can provide guidance on suitable games, duration of play, and how to reflect on the gaming experience therapeutically. It’s important to remember that video games should supplement, not replace, other therapeutic interventions.

Depression can be a challenging journey for any teenager, but with innovative therapeutic approaches like video games, we can offer hope and engagement. As parents and teens, being open to these unconventional methods can greatly enhance the therapeutic experience.

At Video Game Counseling, we strive to remain at the cutting edge of therapeutic interventions. We believe in a tailored approach, seeking to offer a range of therapeutic techniques that resonate with the unique needs of each individual.


  1. Roepke, A. M., Jaffee, S. R., Riffle, O. M., McGonigal, J., Broome, R., & Maxwell, B. (2015). Randomized Controlled Trial of SuperBetter, a Smartphone-Based/Internet-Based Self-Help Tool to Reduce Depressive Symptoms. Games for health journal, 4(3), 235–246.
  2. Russoniello, C. V., Fish, M., & O’Brien, K. (2013). The efficacy of casual videogame play in reducing clinical depression: A randomized controlled study. Games for Health Journal, 2(6), 341-346. doi:10.1089/g4h.2013.0010