By its very nature, Dungeons and Dragons is a social roleplaying game. To have a true rpg experience, a group of players have to come together and share the adventure with each other. Some players have even built lasting friendships with their fellow gamers along the way. But what if D&D also had a therapeutic benefit as well? What if it can be directly used to improve the lives of its players? It’s not a hypothetical situation, as Seattle’s Wheelhouse Workshop is already using D&D as tool to help socially challenged teens.
Via Take This, Wheelhouse Workshop has posted a video of its PAX South panel, which was aptly titled “Please Don’t Punch the GM: Adventures in Gaming Therapy.” Over the course of that 22 minute video, Wheelhouse Workshop’s Adam Davis and Adam Johns explained how they use D&D and other roleplaying games to help their teenage clients find their confidence and creativity in social situations.
One of the examples cited during the panel was a way to encourage the teenagers to talk to the NPCs during their games. To build their confidence, Davis and Johns allow their clients to slowly get used to the idea while gently encouraging and challenging them to do more than they would in real life. Davis and Johns also noted the way that they introduce a simple lever test for players, which allows them to creatively come up with ways to escape from the puzzle. Davis and Johns added that they encourage gaming solutions that embrace teamwork and cooperation between the players. In reality, it seems as if Davis and Johns’ true goal is to create a sense of community among the players. “We don’t want to settle for cooperation,” said Davis. “We try to make our game collaborative. Collaboration being not just ‘two is better than one,’ but that if we all play our roles just right then and if we all do what is ours to do then we are actually more than the sum of our parts.”
For more information about Wheelhouse Workshop, you can visit their site here.
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Image Credit: Wizards of the Coast