Roll for Healing: The Therapeutic Power of Tabletop Gaming

| Emily Baggett, LMFTA

What is Therapeutic Gaming?

It’s a familiar scene, a few friends or strangers sit around a table surrounded by dice, books and perhaps snacks. But in this session, something different is happening than the regular shenanigans of tabletop gaming – therapy. In addition to the traditional benefits of collaborative gaming such as relationship building and meaningful social interaction therapeutic tabletop roleplay gaming (TTRPG) can be combined with therapeutic techniques and principles to promote growth in other critical areas. TTRPGs are fantastic opportunities to explore identities, interact with difficult themes such as grief and loss in a safe environment, and build skills such as interpersonal connection and self-regulation.  

Benefits of Therapeutic Tabletop Roleplay Gaming?

Therapeutic tabletop gaming is suitable for a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. The versatility and accessibility of TTRPGs can be customized to suit the unique needs of individual groups from a range of abilities and experience. TTRPGs offer a safe and supportive space for emotional expression and exploration. Individuals dealing with challenges such as anxiety, depression or trauma can find healing through gaming as they explore their narrative through a different lens. The immersive narratives, cooperative gameplay, and role-playing aspects create opportunities for personal growth and self-reflection. TTRPGs also provide cognitive stimulation and promote problem solving skills such as critical thinking, planning and decision-making.  

Tabletop gaming can also social barriers making it accessible to individuals from diverse cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds. The universal language of gaming allows for new shared experiences, fosters understanding and bridging gaps that may have seemed unfathomable before. TTRPGs can promote a sense of acceptance, empowerment and community by creating opportunities for people to come together and learn from one another.

Final Thoughts

Therapeutic tabletop roleplaying games can be a fantastic resource to not only promote individual growth, but to facilitate connection and well-being. By utilizing therapeutic tabletop roleplay gaming facilitators and players journey together towards growth and healing.

Today's the day to make a change.