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Dungeons & Dragons is Being Used as Therapy

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I've often joked in my own DnD groups that our campaigns are less games and more therapy sessions, but as it turns out, that's a reality. I had never heard of organizations like Wheelhouse Workshop, Bodhana Group, and Games to Grow, which aim to use the massively popular tabletop RPG as a means of therapy, rather than pure entertainment. But as the game gains popularity, with over 8.6 million players in the US alone, eyes have turned to the escapist roleplaying to help unravel the knots within us.

The game has a bad reputation for being anti-moralist and anti-social, but there's not much evidence to support this. DnD is built to be very collaborative, and relies on players leveraging their skills to work together to solve problems, however the group sees fit. But it's not as though players are completely apart from themselves: the 'bleed' effect allows their subconscious to color their character's actions and opinions, or differ wildly. This helps players using the game as therapy to explore social and collaborative actions that they would not in their real lives, because DnD is a safe space experience them. Players know that they will not be really hurt in DnD, no matter the consequence, and so it's easier to open up vulnerable parts of themselves to the therapist DM.

What do you think? Does DnD work as therapy? Do you have therapeutic DnD experiences? Share in comments!

Photo: Pixabay