Doing something that brings you joy can easily be considered 'therapeutic'. However, working as a Therapeutic GM is a lot more than just running an enjoyable TTRPG session. Creating therapeutic encounters is a difficult endeavor and shouldn't be attempted without training and/or education. The right tool in the right hands can act as am implement for growth and self-discovery. However, the same tool can harm a person if misused or misapplied, even when the Game Master (GM) is well-intentioned. A Therapeutic GM must have three distinct skill sets to be effective:
A clear understanding of the game system they use
Formal training as a Professional
A willingness to play
I am certified by the Geek Therapeutics as a Certified Therapeutic Game Master and am capable of leveraging the ACT model (outlined below) to create and run therapeutic encounters that cover a variety of issues. I am also capable of collaborating with mental health professionals to create Therapeutic Sessions that'll span multiple weeks (10 weeks is the norm) and work towards goals and objectives over a period of time.
How is a Therapeutic Encounter different from a Therapeutic Session
In a Therapeutic Encounter The Tabletop Adventure is not providing a diagnosis or treatment for any psychological or physical health conditions and the services should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any mental health, medical or physical condition.
The Tabletop Adventure is providing a TTRPG service where the session is intended to help the client explore issues and/or practice skills in a safe environment. An encounter could be put in place to help a client practice their social skills, another could be exploring anxiety and/or depression, and so on. During our session 0 (different from Therapeutic Sessions) we’ll discuss the goals you have and what you would like to explore. These encounters can create real feelings for you, the player, and it is The Tabletop Adventure's goal to work with you, listen carefully, and talk things out as equals.
A Therapeutic Session will essentially be a Therapeutic Encounter but we’ll also be partnering with your mental health professional and setting up a small contract that will cover the frequency of the sessions, a goal plan, and establish clear guidelines around roles and expectations. The role of The Tabletop Adventure will be to present the tabletop experience and content that helps to provide the player/client (you) the opportunity to practice techniques and skills. The mental health professional will then take notes (Psychotherapy notes and Progress notes) about you so that they can work with you directly to help you through any issues (or skills development) that you’re working on. Their ability to observe you in real time will give them a significantly stronger perspective in where you’re doing well and where additional support or discussion is needed. They can also make recommendations on what content we should focus on during therapeutic encounters. You can learn a bit more about what this process here.
The Tabletop Adventure does not offer adhoc Therapeutic Sessions for scheduling. You’ll need to work with me and your mental health professional in an email to discuss the viability of this approach. Please feel free to share the website with them and discuss it with them ahead of time.