Pop culture and social insertion: How can play in adolescence and adulthood be “therapeutic”?
In this study we explore how participation in tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) fosters experiences of social insertion in adolescence and adulthood. We conducted semi-directed interviews with nine participants who identified themselves as having used such practices to overcome difficult and challenging life experiences. We look at how participants interpreted their play experiences, described by some as “therapeutic.” Through TTRPGs, players were able to explore and better understand aspects of themselves, explore new interactions, and “test” new ways of expressing themselves. Additionally, participants were able to develop their interpersonal skills by participating in such practices, namely because of the roleplaying element. Participants stated that these practices and their therapeutic qualities also had positive effects on their lives outside of the game, helping them to enter and engage in various social situations that they previously felt excluded from, or hesitant to participate in. We argue that social interventions could invest in these types of cultural practices, embedded in popular culture, to encourage and facilitate participation of adolescents and adults in mental health services.
Copyright (c) 2021 Anne M. Goodall, Alexis H. Truong
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.