Classic role-playing game brings relief to stressed out students

Langara explores 'play therapy' with a Dungeons and Dragons support group


By Hannah Snider, Laisa Conde and Michael Su

Dungeons and Dragons has developed a multitude of devotees and participants within the last forty years.

Despite nerd stereotypes, the game has recently been used as a therapeutic method to help relieve social anxiety.

Post Secondary students find community

Langara, along with SFU and UBC,  has recently brought a Dungeons and Dragons support group   to campus.

The group offers a chance for participants to grow confidence in a safe and familiar environment.

Michael Cheng, registered clinical counsellor at Langara, is the facilitator of the Dungeons and Dragons support group at Langara.  Cheng says that the group is good at providing structure, especially for those who are dealing with loneliness and need a community.  We also spoke with Langara students who attend the group, and said that they feel connected with their peers, while experiencing a fantasy world of adventure.

David Lindskoog is a clinical registered counsellor who brought the support group to SFU,  used to play Dungeons and Dragons as a hobby, and wanted to bring it into his practice.

A tool known as ‘Play Therapy’

Registered Clinical Counsellor Emma Carlson, says that the reason people go to therapy is to search for meaning and learn more about themselves.  By playing vicariously through a character, that can help the patient face obstacles in a more creative way.

Dungeons and Dragons is not the only form of interactive games which can be used within a therapeutic setting.

‘Play therapy’ has been a practice in therapy since the mid-20th century and is used as a way to create a safe bond between clinician and patient, and a tool to explore new avenues and express vulnerability within ourselves.

This therapeutic practice can also offer an opportunity for those recovering from addiction.  Michael Beasley, a Registered Clinical Counsellor of Vancouver Psychology Centre, says that this form of therapy can help relieve the isolation that comes with addiction, and can give the patient a sense of belonging.


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