Do you have clients that love video games like Minecraft? Want to know more about using video games in therapy? Ellie Finch is a Child and Parent Counsellor who is training with OTI, and she is sharing her therapeutic adventures in Minecraft in a free upcoming webinar….
Minecraft is the most popular video games in the world, with over 200 million copies sold. Minecraft is what is called a ‘sandbox’ game as it offers a great deal of freedom and creativity to the player. The game can be considered a cross between lego and a sandtray – two traditional therapeutic resources.
My adventures in Minecraft started back in 2011, when the game was first released, and I started playing the game with my nieces and nephews. I had just completed my MA Social Work thesis on engaging children in online services and had come across practitioners who were using video games to engage clients in therapy. The idea came to me then that Minecraft would be a brilliant game via which to provide counselling to children.
When lockdown started back in March 2020, I realised that now was the time, more than ever, that children needed to access counselling in a way that engaged them from their comfort zone; online and in a video game they know and love like Minecraft.
To give you a sense of the work I have been doing, here is an extract from a recently published article about my work:
‘Adam* has been bullied at school, and this has affected his friendships and his ability to concentrate in class. He’s 12 years old. When counselling is suggested to him, he is reticent and feels like something must be wrong with him. Then, his mum finds out about counselling using Minecraft and he’s a bit more interested, “I get to play Minecraft?!”, and he agrees to give it a go.
In his initial session with me, when Adam first enters the Minecraft world I’ve set up just for him, I explain how his first task is to create a safe place. He decides to build a castle as, “Castles are strong and keep the monsters out.” He asks me to help him build and I follow his instructions carefully. As we build, I ask him about what kind of monsters the castle keeps out and what they might do if they got into the castle. He says, “They are cunning monsters that look friendly. They will hurt me and there’s no one to help.”
I say, “That sounds really scary, those monsters and you feeling so alone.” We talk some more about his feeling of loneliness.
Then Adam has an idea. “Can we go into survival mode to make it more exciting?” he asks. I say, “Sure”. (Survival mode is a bit more challenging than creative mode as you have to gather resources to survive and you can die).
Before we switch to survival mode, Adam suggests we get some armour and a sword each to fight the mobs (zombies, creepers, skeletons, spiders and other monsters who inhabit Minecraft at night). Armed and ready, we enter survival mode, and it quickly starts to get dark. The mobs appear and we battle them together, helping each other out when one of us gets surrounded.
I ask Adam whether sometimes it feels like he’s being attacked at school by mobs and he says, “Yeah, I think so,” and we talk about one of the times he was bullied and how scary it was for him. As we talk, Adam is occupied with building a wall around us to keep out the mobs. His work is methodical, almost meditative and it seems to help him to have something to do whilst he opens up about what has been happening at school.
I check the time. “It’s five minutes to the end of the session. Would you like to go back to your castle so we are there next time we start your session?” He agrees that this is a good idea and we head back to the castle where we come out of the game and find each other on the Zoom screen to wave goodbye. “See you next week,” I say. “Yes”, he says,” for some more battling monsters!” https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/memberarticles/how-does-counselling-using-minecraft-work
Ellie Finch, is running a free webinar for mental health professionals on how she uses the popular video game Minecraft in counselling with children. She shall be giving you lots of tips and resources for how to start your own therapeutic Minecraft adventure in your practice or organisation. There will be a live Q&A where you can ask any questions you may have.
Book your FREE place on the webinar here (a recording of the webinar will be made available to those who register – so do register even if you can’t make it to the live webinar): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/unearthing-therapeutic-adventures-in-minecraft-tickets-149737877021?fbclid=IwAR0vBsmcTtOzc2JbQGjZUlLhD5YzFNhGFfoV6TshIsid2y6-zhU6ZOmcaVE
You can also find out more about Ellie Finch’s counselling, consultancy and training services on her website: https://www.elliefinch.co.uk/