Is there a place for video games in integrative medicine? A newly developed tool makes me think so.
Ricky and the Spider is a cognitive-behavioral therapeutic computer game for children with obsessive-compulsive disorder. It was designed and developed by the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the University of Zurich in order to provide support for therapists in their work with children with OCD.
OCD worsens over time, so it’s important to thoroughly address it as symptoms appear early in life. The most effective treatment appears to be a combination of therapy and medication, such as antidepressants.
It’s a supplement, not a replacement, for therapy, and the designers stress that it should not be used without the guidance of a therapist. But I love that you can watch a video clip to get a real feel for what CBT is, and what it feels like to undergo CBT. Typically described as an evidence-based type of psychotherapy that focuses on the role of thinking and thoughts in how you feel and what you do, the concept of CBT can be difficult to grasp. Words aren’t always enough to explain what it’s all about.
Ricky and the Spider aims to make it easier for children to understand the disorder, its consequences and the treatment.
In the game, a spider forces Ricky the Grasshopper and Lisa the Ladybug to do things they do not really want to do, such as hop across the meadow in a particular pattern or count their spots every evening before going to sleep. Fearing the spider, they become entangled deeper and deeper in Cod’s web. In the end, Ricky asks Dr. Owl for help. Check it out.
To find a cognitive behavioral therapist, visit NACBT.org.