Serious Games Can Support Psychotherapy of Children and Adolescents

  • Veronika Brezinka
  • Ludger Hovestadt
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4799)


Computers and video games are a normal part of life for millions of children. However, due to the association between intensive gaming and aggressive behavior, school failure, and overweight, video games have gained negative publicity. While most reports centre upon their potential negative consequences, little research has been carried out with regard to the innovative potentials of video games. ‘Treasure Hunt’, the first psychotherapeutic computer game based on principles of behavior modification, makes use of children’s fascination for video games in order to support psychotherapy. This interactive adventure game for eight to twelve year old children is not meant to substitute the therapist, but to offer attractive electronic homework assignments and rehearse basic psycho-educational concepts that have been learnt during therapy sessions. While psychotherapeutic computer games may prove to be a useful tool in the treatment of children and adolescents, unrealistic expectations with regard to such games should be discussed.


psychotherapy childhood disorders computer-based treatment cognitive behavior therapy serious games 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veronika Brezinka
    • 1
  • Ludger Hovestadt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Zürich UniversitySwitzerland
  2. 2.Computer Aided Architectural Design, ETH ZürichSwitzerland

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