Therapeutic Applications of Tabletop Role-Playing Games
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Tabletop role-playing games have existed for decades and, despite the advent of technology and some bad press in the 1980's, has seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to popular culture. Though there has been some interest in sociological and ethnographic research in the broader realm of role-playing games as a whole, minimal research exists specifically examining the therapeutic applications of tabletop role-playing games (e.g., Dungeons & Dragons). The purpose of this capstone is to examine the limited existing research on therapeutic applications of tabletop role-playing games, to ground the use of this intervention in other, well-established modalities, and to make links with related areas of research such as in education and learning and the field of simulation training. Further, this paper seeks to understand reasons why therapeutically applied tabletop role-playing games remain widely under-researched in academia, and to identify possible barriers to access. The final purpose of this paper is to discuss ways to lower and eliminate barriers to access, as well as to suggest a possible outreach program to educate adult gatekeepers for youth engagement in therapeutically applied tabletop role-playing game programs, as improving social skills in youth has been demonstrated to be a positive outcome of this intervention.