Media therapy is an often overlooked therapeutic tool in the recovery process. Some patients may benefit from detaching from electronics and finding a different way to connect with people around them. While the use of media-based therapy is dependent on the patient and their interests, such treatment has merits worth considering. It may be the perfect avenue to instill core concepts and modes of thinking in a patient.
Defining Media Therapy
Media therapy occupies a niche role in a recovery model and includes several different subcategories. It can be the use of movies, television shows, videos, and video games to create a safe space for someone to experience emotions and connect with characters. Media therapy is not merely “watching movies to feel better.” It is a way for someone to connect with characters and experience emotions in a safe space.
In the case of video games, it can help patients put themselves into the shoes of another character and play out a story. They can take a journey with a character who is experiencing trials similar to their own. Movies, games, and shows provide a unique, curated perspective. Engaging with these characters as part of a deliberate study can help reluctant or socially ill-equipped individuals experience vital emotions.
Such treatment introduces a new way of thinking and problem-solving. Furthermore, it presents different ways of connecting with other people. Patients can learn empathy, experience emotions, and observe positive character growth.
Media is Varied
Due to the vastly different kinds of media available, this therapeutic approach is highly customizable. Regardless of the patient’s needs, there are ways to experience a particular emotion or live vicariously through stories. For people recovering from trauma, the story and atmosphere of a game like Silent Hill 2 may be beneficial. This game could help them visualize and vocalize the different aspects of their lives that are plaguing them and introduce the concept of redemption and forgiveness in different ways, depending on the actions of the player.
Meditative titles are also available for the player to experience a more peaceful state while at home, in the case of titles like Feather or Journey. Anxiety, depression, and other various mental health disorders are portrayed in titles like Gris. At the same time, characters live through mental health disorders in games like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
As movies, video games, and pop culture become more mainstream, they are also being explored more experimentally. However, media therapy must be approached with purpose and a clearly defined goal of learning how to express emotions. We must always seek to take lessons from the media and transpose them into the real world.
Birthing a Community of Belonging
Video games need players, just as movies and television shows need viewers. Although media therapy may seem isolating, patients should be encouraged to find social groups built around common media interests. As patients progress, they can be accepted into these new social groups and begin practicing their newly acquired skills. Consider options like conventions, hobby shops, and online forums. There are several ways people can use their voice in recovery with something they are passionate about.
While there are advantages to media therapy, some patients won’t respond to this approach. Others may see it as an excuse to watch television under the guise of active therapeutic practice. However, there is also a monetary barrier for many patients. Video games are not always cheap, and not everybody can afford to buy the media which may help them.
Media therapy should be handled on a case-by-case basis. It should always be implemented with a particular goal in mind depending on the individual. However, for those that acknowledge the therapeutic elements of media therapy, it can be a powerful exercise to find your voice and safely experience difficult emotions and situations.
Addiction and mental health are complicated issues that everyone experiences differently. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction and any of its co-occurring disorders, Alta Centers is prepared to help you take that difficult first step. Using a core philosophy of community and inclusion, Alta Centers provides a way for each individual to engage with others and learn as a whole, moving towards a shared goal. By using group and individual therapy in tandem, Alta Centers creates a holistic approach to recovery. Their large campus provides many ways for each person to engage in their interests and join in each others’ expressions. For more information on the programs available, contact one of the professionals at Alta Centers today at (888) 202-2583.
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