Introduction: In the evolving digital age, media applications are increasingly playing a greater role in the field of psychotherapy. While the Internet is already in the phase of being established when it comes to the care of mental disorders, experimentation is going on with other modern media such as serious games. A serious game is a game in which education and behavior change is the goal, alongside with entertainment.
Objective: The objective of the present article was to provide a first empirical overview of serious games applied to psychotherapy and psychosomatic rehabilitation.
Method: Therefore, a systematic literature search, including the terms “serious game” or “computer game” and “psychotherapy” or “rehabilitation” or “intervention” or “mental disorders” in the databases Medline and PsycINFO, was performed. Subsequently, an Internet search was conducted to identify studies not published in journals. Publications not providing empirical data about effectiveness were excluded.
Results: On the basis of this systematic literature review, the results of N = 15 studies met inclusion criteria. They utilized primarily cognitive behavioral techniques and can be useful for treating a range of mental disorders. Serious games are effective both as a stand-alone intervention or part of psychotherapy and appeal to patients independent of age and sex.
Conclusions: Included serious games proved to be an effective therapeutic component. Nonetheless, findings are not conclusive and more research is needed to further investigate the effectiveness of serious games for psychotherapeutic purposes.
Eichenberg, C. & Schott, M. (2017). Serious Games for Psychotherapy: A Systematic Review. Games for Health, 3, 127–135.