Video Games as Cultural Competence


Video Games as Cultural Competence

More than half of the people in the U.S. play video games and that number rises to 90% when considering only younger demographics. But games aren't just for kids. The average age of a gamer is 34 and gamers over 50 are the fastest-growing consumer demographic. Sixty-seven percent of parents report playing video games with their kids at least once a week, 64% percent of US households own a gaming device, 60% report playing games daily. 45% of gamers in the US are women. For the last several years, the video game industry has generated more revenue than the television and film industries combined. In short, games are a big deal and there is a very high likelihood that any client walking through your door plays video games.

Following this presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. See games as a cultural force dating back thousands of years (not just to Pac Man)
  2. Identify and question common moral panic cycles and strategies
  3. Speak with confidence about the importance and role of games in our current culture
  4. Utilize and apply steps for integrating ANY game into their therapeutic practice

Dr. Kelli Dunlap Psy.D.

Clinical Psychologist
Kentlands Pyschotherapy
Adjunct Professor
American University
Community Manager
Take This

Dr. Kelli Dunlap is a licensed clinical psychologist and game designer. She works full-time as a therapist in Maryland and teaches each Spring and Fall as adjunct professor of game design at American University’s Game Lab. She is the community manager for Take This, a games-focused mental health non-profit, and the chair of the International Game Developers Association’s Mental Health special interest group. Her research for the past 10 years has focused on the intersection of games and mental health with a focus on the use of games in therapeutic settings as well as the portrayal of mental illness in games.

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