Game Therapy UK, set up by 2021 London Homelessness Award winner Dr Gary Colman, is an innovative new charity using games to help people who are homeless.
The charity provides table-top games such as Dungeons & Dragons to homeless people, people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, and to military veterans suffering from PTSD.
Partnering with Care, Grow, Live (CGL) a specialist addiction recovery service; and the charity One Housing Arlington; GAME THEAPY UK will use role-playing games alongside real life teamwork and communication to enhance communication skills, socialization, creativity, and adaptability.
Dr Colman, who won the London Homelessness Award for his Camden Health Improvement Project working with people sleeping rough, said:
“Through table top role-playing games players learn to better understand teamwork and character strengths of themselves and others. It provides an opportunity for increased mindfulness, as players think through their decisions as their characters rather than as themselves. There is a lot of evidence showing that Game Therapy provides a boost to self-confidence, self-esteem and helps people gain self-awareness. It improves communication skills and reduces feelings of isolation and exclusion and has been used in the treatment of PTSD, depression and anxiety and addiction.”
Each project is overseen by a clinician who has speciality in that area (psychologist, addiction recovery worker, occupational therapist etc.). In addition to the therapeutic effect of the game, the participants in the game can also be offered, or directed to, a traditional therapy (psychotherapy, occupational therapy, addiction services etc.).
The therapeutic games will provide fun and enjoyment, creative outlet and reduce social isolation. Projects can also include ‘education into employment’ qualifications (via Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) in social skills, creativity, and the arts. This will be particularly useful for participants experiencing homelessness. Each project will be part of a research project, and the impact and efficacy will be published in peer reviewed papers.
Susie, a Peer Mentor at CGL, said:
“I enjoyed playing someone different. Playing a brave character instead of just running away. I can see how playing different people and facing challenges could help me to become more confident.”
And Julio, a Recovery and Opportunities Worker at SHP commented:
“I really enjoyed it and will be recommending it to my clients.”
The charity will be launched at a fund raising comedy night at the Comedy Store on Monday 16th May featuring Al Murray, Shaparak Khorsandi, Nick Helm, Laura Lexx and more.
For more information, pictures, interviews or quotes please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Game Therapy go to www.game-therapy.co.uk
You can enter the London Homelessness Awards 2022 by going to www.lhawards.org.uk