What does therapy for gaming addiction look like? Part 1 of 2 (South Korea)

Can you help my child?

Parents often email me, can you help my child? What kind of therapy do you do? As a psychiatrist, it is important to create a working relationship with the young person and make a comprehensive assessment. After providing feedback, we can then establish whether they are ready to change their behaviour or not. This will determine what strategies to use, whether it is further education, working with their parents or cutting down on gaming time. 

Chung Ang University Medical School Online Game Clinic

What does therapy for gaming addiction look like?

Each treatment process is unique to the individual and one approach may not be suitable for someone else. I might suggest a trial of medication treatment, parenting strategies or refer to one of many psychologists passionate and competent in providing therapy for gaming addiction. The best evidence for therapy is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for gaming addiction. One treatment study from South Korea, outlined their standardised 8 session approach to CBT for teenagers with gaming addiction and major depression (Kim, 2012). In that particular study, they also gave the anti-craving medication bupropion.

Session 1 Introduction
– ground rules and assessment
– review of adverse results and discussion of the damage caused
– Motive for on-line game play and irrational belief system
Session 2 Disputing false beliefs
– analyzing the evidence for identified false beliefs
–Developing alternative beliefs
– promoting reduction of on-line game play
Session 3 Problem definition and formulation
– defining on-line game addiction risk factors as problem
–Developing alternative solutions
– managing excessive on-line game play risk
Session 4 Decision making and evaluation
– managing excessive on-line game play risk
– evaluation of selected solutions to manage on-line game play
– Communication skill training

Session 5 Managing problems in social relationship
– Self-control skill training
Session 6 Managing peer pressure
– Managing on-line game craving
– Managing negative and positive emotions
– Family therapy
Session 7 Family therapy
– discussion with family members concerning conflict and solutions
– Future planning
Session 8 Relapse prevention
–Re-learning how to enjoy life without on-line game play

Where can I find help for gaming addiction in Australia?

You can book a telehealth appointment with me here. All you need is a GP referral, a device and an internet connection. If you would like to know more about what therapy looks like in Australia, please go to part 2 of 2 here.

Kim, S. M., Han, D. H., Lee, Y. S., & Renshaw, P. F. (2012). Combined cognitive behavioral therapy and bupropion for the treatment of problematic on-line game play in adolescents with major depressive disorder. Computers in human behavior28(5), 1954-1959.