At the best and worst of times, Dungeons & Dragons is a cathartic outlet for people.
At the best of times, it is a way for people to express themselves creatively while having fun.
At the worst of times, it may be that ONE commitment that keeps a person going. Meeting with friends to play a game for a few hours each week may seem like an unimportant part of a person's week, but as many players know, there's something sacred about showing up on time and meeting up with everyone each time.
Being part of the D&D community and the feelings of camaraderie and companionship can help with social anxiety and aid in alleviating depression.
Play of all kinds has mental health benefits—it’s why play therapy has been used ever since the very beginning of psychology. Play helps us assimilate the information we’ve learned, test new ways of behaving before using them in real life, hone our social skills, and boost our creative problem-solving abilities.
But Dungeons and Dragons has a few unique characteristics that set it apart from the rest when it comes to improving mental well-being.
Here are a few reasons why D&D is so great when used in therapy:
- It is collaborative. Rather than competing against each other, players must find a way to get along and work together.
- Playing as a character who is different from yourself allows you to see the world through someone else’s eyes, which can build empathy.
- Because the game is based on role play, it’s a great way to try out new ways of interacting with other people in a low-stakes, fun environment.
- Playing the game tends to help people bond and build friendships. It provides a structured way to get to know new people that might feel less awkward than making small talk with a stranger.
- Players have almost unlimited creative freedom, which can be liberating. Do you want to be a 1,000-year-old Necrohamster called Mr Nibbles? You can be in D&D.