Thoughts About "Geek Therapy"
Updated: Dec 16, 2022
What is Geek Therapy?
Alright so what is "Geek Therapy"? I think there are a lot of ideas about what Geek Therapy is out there and kind of with Nature Therapy or Eco-Therapy there are a lot of different ways and levels that people put those things into practice in their work with clients.
I think on the most basic level of being a Geek Therapist or integrating Geek Therapy into a practice is the idea that we come to our clients respecting and honoring the thing or things they do that may make them self-identify as a "geek" or a "nerd". A lot of these people got into their different fandoms and in the past may have been treated or may still feel like an outsider for being so into this things. I think about how much negativity was and still can be thrown at a person who plays Dungeons and Dragons, some of this has been changing as Dungeons and Dragons has certainly become more mainstream. But, there is still a lot not being said about Table Top Role Playing Games in general and saying I'm into Pathfinder or Coyote and Crow might not be as well received or at least as positively received.
I think the basic thing that any Geek Therapist comes to a session with a client, is the knowledge that these things; Dungeons & Dragons, the MCU, Cosplaying as your favorite Anime character at MKE AnimeCon, watching Supernatural again and again, playing Elden Ring, Live Action Role Playing (LAPR), or whatever are very important and very cool for the person doing it and should, at the very least, been respected and honored and supported as healthy things that people do and need in their lives. I have heard of therapists who treat this things as problems, things that are getting in the way, or unhealthy past times. Sometimes even working to get people to stop but at the very least minimizing the value and importance of those things in a persons life as healthy productive things. So this is the first "level" I would say that any Geek Therapist should have, being able to honor and respect and be curious about people's fandoms. Really looking at these things as a culture, Geek Culture, and approaching it that with with curiosity and humility and honoring it in the same way we would other cultures that people may be a part of.
The next level I think for some Geek Therapists is to start to begin to be able to leverage those things in therapy. There are MANY ways that Geek Therapists can do this, but it is really about listening to clients and when you honor and respect the stories they tell you about their fandoms being able to use those things in session to help a client; learn a new skill, see something from a new perspective, understand something better, grow, show examples (healthy or unhealthy) of things, and so much more. For me the idea is that this is something important a valuable for a person so let's use it and be really positive and curious about it.
Some Geek Therapists really move to another level where they really try to understand and gain a deeper understanding of people's fandoms. So they go further and learn as much as they can about all of these different fandoms and then do work to read and understand and learn about what and how other therapist have used these fandoms in the past, so that they can be very deliberate about how they work with people around the thing that they are really into OR even suggest some "adjacent" fandoms that might be helpful for a client to further their growth. Like suggesting a person who plays Dungeons & Dragons Table Top to find a Live Action Role Playing (LARP) group to work on increasing social circles or going to a Convention to meet people and work on social skills. There are a lot of ways to move this way but a geek therapist who, at least, knows whats out there can make these suggestions.
At The Therapeutic Workshop we work to not only be affirming and supportive of people and their different fandoms, but work to integrate those fandoms into the work we do. We have also created and are creating Table Top Role Playing Game Groups for people to help with all kinds of mental health challenges. We leverage the frame work of playing Dungeons and Dragons to teach and practice new skills and solutions for our clients.