Dungeons & Dragons is one of our more creative therapeutic activities. We use D&D at the Group Home to help our teenage boys to adopt solid social skills and learn those tough-to-teach aspects of socialization like appropriate communication, forming friendships, empathy, and other social nuances. By using D&D in a therapy session, it basically takes therapeutic roleplaying to a new and creative level. Instead of imitating a regular conversation, the boys get immersed into quests and are able to flourish in the game setting.
Regular social situations often have much higher perceived stakes for “failing,” and often lead to increased pressure or anxiety. However, using D&D can provide carefully crafted, slower-paced, and highly monitored scenarios to offer socialization practice in easier-to-digest bites. Boys who struggle to react appropriately in “regular” social situations often feel more at ease when interacting in a roleplaying setting because they are responding to others under the guise of their character rather than themselves.