Playstation Placenta

The therapeutic interface provided by computer games in the art therapy of a severely disturbed boy.

The increasing presence of computer game themes in therapy sessions can trigger techno-tedium in therapists keen to delve more organically into their client’s inner world. However, I shall seek to demonstrate the rich clinical potential these games may provide. This paper centres around the art therapy of a severely disturbed ten year old boy, who monotonously presented such themes in therapy and relentlessly played computer games at home.

Using an implicit theoretical framework, shaped by Bion’s concepts of ‘Maternal Reverie’ and ‘Containment’ (Bion 1962 and 1970), Winnicott’s ideas of ‘True/False Self’ and ‘Mirroring’ (D W Winnicott 1956 and 1970), together with Buber’s sense of ‘I-Thou’ relationships (Buber 1984), I describe key vignettes of therapeutic process. In doing so a picture emerges of fundamental contact being established between therapist and client. This core-contact then becomes enhanced and informed by the therapist’s growing appreciation of the role of computer games in this boy’s life.
The therapeutic interface thus provided, facilitates the development of a negotiated emotional vocabulary and conceptual framework between therapist and client. Shared therapeutic meaning and considerable progress result.

Keywords: art-therapy, computer games, containment, true/false self, core-contact, therapeutic interface

This article is being updated.  Please contact me if you would like to read it. Marianne.