Narrative Therapy for Treating Video Game Addiction

  • Joseph M. GrahamJr.Email author


Video game addiction is increasingly prevalent and treatment modalities have ignored the unique aspects of this particular process addiction. This article reviews the construct of video game addiction and posits utilizing narrative therapy in a manner tailored to the video game culture. By focusing upon the skills inherent in being a successful gamer, clients can translate those skills from online to offline and make substantial changes in their lives. Also, an appendix with commonly used terms in the video game culture is provided.


Video game addiction Narrative therapy Video game culture 


  1. Calvert, S. L., Strouse, G. A., Strong, B. L., Huffaker, D. A., & Lai, S. (2009). Preadolescent girls’ and boys’ virtual MUD play. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30(3), 250–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carlson, T. D. (1997). Using art in narrative therapy: enhancing therapeutic possibilities. American Journal of Family Therapy, 25(3), 271–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carr, A. (1998). Michael White’s narrative therapy. Contemporary Family Therapy, 20(4), 485–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chappell, D., Eatough, V., Davies, M., & Griffiths, M. (2006). EverQuest—it’s just a computer game right? An interpretative phenomenological analysis of online gaming addiction. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 4, 205–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chuang, Y. (2006). Massively multiplayer online role-playing game-induced seizures: a neglected health problem in internet addiction. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 9(4), 451–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Curry, K. (2010). Warcraft and civic education: MMORPGs as participatory cultures and how teachers can use them to improve civic education. The Social Studies, 101, 250–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dass-Brailsford, P. (2012). Culturally sensitive therapy with low-income ethnic minority clients: an empowering intervention. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 42(1), 37–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eijnden, R., Spijkerman, R., Vermults, A., van Rooji, A., & Engels, R. (2009). Compulsive internet use among adolescents: bidirectional parent–child relationships. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 77–89.PubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Entertainment Software Association (2012). Sales, demographics, and usage data: Essential facts about the computer and video game industry. Retrieved from
  10. Gardner, P. J., & Poole, J. M. (2009). One story at a time: narrative therapy, older adults, and addictions. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 28(5), 600–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Garte-Wolf, S. I. (2011). Narrative therapy group work for chemically dependent clients with HIV/AIDS. Social Work with Groups, 34, 330–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hagedorn, W. B. (2011). Using therapeutic letters to navigate resistance and ambivalence: experiential implications for group counseling. Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, 31, 108–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hagedorn, W. B., & Young, T. (2011). Identifying and intervening with students exhibiting signs of gaming addiction and other addictive behaviors: implications for professional school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 14(4), 250–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Han, D., Hwang, J., & Renshaw, P. (2010). Bupropion sustained release treatment decreases craving for video games and cue-induced brain activity in patients with internet video game addiction. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 18(4), 297–304.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hussain, Z., & Griffiths, M. D. (2009). Excessive use of massively multi-player online role-playing games: a pilot study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 7(4), 563–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. King, D., Delfabbro, P., & Griffths, M. (2011). The role of structural characteristics in problematic video game play: an empirical study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 9(3), 320–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Morgan, M. L., Brosi, W. A., & Brosi, M. W. (2011). Restorying older adults’ narratives about self and substance abuse. American Journal of Family Therapy, 39, 444–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Oggins, J., & Sammis, J. (2012). Notions of video game addictions and their relation to self-reported addiction among players of world of warcraft. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 10(2), 210–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Peters, C. S., & Malesky, L. A. (2008). Problematic usage among highly-engaged players of massively multiplayer online role playing games. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 11, 481–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Prochaska, J. O., DiClemente, C. C., & Norcross, J. C. (1992). In search of how people change: applications to addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47, 1102–1114.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Skoric, M. M., Teo, L. L. C., & Neo, R. L. (2009). Children and video games: addiction, engagement, and scholastic achievement. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 12(5), 567–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Starcevic, V., Berle, D., Porter, G., & Fenech, P. (2011). Problem video game use and dimensions of psychopathology. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 9(3), 248–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sublette, V. A., & Mullan, B. (2012). Consequences of play: a systematic review of the effects of online gaming. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 10(1), 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. van Rooij, A., Schoenmakers, T., Vermulst, A., van den Eijnden, M., & van de Mheen, D. (2011). Online video game addiction: identification of addicted adolescent gamers. Addiction, 106(1), 205–212.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. White, M., & Epston, D. (1990). Narrative means to therapeutic ends. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  26. Winslade, J., & Smith, L. (1997). Countering alcoholic narratives. In G. Monk, J. Winslade, K. Crocket, & D. Epston (Eds.), Narrative therapy in practice (pp. 158–192). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  27. Yalom, I., & Leszcz, M. (2005). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  28. Young, K. (1998). Internet addiction: the emergence of a new clinical disorder. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 1, 237–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Young, K. (2009). Understanding online gaming addiction and treatment issues for adolescents. American Journal of Family Therapy, 37(5), 355–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

Personalised recommendations