Video game therapy: rehabilitation of patients with intellectual disabilities through the use of video games


Video game therapy: rehabilitation of patients with intellectual disabilities through the use of video games

The therapy option through the use of the Nintendo Switch


Brescia, 20 June 2022Overcome speech and thinking difficulties with the help of electronic games, makes the player a patient. It is through video game therapy, one of the new frontiers to promote the emotional, affective and cognitive evolution of people with disabilities or with relational and learning difficulties, that a new chapter of care is opened, addressed by Dr. Francesco Bocci, an Adlerian psychologist, father of Video Game Therapy in Italy.

There is no distinction between personal data, the benefit is extended to both children as an aid to approach in a playful way to rehabilitation even in the case of severe disabilities, but also for adults with disabilities as a support to improve the quality ofpedagogical action.

The game represents an evolutionary lever in the individual’s life that allows the strengthening of motor, cognitive and interpersonal skills, has a fundamental role in the process of building personal and social identity through learning the rules of being with the other and to the construction. of different and new forms of interpersonal communication. Play is fundamental not only in childhood: the forms, the methods, the tools, the meanings change, but the playful dimension follows man throughout life.

It is through play that human primary emotions are manifested and experienced creatively, even for people with disabilities.

People with disabilities also play. Not only do they have to “do” things, but they can “live” feelings and perceptions of deep well-being through play. We want to bring the video game experience into their everyday life, not as an activity, but as a moment of individual enjoyment and well-being (FLOW), through which their most authentic part is expressed “, are the words of Dr. Francesco Bocci, the creator of video game therapy in Italy.

Thanks to the use of the common Nintendo Switch, video game therapy follows greater ease of use for all users who need it. This console has been chosen for its versatile use in therapy, both one-on-one and in sharing thanks to the 2 Joy-con controllers and for its tactile feedback that goes beyond vibrations, recreates true sound effects or utilizes footprints, movement and distance to be even more interactive with the user. So let’s get out of a clinical use of the video game and open the doors to a new possibility: The initial studies of Granic have documented various potential benefits of reproducing commercial video games. Since then, a growing body of recent evidence has suggested significant benefits related to socialization, cognition, emotion regulation, and mental health.

The game, and thus the video game, are contexts that are able to encourage users to enter flow state. When we play, are we perhaps not so engrossed in playful activity that we lose track of time and what is happening around us? When we play, we have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a magical circle, a protected space that is able to guarantee high levels of psychological security and to stimulate through fun and inner motivation the desire to experiment and curiosity. The game in fact represents an extremely satisfying and joyful experience, where the boundaries between the space for action and the intention, as well as the temporal ones, become more and more blurred. The result is a state of deep concentration, where the fear of failure gives way to the joy and pleasure of doing.
With video game therapy, there is an innovative opportunity for supportive or independent care for many people with disabilities, especially intellectuals. Given the economic and health burden of such disabilities, there is a greater demand for available and affordable methods that prevent the onset and facilitate the management of such users. This demand was exacerbated by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent increase in the incidence of mental disorders. With many patients on the waiting list or unable to receive support, this is it

It is important to present the potential of commercial video games to improve the symptoms of the disease or to ease its daily burden.

Commercial video games have many important features:

  • Schemes
  • Controlled game scenarios that may be related to specific issues

mental health

  • Design
  • Involvement of the user
  • Immersive flow mode, called FLOW.

An option for treatment chosen with certain types of goals, currently also at “Coop Castello” in Capriate, and other contexts dealing with disability, asking to intervene thanks to the various projects that have proved successful , which has led to the significant decrease the use of drugs.


Video game therapy, in Italy, has already been used by:

– more than 50 freelance psychotherapists in their private practice, trained with the courses of Dr. Bocci (One to One, which can be activated from the website or through the video course from APL (Associazione Psychologists of Lombardy, launches the new video-recorded course from me at the end of March 2022)

– Novo Millennio Cooperative of Monza (young psychiatrists)

– GAIA Cooperative of Lumezzane (Brescia) – Addiction and LUDOPATI sector

– SMI Center “Gli Acrobati” in Concesio – LUDOPATI sector

– “Cambiamenti” clinic in Lumezzane (BS) and Bovezzo (BS) – minors and adolescents with mental health problems, self-harm, eating disorders

– Cooperative Community Fraternity of Ospitaletto (Brescia) (young people with disabilities or tested by social services)

– Casina dei Bimbi Association of Reggio Emilia – interventions at DCA together with ASL for Emilia Romagna (only for DCA), while with Casina dei Bimbi interventions on cancer children


Equal spacing and impartial information that offers a voice to all sources of information


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