Best Video Games for Treating Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
Social Anxiety Disorder is a mental health condition where patients experience an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others.
Social skills training (SST) is a type of behavioral therapy used to improve social skills in people with mental disorders or developmental disabilities.
Studies show that video games can help players significantly lessen the effects of this disorder through Social Skills Training.
Here are some of the video games that excel at treating Social Phobia.
This game offers behavioral therapy in the way it rewards social interactions. You basically move to a village and do your part to contribute to its operations and development. You do so by completing tasks and helping neighbors with issues of their own which earns you reputation points much like you would in everyday life.
The Sims 4
The Sims 4 helps with Social Skills Training by mimicking the reward system of everyday social interactions. It forces you to pay attention to key attributes of a person’s character and gauge your approach and responses accordingly. This makes it one of the best video games for treating social anxiety disorders.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The Animal Crossing series is known for the way it rewards players for being functioning members of a society. It encourages players to be selfless and more considerate which are key components in Social Skills Training. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is arguably the best in the series and a top video game for treating social anxiety disorders.
My Time At Portia
My Time At Portia has a relationship system that grants players relationship points based on how well they interact with other characters. The game emphasizes the importance of giving as the more charitable you are, the more reward points you earn. This is a sort of positive reinforcement that can be found in social skills training programs.
The Last of Us Part 2
In The Last of Us Part 2, there are many consequences of the choices you make. This is how the game tests your moral compass and ability to gauge situations so you can make good judgment calls. In life, we are faced with similar choices to make to a lesser degree. This can serve as behavioral rehearsal, a key social skills training technique.
Two Point Hospital
A huge part of this game is hiring, training and managing staff. In doing so, you have to consider how their proficiencies and personality traits will affect their job performances and assign tasks accordingly. This system provides positive reinforcement in behavioral therapy as you get a sense of accomplishment when operations run smoothly.
A huge part of Minecraft’s success is its very active and passionate community. Through playing minecraft, you can meet loads of players from different demographics. This can be a good place to work on non verbal social interactions because it is a very low risk environment in which you can express yourself through art and other gestures.
Sakura Wars’ edge in social skills training is largely due to its LIPS component (live and interactive picture system). This system lets players choose from a set of dialog options which determines the flow of the story. This can train you to quickly assess the situations and gauge social interactions to provide the appropriate responses.
Stardew Valley is one of the best video games for treating social phobia because of how different the NPC(non-playable character) personalities are. This can help players learn to assess their interactions with others and respond accordingly. It also helps that the game is super simple to play with no high stakes situations to sweat over.
Among Us is a good way to practice active listening which is a key component in social skills training. This game is heavy on social interaction as players will have to listen to each other, assess their tones, arguments and tendencies in an effort to deduce whether or not they are being genuine.
Video games can be very good assets in treating social anxiety disorder but it is very important to discern which ones are best. However, there is insufficient evidence supporting video games as independent cures to social phobia so be sure to contact a mental health specialist for a professional diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, you can speak to your specialist about including video games as part of your treatment guided by the games on this list.