I am speaking specifically about Roblox today, but you can use these same techniques with Minecraft or The Sims depending on the child’s interests.

Don’t mind me, I’m just living my best life with Zoom backgrounds and filters!

A big part of therapy with kids is sharing in the child’s interests. Yes, we want to work on making good choices, modifying behavior, and developing appropriate coping and communication skills, but none of that can happen unless I’m able to connect with the child. And the fastest way to connect with anyone is to share in their interests.

When I was doing primarily in-person sessions, many of my clients would talk to me about a game, Roblox. I have never played this game myself, but thanks to my clients, I know a lot about it. A big part of the appeal for many players is that the game allows you to create your own character and home, and you can customize these things as much as you want. There are default options to choose from, but you can be as specific as you would like and can create a world to your exact specifications.

Can you tell where I’m going with this?

I’ve done many guided visualization exercises over the years that involve creating a space that is calm or happy for my clients. Roblox lets us do the same thing in a more literal sense. Since customizing the world can be time-consuming, I typically have the child show me a world that they already created.

As the child shows me the living space they set up, I ask questions like:

  1. What was most important to you when you created this space?
  2. How do you feel when your character spends time here?
  3. Which items are your favorites, and why?
  4. What would you do if you were in this space for real?
  5. What does it smell like here?
  6. Was there anything you chose not to include?

Similarly, I ask the child to introduce me to their character, whose appearance they can customize completely if they choose.

  1. Tell me about your character.
  2. In what ways is the character like you?
  3. In what ways is the character different from you?
  4. In what ways do you wish you were more like your character?
  5. As you created your character, what was it important to you to include?
  6. Was there anything you chose not to include?

I should note, it’s helpful to let a parent know you are using this intervention as well as the rationale behind it. Otherwise, you will get phone calls and emails asking why the child was playing video games in their session. You could do a similar intervention with games like Minecraft, but the point is to help the child create a space that is just for them and help them be mindful of what they like about the space. Talking about their character can also help with building self-esteem and setting goals.

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. She completed her internship at the National Psychology Training Consortium with specializations in assessment and rural mental health. Currently, she specializes in trauma-informed and neurodiversity-affirming care, and she is certified in telemental health. Dr. Marschall runs a private practice, RMH Therapy, where she provides individual and family therapy as well as psychological assessments across the lifespan. Dr. Amy Marschall is an author and professional speaker.

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