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Gamification in Counseling

The CEU/OPD/CPD course can be found at for clinicians in the US and at for clinicians in Australia.

Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director: AllCEUs Counselor Education
Host: Counselor Toolbox Podcast
~ Define gamification
~ Explore the benefits of gamification
~ Describe techniques for gamification

What is Gamification
~ Gamification is simply using games or challenges to make something more motivating or enjoyable to learn.

Gamification Motivation Enhancers
~ The student with the most stars at the end of the day gets a prize
~ The child with the most stars gets to choose the movie
~ The group that gets all their assignments in
~ Simple token economies

Why Gamification for Learning
~ Makes it fun and increases attention
~ Encourages mental manipulation
~ Encourages recall and strengthening of memory pathways
~ Usually uses multiple visual, auditory and kinesthetic
~ Enhances communication skills
~ Increases memory and focus chemicals
Hot Potato
~ Toss a ball until someone calls “time”
~ Whoever catches it has to answer a question
~ If they answer correctly they get a token/prize
~ Go around the circle and identify things that begin with alphabet letters
~ Things that make me happy
~ Things to do when I am stressed
~ Things I would like to do or see
~ Opposites: Angry and Happy
~ Mindfulness Activities
~ Gratitude

~ Create 4-6 categories
~ Coping skills; distress tolerance activities; vulnerability prevention; dialectics
~ Fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains
~ Stimulants, depressants, marijuana, opioids
~ Divide the group into 3 teams

~ Divide into 2 teams
~ Each team gets to have 1 minute
~ The goal is to have the clue giver get the guesser to identify the “taboo” word
~ If the guesser guesses correctly they get a point and the next team gets to go
~ After 1 minute if they do not get the answer, then another team has a chance to “steal” and simply identify what the correct answer is.
~ If they get it right then they get to take the next turn.
~ If they get it wrong, then the turn goes to the next pair on the other team
~ Make 3-5 stacks of cards, each a different color
~ Paint the jenga blocks the same colors as the cards
~ When someone pulls a block, they have to answer a question from the stack of cards corresponding to the color of the block

Family Feud
~ Create a set of questions that has multiple answers and assign them a point value (can be equal)…i.e.
~ The top 8 ways to cope with distress
~ The top 6 things to do to prevent vulnerabilities
~ The top 6 cognitive distortions
~ The top 8 causes of depression
~ Divide the group into two teams (families)
~ Play just like Family Feud

~ Divide into two teams
~ Use a timer and allow the actor 1 minute to act out the concept and his or her team to guess it
~ If they don’t guess it after 1 minute, then the other team gets a chance to guess and “steal” the points
~ The active team switches after each turn.
~ Each correct guess = 5 points
~ Suggestions
~ Nonverbal communication (jealous, resentful, curious, exhausted, confident…) (synonyms may be okay as long as it is not happy, scared or angry…those are too easy)
~ Concepts such as dialectics or cognitive distortions

Self Designed Games
~ Create 2 or 3 decks of cards
~ Examples
~ Distress tolerance skills
~ Mind-body connection
~ Grief tools
~ Depression Triggers (mitigators)
~ Anger Management
~ Create a game board with spaces (put a question type on each space if you want)
~ Players roll the die
~ They pick a card from the deck corresponding to the space they landed on and answer the question.
~ Wrong answers—go back 2 spaces
~ Right answers keep your space

Board Game
~ Supplies:
~ Create a game board with Gratitude (G) and Random Acts of Kindness (K) spaces,
~ A die
~ 2 stacks of index cards with gratitude and random acts of kindness prompts. Include occasional cards “Someone is grateful for you. Move ahead 3 spaces” “You were jealous of someone. Go back 3 spaces.)
~ Roll the die.
~ Advance the given number of spaces. If you land on a G or K space, draw a card and complete the prompt.
~ Intro
~ Participants go into a room or outside for 5 minutes
~ When they come in they are asked to wrote down everything they saw, smelled, heard, felt/touched
~ Each observation is a point. (baseline)
~ Discuss the concept of mindfulness and how to be aware and present
~ Have them repeat the exercise
~ Each observation is a point. The person with the most points wins
~ The second half of the game can be repeated weekly to reinforce mindfulness
Other Fun Ideas
~ Easter egg hunt (questions in each egg). Answering the question correctly gets you a point.
~ Scavenger Hunt (communication and team work)
~ Ropes course
~ Skits (conflict management, making friends etc)
~ Beach ball with questions (relapse prevention/aftercare, triggers—(how would you deal with…)