Mental Health Representation in Games

About this Training

Nearly a quarter of video games depict characters with psychological disorders or symptoms of a mental illness, but research into these portrayals and their potential impact is practically non-existent. This is simultaneously troubling and an opportunity as video games are the dominant cultural form of the 21st century. Like traditional forms of expression or storytelling, video games convey the values and beliefs of the people and societies that create them while simultaneously being a catalyst for societal change. By examining how contemporary video games depict mental illness, we develop an understanding of what stigmas and stereotypes persist in the digital space and, more importantly, how to work with clients to manage these depictions.

Mental Health Representation in Games

Learning Objectives

  • #1

    List the ways mental health and mental illness manifest in games

  • #2

    Assess the potential benefits, harm, limitations, and ethics of mental illness portrayals in games.

Play Therapy

Learning Objectives

  • #1

    Participants will be able to define play therapy and identify the 10 seminal theories and historically relevant approaches that guide play therapy practice.

  • #2

    Participants will identify two play therapy interventions that combine characters, themes, and/or narratives present in video games that harness the therapeutic power of play for supporting the mental health and well-being of children, adolescents, adults, and/or families.

1 NBCC Hour Upon Completion

Geek Therapeutics has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7042. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Geek Therapeutics is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
NBCC ACEP # 7042

1 ACE CE Hour Upon Completion

Geek Therapeutics, #1769, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Geek Therapeutics maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 05/19/2021 – 05/19/2022. Social workers completing this course receive 1 continuing education credits.

1 APT CE Hour Upon Completion

Geek Therapeutics, #21-649, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Play Therapy (APT)Approved Continuing Education program. Registered and Associated Play Therapists completing this course receive 1 continuing education credits.



Kelli Dunlap

Kelli Dunlap, M.A., PsyD is a psychologist and game designer who leverages her unique expertise to advocate for and advance the intersection of games and mental health. She has been recognized internationally for her work in the games and psychology space and is an outspoken advocate for mental health in and through games. She has presented at national and international events including the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, UNESCO MGIEP in Visakhapatnam, India, and the APA’s Technology Mind and Society conference. She is an award-winning game designer who has collaborated on games projects with the National Institute of Mental Health and the Knight Foundation and as well as developed her own digital game addressing mental health issues. Dr. Dunlap earned her masters in game design from American University and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology. She is an adjunct professor of game design at the Amerian University Game Lab and a program manager for Take This, a mental health and games non-profit. Outside of work, Dr. Dunlap is a Velocity Mentor for the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Foundation, chair of the IGDA mental health special interest group, and published author of multiple book chapters and peer-reviewed papers.

Enjoy These Further Benefits!

  • Understand Your Clients

    Learn how to understand and work with derived from competent practice, knowledge, and culture while knowing what questions to ask them.

  • Learn From A Leader In The Field

    Presented by one of the leading experts in the field of Psychology, this training presents upon the topic using real life examples.

  • Become Knowledgeable In The Culture

    Through understanding the culture and connecting with our clients, we create meaning, relationships, and a place for new thought to birth.

Course Curriculum

  • 1

    Mental Health Representation in Games

    • Welcome to the Mental Health Representation in Games Workshop!

    • Mental Health Representation PPT Handout

    • Video Games and Play Therapy PPT Handout

  • 2

    Mental Health Representation in Games Video

    • Mental Health Representation in Games Video

    • The Therapeutic Potential of Video Games in Play Therapy

  • 3

    Mental Health Representation in Games Learning Objectives Quiz

    • Mental Health Representation in Games Learning Objectives Quiz

  • 4

    Mental Health Representation in Games CE Evaluation

    • Mental Health Representation in Games CE Evaluation

  • 5

    Final Steps

    • Here are the next steps!

Other Information

Access is provided to the course via email after registration and payment is made.

System Requirements: A computer and a stable internet connection.

Target Audience: Psychologists, Social Workers, Counselors, Mental Health Professionals.

Content Level: Beginner

Course Completion Requirements: Completing all sections of the training of written information, video completion, learning objectives quiz, and course evaluation.  Evaluations are part of the coursework.  The certificate will then be generated immediately after all requirements have been completed.

Date Recorded: 02/08/2020

Please contact Geek Therapeutics for any grievances at

Disability Accommodations

It is the responsibility of the Individual to contact Geek Therapeutics to request disability accommodations at   

Geek Therapeutics is committed to helping each student reach his/her academic potential and to providing every student equal opportunity to participate in and engage with the course.  In keeping with this commitment, effort has been made to develop accessible learning materials that provide equal access.  Please contact Geek Therapeutics immediately if access to course materials is restricted due to a disability so the issue(s) can be resolved in a timely manner.

Geek Therapeutics

1650 West Rosedale Street, Suite 305, Fort Worth, Texas 76104 – (682) 231-2420