Episode 116 – Therapeutic Gaming Revisited (with Jack Berkenstock)


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We’re delighted to welcome Jack Berkenstock Jr. of The Bodhana Group back onto the mics this week! Jack previously joined us on STG 25, when he introduced us to the idea of roleplaying games as an adjunct therapeutic tool for children who were victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse, among others. This time, he’s here to talk more about RPGs in treatment for social skills, grief, loss, and more. After catching up with our old friend a bit, we let him plug Save Against Fear 2017 (Oct. 13-15 in Harrisburg, PA)—which we can confirm Jenny will attend this year, so catch up with her there too if you see her! We also plug the /r/ChristianDnD subreddit, especially for anyone looking to find other folks to game online with.

That done, we chat briefly about the 2017 total solar eclipse and answer (another) question from Patreon backer Fernando about Saturday morning cartoons we’d want to turn into games. Naturally, this gave us a chance to plug our podcasting friends over at the Gameable Saturday Morning Podcast, and Peter’s episodes on Batman: The Animated Series there. Our other choices: E.X.O. Squad, Reboot, Star Blazers, and Toad Patrol! (And yes, please nominate your own cartoons to game in the comments.)

Finally, we settle in and let Jack talk about his introduction to gaming, how he found out he wanted to do therapy for kids who were hurting badly, and how he figured out that those two loves might work together. In particular, we discuss methodologies, what kind of metrics work and don’t work in these sorts of situations, Olivia’s House, and how the therapeutic sessions Bodhana runs differ from your average tabletop game.

Games mentioned this episode: Unknown Armies; Cartoon Action Hour; Blades in the Dark; No Thank You, Evil!; Pugmire; Retrostar. Also mentioned: Face Value Comics; The Anglican Church’s “Prayer for Reconciliation”.

Scripture: Psalm 16:7-10, Psalm 91:2-6, John 8:2-11, Galatians 6:1-2

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