#GSWDS2020

How Biofeedback Video Games are Helping Children and Adolescents Build Automaticity for Managing and Controlling Emotions (Mightier)

How Biofeedback Video Games are Helping Children and Adolescents Build Automaticity for Managing and Controlling Emotions (Mightier)

Description

Have you sat with a child and adolescent in your therapy office who can recite every coping skill that you have practiced with them, but soon after they leave your office they cannot access those skills? Has your client practiced skills like deep breathing and mindfulness in sessions with you, but then cannot seem to use these skills in moments of frustration or escalation?

Traditional ways to help children to manage and control emotions has not changed much in the past 20 years, but children’s needs have. Children learn best when they have a way to explore and practice new skills on their own terms through play. Biofeedback video games are becoming more popular as a way to treat children. Bioresponsive and biofeedback video games offer a unique and innovative approach to treatment in a variety of ways such as helping to create a visual for children’s emotions and allowing children to practice emotional regulation at home or at school where children get triggered most often. It also helps to engage parents and caregivers as a part of the therapeutic process and develop automaticity. Automaticity is the process in which a behavior becomes and automatic pattern or habit as a result of repetition and practice.

Through play with biofeedback video games, children and adolescents have seen an increase in this automatic process of being able to manage their emotions through coping skills. Whether it be taking a deep breath when they are starting to get frustrated, or noticing their body is getting too excited and taking a pause before saying or doing something they may regret, children are practicing these skills and translating them outside of play time into their daily interactions with peers, their families, at school, and within their communities. All this work is all done in a fun and child-driven way using new and exciting technology.

Learning Objectives

1. State what bioresponsive/biofeedback technology is and how it works.

2. Explain what automaticity is and what the process for developing automaticity looks like.

3. Explain how automaticity and bioresponsive/biofeedback technology can help clients who are struggling with poor emotional regulation.