London psychiatrist wants to offer online counseling through WoW

By Stephany Nunneley, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 18:12 GMT


British psychiatrist Dr. Richard Graham has relayed to Telegraph UK that he is concerned over MMO player addictions and is offering to help by providing in-game help online.

Planning to use World of Warcraft as a starting point, Graham contacted Blizzard to see if it would provide him a free or discounted subscription to the game so he can more easily offer assistance to players.

“We will be launching this project by the end of the year,” he said. “I think it’s already clear that psychiatrists will have to stay within the parameters of the game. They certainly wouldn’t be wandering around the game in white coats and would have to use the same characters available to other players.

“Of course one problem we’re going to have to overcome is that while a psychiatrist may excel in what they do in the real world, they’re probably not going to be very good at playing World of Warcraft.

“We may have to work at that if we are going to get through to those who play this game for hours at end.”

A solution to this, he suggested, is for other players to act as virtual mentors as gaming addiction is hard to indentify due to the self-imposed isolation of the subject.

“Those effected don’t exhibit the same outward warning signs as most teenage anti-social behavior issues do because they’re in their bedrooms most of the time, seemingly out of trouble,” he continued. “Because of this we can’t get through to them in the traditional educational environment or intrude on their actual bedrooms, we need to turn to the internet itself to tackle these problems.”

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