The Games For Therapy project explores design solutions for blending face-to-face psychological therapy with digital interventions, within a 2-years RAAK grant from the Dutch government. It leverages playful design, with the objective of producing tools that are at the same time compelling and empowering, and effective in supporting professional psychological therapy. G4T addresses teenagers with problematic externalizing behaviors, such as aggression, hyperactivity, or substance abuse.

G4T is a distributed project across a network of institutions, bringing together design education, research and healthcare. It adopts a “research through design” approach, extrapolating practical design knowledge (such as insights on users’ needs, best practices, and a design framework) from producing, testing and iterating upon prototypes. As an overall outcome, we aim at generalizing our design insights and formulate a more effective framework that could be adopted for the creation and evaluation of a broader variety of blended therapy tools.

Gabriele Ferri was “project owner” for the course in Persuasive Design at HvA (teacher: Marjolijn Ruyg), together with pediatric psychotherapists from De Bascule. Students in that class ideated, developed and tested some conceptual prototypes for games for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The analysis of those games and of the design process was documented in the paper “Playful Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Apps: Design Concepts and Tactics for Engaging Young Patients”, presented at the ACM Interaction Design and Children conference.