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Therapists Log On To WoW To Counsel Addicts 187

eldavojohn writes "So, you can't find the time to leave the World of Warcraft to seek help for your World of Warcraft addiction? Sounds reasonable. Well, addiction therapists are coming to meet you so you don't have to quit playing as they counsel you and your addiction. From the leader of this initiative, Dr. Graham: 'We will be launching this project by the end of the year. 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.' Send in the level 5 counselor and let the games begin!" What happens when the therapists become addicted?
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Therapists Log On To WoW To Counsel Addicts

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  • Blizzard reaction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beowulfcluster ( 603942 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:39AM (#28864755)
    "Blizzard Entertainment was unavailable for comment at the time of publication."

    I'd guess they might not be thrilled with an organized effort directed at making people stop giving them money, taking place on their own servers no less. I wonder how they'll be making contact with these players. The kind of players they want to talk to is hardly the kind that will seek out counceling on their own. How will they know who to contact, will they count on friends to connect them? How will they get past the (probably) inevitable /ignore that will result from an unsolicited therapy session attempt?
  • by SterlingSylver ( 1122973 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:45AM (#28864819)
    You've got a good point. I mean, a true addict isn't going to listen to some level 2 noob chatting with them from the barrens! Come back when you're level 90 in tier 7 dragonraid gear and we'll talk!
  • Re:how ironic... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:49AM (#28864849)

    On WOW last night i was talking to a friend who was thinking about quitting, but i convinced him to to. however he is no where near a level of addiction the could require consoling

    "You know why alcoholics always drink in a group? To make sure nobody quits." -- Mark Cunningham

  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:51AM (#28864863)

    I know quite a few clinical psychologists who won't participate in over-the-phone counseling except in cases of emergency because they feel that there is a staggering amount of information lost from the interaction due to the inability to perceive body language, eye-contact, or focus. I've staffed a hotline during an internship and a large part of the training was in dealing with those short-comings and it was universally recognized that it was not an optimal situation, but in the case where it was either talk to them on the phone or nothing, the phone is obviously preferable.

    On top of that, it's notoriously difficult to convey any kind of emotional content or tone online or through text. I can't imagine any kind of reasonable therapeutic interaction taking place... "Hey, let's talk about how you feel compelled to only grind humanoid mobs..." "LOL FAG FEELINGS R 4 NUBS!" "..." "MeloveuGOLD most happiness! Many loves! Give you 10% CRAZY EXTRA FUN FUN GOLD gogogo now to wendygold.crom now!!!" Humor aside, I suppose it would be possible to talk over ventrillo or other voice methods, but even so, there would be so many distractions it'd be ridiculous.

    If someone truly is addicted to WoW to the point where they are literally unable to tear themselves away from the game long enough to go to a therapy session in real life (and I would say the number of people in this situation is vanishingly small, approaching zero), then yes, this might be preferable, but as it is, it just sounds like something done to capitalize on the popularity of the game. It is, I suppose, an interesting thing to try this new avenue to test the efficacy, but I'm very strongly doubting that it'll be terribly effective.

  • by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:52AM (#28864883)

    Level 2 is not even the Barrens.

  • Dumb Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iYk6 ( 1425255 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:57AM (#28864937)

    This is a dumb idea, and I do not believe that any legitimate therapists would come up with it. In order for a person to get help, they must take the first step. Contrary to what we often see in movies, a person who is not willing to take the first step to help themselves will not solve their problems. If an addict will not leave their addiction to seek help, then they are not seriously looking for help, and nothing can be done for them until they recognize their problem and take the first step.

  • by archen ( 447353 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:03AM (#28864991)

    I don't know, I mean what would you expect Blizzard to say about this anyway? Even one of the loading tips says "all things in moderation, including world of warcraft". I think Blizzard is a company that honestly is concerned about people having fun. Idealy I would think a game company like that would want you to have a healthy activity in playing their game, not an overwhelming addiction - just for the simple fact that it's a better image to portray on the game. They also make money whether you play for 30 minutes a month, or 100 hours. Drawing out the subscription is the important part, so people having an "addiction" would probably mean that when they quit, they have to quit all together. Casual play is a huge money maker for them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:09AM (#28865053)

    People play WoW because they like playing WoW, not for some addicting need that your going to suddenly become physically ill if you don't play. I never heard of the term "mmo addiction" till after WoW came out. There was no Everquest addiction problem. Why? Because only geeks and nerds were playing it, and well the social norm is, is that these people are socially inept recluses who don't leave their parents basement or attic anyway.

    It wasn't until WoW came out that "normal" people started getting into the MMO scene, and suddenly it becomes and addiction. People that lack time management skills is their own fault, not WoWs. WoW just gave them an avenue to illustate how much they lack the ability to manage their time.

  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:11AM (#28865085)

    Forgive the self-reply, but I did also forget one other huge thing: confidentiality.

    Because it would be taking place in an on-line setting where a 3rd party (or several 3rd parties, if using a combination of WoW's servers and a ventrillo/teamspeak server, or an addon that might capture all incoming/outgoing text), the confidentiality of the relationship would be exactly zero. GM's could simply get their kicks on eavesdropping on conversations between known "therapist" characters, for one obvious example.

    I'm actually stunned that I forgot this in my first post, seeing as how it's a rather big deal. I suppose the client could waive confidentiality, but I can't imagine anyone actually opening up enough to get some benefit if they think they'll be overheard.

    This would be the equivalent of trying to have a private conversation at a busy Starbucks.

  • by noundi ( 1044080 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:33AM (#28865363)

    I don't know, I mean what would you expect Blizzard to say about this anyway?

    Ching ching! More revenue for us!

    That's what I'd expect Blizzard to say. I'm referring to the fact that therapists subscribe to their service in order to help the addicted.

  • Simple cure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by javakah ( 932230 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:51AM (#28865587)
    Just remember folks, if you do have a friend in WoW who is showing signs of heavy WoW addiction, there is a fairly simple way for you to help them.

    Make them your 25 man raid leader.

    This always seems to (fairly quickly) reduce the amount of time that they player in question is online playing WoW.
  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @11:48AM (#28867429) Journal

    Seen people's marriages break up because of WoW. Well, a marriage and a bunch of relationships.

    Seen children go neglected.

    Far more often not seen the players for months on end, until they're pale, wan, gaunt shadows of their former selves who have nothing to talk about because their life is WoW and delivered food.

    I'd say that the players in these situations had an addiction.

    I'd also say that 80% of players didn't have these problems, and that WoW addiction is a symptom of a deeper problem for those that did.

  • by LandDolphin ( 1202876 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @01:35PM (#28869651)
    Having played several MMOs, WoW seems like the least addictive imo. If you step away from wow for a week or two, you've not missed much. You're not behind the curve as in keeping your status in game. However, in other games, missing a day could set you behind others and feel disastrous for your character.

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.