Proudly Serving Montgomery County Maryland
301 Inspiration Lane, Second Floor, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
I’m Dr. Kelli Dunlap, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in games and mental health. I have a masters in game design and use games as part of my therapeutic practice with individuals. My co-facilitator, Max Raabe, MA also has a masters in game design and has been GMing (aka facilitating) group tabletop games for over a decade. Together, we’re excited to provide a unique therapeutic group that uses role-playing games as a tool for developing social skills and fostering interpersonal well-being.
The use of tabletop role-playing games in a therapeutic setting is not new, but it is a rapidly developing area of clinical interest. Roleplaying is a well-established clinical tool that allows a person to practice a variety of skills, such as effective communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, in a supportive environment and without social risk. Situations requiring these skills occur naturally in tabletop gaming – no one takes on the Final Boss alone. Because the game is a step removed from “real life,” it provides space for players to more earnestly explore novel situations, to conjure creative and unique solutions, and practice interacting with others through play and performance.
Goals of the Tabletop Roleplaying Groups include the development and improvement of:
Summary: This group is for children ages 11 – 13 and is facilitated completely online. Each session is approximately 90 minutes, during which children will step into the character roles of their choice, from intrepid adventurers to spell-casting wizards. For this age group, we tend to use more kid-friendly role-playing systems like Kids on Bikes, No Thank You Evil, and Pugmire. The specific RPG system for the group will be finalized after group members are selected to ensure that the role-play and surrounding stories is customized to the group’s needs.
Cost: Free; There is no cost for these sessions. While therapeutic RPGs is something Dr. Dunlap and Mr. Raabe are very familiar with, doing this work 100% online is a new frontier. We’ve tested and prepared the tech angle as much as possible, but there will likely be hiccups along the way. As a thanks for your support and patience as we navigate this new normal, we’re offering the group at no cost.
Schedule: The group will start as soon as we have enough players who meet criteria – tweens with mild to moderate mood disorders and/or ADHD. Our aim is to have the group set and ready to go by the second week in May. Groups run approximately 90 minutes with time to get up, move around, stretch, and shake it out. Meetings are currently set for Tuesdays at 2:00PM, however this may shift based on availability of participants.
Dr Kelli Dunlap, PsyD is licensed psychologist specializing in games and mental health. With a masters in game design as well as her doctorate in clinical psychology, she’s our resident Geek and Gamer Therapist. Dr. Dunlap has been researching games and mental health for over a decade and is internationally known as an expert in the field. Her clinical expertise is grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy and she integrates her experience in gameplay and game design to foster personal development and psychological growth in both individual and group settings.
Max Raabe, MA is a mental health paraprofessional, game designer, and expert tabletop facilitator.