Problem Gamers’ Perceptions and Experiences of Therapy: A Thematic Analysis

Driver, James
Appel, Stephen
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Master of Psychotherapy
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Auckland University of Technology

This dissertation asks how treatment is experienced by problematic gamers and gaming addicts who have sought help for this issue. Four participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interviewing approach, and the transcripts of these interviews were analysed using the methodology of thematic analysis.

Two central themes were identified: ‘Hope’, and ‘Fear’. These themes represented opposing forces which either motivated participants to engage with treatment and believe that positive outcomes were possible, or to avoid treatment and believe that negative outcomes were more likely. Each of these major themes was supported by two sub-themes which illustrated the major factors that contributed to a sense of hope or fear in treatment for this particular issue: ‘Belief in self’, ‘Identification and belonging’, ‘Judgement’, and ‘Dismissal’.

‘Belief in self’ related to participants’ trusting and valuing their own perceptions and experiences even when these were questioned or dismissed by clinicians. ‘Identification and belonging’ related to participants’ feeling that there was a place for them in treatment, and finding others with whom they could identify in treatment. Both of these sub-themes contributed to participants’ experiences of hope in the treatment.

‘Judgement’ related to participants’ experiences of being pitied, condemned, or otherwise negatively evaluated by clinicians. ‘Dismissal’ related to participants’ experiences of not being taken seriously, or being dismissed by clinicians. Both of these sub-themes contributed to participants’ experiences of fear in the treatment.

Gaming addiction , Thematic analysis , Problem gaming , Client experience , Addiction treatment , Semi-structured interviews
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