He has years of experience working with youth struggling with mental health challenges and their families. He is trained in CBT and DBT which are two of the most effective therapies for improving individual’s mental health. David is passionate about helping young men who are facing mental health challenges and understands that many of them also struggle with problematic or disordered gaming.
He has extensive experience working with neuro-diverse individuals such as those with ADHD and on the autism spectrum. His approach treats individuals as whole beings addressing all aspects of their lives including social, emotional, mental and spiritual. His approach blends coaching and counselling to help clients navigate their challenges and live full meaningful lives.
When I first started working with children and youth who were struggling with mental health challenges I immediately saw how technology and video games were contributing to their distress. One of my first clients became so agitated when his mother set limits on the internet that he set their backyard on fire with gasoline. When his previous counsellor mentioned he wouldn’t get more access to wifi over the school break he destroyed his office. I knew that gaming was part of the problem but had no support or clinical direction as to how to help him. I tried to research ways to help them but couldn’t find anything in the way of clinically supported interventions.
After taking the INTENTA training I feel equipped to identify gaming problems, and treat them in the context of what my clients are experiencing.
I’ve seen the pain of suffering that gaming disorder causes individuals and their families when left unaddressed. I’ve seen how ill-informed advice from family friends and the medical community can sometimes make things worse. Parents are terrified of their child losing control and they feel out of control and unable to help them. Individuals feel trapped and hopeless, and often become suicidal. I’m passionate about helping individuals overcome these challenges so that they can live more full and meaningful lives and reach their full potential.
There is a professional gap in the gaming disorder field because there is a massive lag (20-30 years) between research and clinical interventions for all mental disorders. The other main reason is that relatively few people experience gaming disorder in proportion to the total number of people gaming which makes it easy for people to dismiss claims that gaming disorder even exists.
The video game industry also funds research showing that gaming promotes healthy brain functioning and learning which makes it more difficult for society to see the potential risks. This has led to a lack of urgency in addressing this problem. In order to fix it those of us who recognize the problems whether mental health professionals, researchers, parents or individuals need to gather together and make our voices heard in advocating for more research and support around this issue.
Clinicians need more training so that they can help individuals and families. Schools and parents need to be informed so that they can prevent gaming problems from developing and limit the risk the children they care for face. This requires an open dialogue about the good and bad of gaming and motivation to make the necessary changes. By sharing your story you can help be a part of this movement to raise awareness about gaming problems and the solutions that can help fix them.