I know someone with a gaming problem;
What do i do?

3-part candid interview with luke vu phd. 


by sasha k.

Ever wondered what therapy for gaming addiction would be like, and what to do about it first and foremost? Today, we bring to you a conversation we had with Luke Vu – a PhD and psychologist treating digital addictions who runs his recovery clinic in Maroubra, on the topic of gaming addiction. This is Part 3 of a three-part topic that is available exclusively on this blog! 


I think I might know someone who is at risk of gaming addiction. What do I need to do first? Is there some kind of “first aid” that I can administer?

If you want to engage them yourself,  you could! But know that it requires a particular skill set. Do you know how to talk to someone with an addiction problem? Because you want to be non-judgmental and listen to what they’re saying, instead of pushing your beliefs onto them.

 

You want to make it so that the other person is able to open up and share with you what is going through their lives, how they felt about gaming before, and how it is adding to the problems in their lives.

 

If you’re not open, receptive, and able to connect with them - then why would they ever want to communicate any tiny motivation to change? If they think you are going to straight up judge them for their problems, why should they share anything with you?

What do you mean by “non-judgmental”? I care about them, and I do think that gaming can be / has been detrimental to their overall situation, and I want them to understand that. 

Ok, let’s say that you have that gaming problem. And then someone goes and tells you about how it’s causing all these problems in your life, saying things like “I don’t see any value in that game,” “grow up already,” or ask you “why do you waste your time?”


The second you hear the criticism, your defences go up. Do you think that would be the moment you share your realisation that your gaming is getting out of control? Then in that vulnerable moment, imagine if you heard “I told you so.”

 

So if you want to help the ones you love who are at risk, you have to be the one that invites those moments without “enabling” the behaviour. You have to be tactful, skillful, empathic and respectful. It’s really challenging especially if your loved one’s addiction has hurt you in the past.

Ok, so let’s say I can be that person they can go to. Then is there some way that I can help them with it, without them having to go to the therapist/psychologist for it? 

It really depends on the “severity” of the case. If you’ve managed to establish a healthy, empathetic dialogue where they can talk to you about their problems and they’ve taken actions towards dealing with the problems rather than trying to avoid it - then your role is simply to support and encourage behaviours that keep them on track, and discourage ones that are off-track.


However, you also need to know that empathy is a technical skill. One would need to be able to express their thoughts and emotions openly, learn not to be defensive, and still be able to say something positive even though they might be attacking you.

Attacking me how? 

You - a close significant other - need to know that you are not exempt from the possibility that you are one of the reasons why they are escaping through gaming. For example, they might be saying things like “I feel pressure from mom/dad from having to get super good grades all the time” or “I feel like nothing I do for you as a husband is ever good enough”.


To be able to hear that, and to refrain from reacting defensively or judgmentally, and more, takes training and a lot of practice.

Recognising that moments of deep self-realisation are precious opportunities to begin recovery 

Of course, it is always worth trying [to help]. However if not done well, you might also be making the problem worse.

Luke Vu PhD.

Well, at least I can try. What’s the worse that can happen? 

Of course, it is always worth trying. However if not done well, you might also be making the problem worse.


Some people who suffer from gaming addiction (or any type of addiction) might get a moment of deep self-realisation about how their use is causing a problem for them. They might get the courage to go to you to say how they want to seek help, and you might retort with “yeah you should have done that last year.”


Well, for a some, that quip might slightly discourage them and squash the little motivation they have to seek help. The moment passes and odds are, the addiction gets worse. Now- I’m not assigning blame or responsibility here, but rather, a missed opportunity to start a recovery journey.


Imagine that you were able to capitalise on those moments, help shift the conversation towards change and protect that relationship by getting them to seek professional help.

That’s where I come in.

lightbulb-o

Highlights

  • It is very important to be non-judgmental and listen to what they’re saying, instead of pushing your beliefs onto them.
  • You have to be tactful, skillful, empathic and respectful, so that they would be open to go to you to communicate any tiny motivation to change.
  • Empathy is a technical skill. One would need to be able to express their thoughts and emotions openly, learn not to be defensive, and still be able to say something positive even though they might be attacking you.
  • Help shift the conversation towards change and protect that relationship by getting them to seek professional help.

Ready for therapy?

Let's work towards overcoming your struggles with gaming addiction

Not quite ready? Check out my youtube channel for free recovery tips


Hi, I'm Luke. I'm a registered psychologist and former award-winning university teacher that treats gaming addiction. If you're struggling with keeping your gaming habits under control or attempting to quit 

I can help.

My style of psychotherapy is a non-judgmental focused approach to teach you the mental skills to motivate yourself to take action and regain control over your gaming habits. I can help you build the mental skills to live your meaningful life where gaming isn't a problem

My practice is located at Suite 604 / 806 Anzac Parade, Maroubra, NSW 2035

Copyright 2019,  Luke Vu PhD.   

Information presented here does not constitute mental health advice and is educational in nature.