In-Depth Information: How does d20|therapy work?

futureeyeguy.jpg At the real world level: What is group therapy?

There are many ways to think about group therapy:

  • A place to work out problems with assistance from others
  • A social laboratory where you can experiment with ways of being and get feedback from yourself and group members
  • A place to “Level Up” your life

Think about group therapy as a space to unpack and work through different parts of your life. It's a place where you can get direct input and support from others about your experience, and how you interact with them. You can choose to apply the knowledge from the group to your life in different ways and improve your world. Most often, groups are about expression, support, and learning.

How does this mesh with tabletop RPGs?


Let's start with what a tabletop RPG game is at its most fundamental level.

It's group storytelling and playing. Within the story, the tellers (aka Players and GM) collaboratively act out roles they've made for themselves (aka Characters) to navigate through a story arc.

Story as working with the world:

Roleplay is an ancient way to work with the world. Imagining scenarios and putting yourself through them is how people deal with situations and challenges all the time: playing out a conversation you need to have with your boss in your head is really no different than kids pretending to be zombies and zombie hunters on the playground. You can check out for more information on this.

Players and Characters:

People naturally connect with figures in stories and games. That's what's makes it fun: identifying with the triumph and loss experienced by their Characters (or favorite sports team, or lead role in a movie, etc.). In tabletop RPGs people make the characters they want. Characters often have qualities that the Player is proud of and wants to enhance and show off in the story. Conversely, Characters may also have parts that their Players wish they had. Through their Characters, Player can see what it would be like to have these qualities and learn to incorporate them into the their real life. Most people have learned vicariously through all kinds of Characters: I know I have.

How does this work therapeutically?


All this lets people do experiments and science on themselves:

  • What is it like to really be me?
    • They don't have to know the Character I'm playing is myself.

  • What is it like to be something totally different?
    • My emotions rule everything... what if my character works on pure logic?

  • What is it like to be a mix? How will others react? Will people still like, respect, or fear me if I act XYZ?

Often, this happens on a less-than-conscious level, so in this setting you can do it purposefully and actively explore these ideas.

As Characters advance and develop during the game, they will face many challenges. Paralleling this, challenges may also come up among Players during the game (all groups in any situation inevitably have some kind of challenge come up :-) ). These Player challenges will also get worked out in real time, so it functions on both levels simultaneously.

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Services Overview

d20 | Therapy provides mental health support for people in the Hudson Valley

Contact Us

In the case of emergency, please call 911.

For all other inquires, we can be reached at:

Address:Reisner Counseling Services
243 Main St., Suite #260
New Paltz, NY 12561
Telephone: (845)-332-9500
FAX: (845)-746-9092