Applied vs Therapeutic RPGs

There's recently been a lot of discussion about the difference between running a therapeutic game and a non therapeutic game. One of the key pieces that a therapeutic game requires is that the DM is some type of licensed mental health professional, but that has left a lot of other games without a good way to describe themselves, often having to revert to the therapeutic terminology out of necessity due to the general familiarity with the idea.

That sparked a discussion and creation of a new terminology- Applied RPGs. This is a much better term, as it can describe any sort of mental health adjacent, educationally oriented, or otherwise explicitly goal oriented game. It also encompasses therapeutic games, so therapeutic DMs can refer to their games as applied RPGs as well, which creates a healther discourse. Previously, there was a lot of discussion about what made a therapeutic game therapeutic (and what was not therapeutic/who wasn't allowed to call their game therapeutic), and one of the problems was most of the people describing this were therapists themselves, which resembled gatekeeping to some degree- something that is particular sensitive to some, given that most of the people setting these boundaries were white, straight men.

By fitting these games under the applied RPG umbrella, we can start having healthy and more inclusive discussions about how games can help people. They might be a leadership group. They might be a social skills development group. They might be a PTSD focused therapy group. They might be a tutoring/school group. They may be a queer group.  They may be a foster care group. By opening it to this much more egalitarian ecosystem, we can appreciate what each group does in a way that is not fixed in a 'therapeutic vs non therapeutic' dialogue, but a more descriptive and informative fashion.

And overall, I've incredibly happy about this.