The growing trend of using games for therapy stems from the increasing recognition of their unique potential to engage and benefit individuals. 

Therapeutic games blend entertainment with elements of traditional treatment, creating a holistic approach to health and well-being. For professionals, games offer innovative tools to help balance, rehabilitate and manage patient illness

Meanwhile, individuals can benefit from the convenience and accessibility of these games, using them to self-manage conditions and improve mental and physical health from the comfort of their homes, creating an inclusive gaming experience. This dual-purpose approach revolutionises how therapy is conducted and experienced, making it more enjoyable and effective for all parties involved.

An example of inclusive therapy games being used for the elderly

Moreover, as games are being used broadly and when working with diverse audiences, we must consider inclusive gaming. Inclusive gaming is essential because it ensures everyone can participate and benefit from gameplay regardless of background or abilities. 

We can achieve this by prioritising accessibility features, consulting with diverse cultural groups to ensure representation and sensitivity in game design, and testing and interviewing audiences to gather feedback and make necessary adjustments. 

By embracing inclusive gaming practices, we can create welcoming and empowering experiences for all individuals, enhancing gaming's therapeutic benefits.

The Benefits of Therapy Games

Therapeutic and inclusive games offer a range of benefits for both physical and mental well-being. They provide opportunities for physical activity, cognitive stimulation, and emotional regulation. Research has shown that gameplay can reduce stress, improve mood, enhance cognitive function, and even aid pain management. Moreover, these games create a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment, motivating individuals to continue with their therapy or self-care routines.

A father and daughter using video games for recovery and therapy

Inclusive gaming goes beyond simply providing entertainment; it promotes diversity, equity, and accessibility in the gaming community. Game developers can ensure that players of all backgrounds and abilities feel represented and included by designing games with diverse characters, customisable settings, and adaptable controls. Inclusive gaming fosters empathy and understanding, allowing players to experience different perspectives and challenges.

Examples of specific health issues that can be addressed with therapeutic and inclusive games:

Therapeutic and inclusive games can effectively address a wide range of health issues, including anxiety, depression, and disabilities like motor skill impairments. For example, games designed for anxiety management may incorporate relaxation techniques and mindfulness exercises to help players cope with stress.


Similarly, games for individuals with motor skill impairments or disabilities may focus on improving coordination, mobility, or cognitive function through adapted gameplay mechanics and accessible interfaces. Games like Celeste or Marvel’s Spider-Man have all been adapted to allow people with disabilities to enjoy them!

Types of Therapeutic and Inclusive Games

Physical Therapy Games:

Physical therapy games utilise interactive technologies like motion sensors or virtual reality for rehabilitation exercises to improve mobility, strength, coordination, and balance in individuals recovering from injuries or surgeries. These games engage patients in fun activities, promote adherence to exercise programs, offer real-time feedback, and allow therapists to tailor treatment plans. The video below from Johns Hopkins University shows this example in real-time.

Cognitive Training Games: 

Cognitive training games challenge memory, attention, problem-solving, and other mental abilities to stimulate and strengthen neural pathways, delaying cognitive decline. For example, Luminosity is one of the largest brain exercise programs catering to over 100 million users, with challenges and tests tailored to each individual. From brain teasers to strategy games, these activities keep the mind sharp and agile, benefiting individuals with Alzheimer's or attention deficit disorders.

Mindfulness Games: 

Mindfulness games incorporate meditation exercises, breathing techniques, or visualisation activities to promote relaxation, stress reduction, and emotional well-being. They offer a calming and immersive experience that encourages self-reflection and inner peace, providing valuable coping skills for managing stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Games like Kinder World have taken the internet by storm, with many users praising the chance to reset and relax simply. 


Games Designed for Accessibility: 

Games that prioritise accessibility are also extremely important and are often built with inclusivity in mind. For example, The Last of Us 2 has over 60 accessibility features, including remappable controls, subtitles, colour-blind modes, and alternative input methods like voice commands and gesture controls. This ensures everyone can enjoy gaming experiences without barriers.

Integrating Inclusive Games in Professional Settings

How professionals can utilise therapeutic and inclusive games in their practice to cater to diverse populations

Professionals can integrate therapeutic and inclusive games into their practice to cater to diverse populations by selecting games that address specific therapeutic goals and are accessible to all individuals. By incorporating these games into therapy sessions, professionals can engage clients in meaningful and enjoyable activities that support their treatment plans. Additionally, professionals can adapt game mechanics and settings to accommodate their client's unique needs and preferences, ensuring everyone can participate fully in the therapeutic process.

An example of how video games can be both therapeutic and inclusive

Case studies or examples of successful integration of games into therapy sessions with an emphasis on inclusivity:

Many case studies have demonstrated the successful integration of therapeutic and inclusive games into therapy sessions across various settings and populations. For instance, therapists working with children with moderate anxiety and depression have used games like SPARX to help manage these emotions. 

Other games like SuperBetter aim to empower youth through their hold on mental health and resilience. Listen below to the creator of SuperBetter, Jane McGonigal, talk about why the app works and the science behind it -

Therapeutic and Inclusive Games for Self-Healing at Home

How individuals, including those with disabilities, can use games to self-heal and manage health issues at home

Therapeutic and inclusive games offer individuals, including those with disabilities, a convenient and engaging way to self-heal and manage health issues at home. Individuals can take an active role in their wellness journey by playing games that target specific areas of improvement, such as stress reduction, cognitive stimulation, or physical rehabilitation. Moreover, the accessibility features built into many inclusive games ensure that everyone can participate and benefit from gameplay, regardless of ability.

A screenshot from the game ABZU by giant Squid

Recommendations for accessible games that provide therapeutic benefits and foster inclusivity

There is a wide variety of accessible games available that provide therapeutic benefits and foster inclusivity. Our recommendations include games that promote relaxation and mindfulness, such as ABZU. Games designed for physical therapy or cognitive training can help individuals improve motor skills, memory, and concentration, such as FitMi, used by over 1,000 hospitals worldwide.

Another game that has good accessibility features and promotes social and communication connections, potentially for patients or people who are less inclined to leave the house, is Minecraft. Choosing games with customisable settings and adaptable controls is important to accommodate diverse needs and preferences. You can check out the website Can I Play That? For detailed accessibility reviews straight from the community.

Embracing Inclusive Therapy Games

Therapeutic and inclusive gaming is essential in professional therapy settings and personal self-care routines. These games blend entertainment with therapeutic principles, offering unique benefits for physical and mental well-being while promoting diversity, equity, and accessibility.

Want to learn more about healthcare games in general? Check out our blog, which features 15 games that are modernising healthcare!

We encourage everybody to explore therapeutic and inclusive games to enhance their health, foster inclusivity, and promote diversity. Engaging with these games allows you to discover new ways to manage stress, improve cognitive function, and connect with others in a supportive environment. The more we discuss these games' importance, the more technology and developers will work together to create them.

By advocating for accessibility and representation in gaming, we can ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of gaming. 

Do you have a game concept that could benefit your patients or people you know? Book a free brainstorming session with us today, and let’s discuss it!