Relatability Is A Superpower For Helping Someone With Gaming Addiction

In a world where gaming addiction is on the rise, and at the same time, we are seeing the benefits of gaming and grassroots esports,  you can see how confusing and contradictory the different narratives can be around gaming. First off, gaming disorder is not easy to diagnose, but you don't have to have a gaming disorder to need a little help gaming in a healthier way. Despite becoming more mainstream in the last decade or so, gaming sees plenty of misunderstanding from parents and professionals if they don’t play, and a lack of understanding from many of the young people who do. This gap in knowledge creates a rift between parents and their kids which becomes problematic, and contributes to a lot of unhealthy relationships with gaming. 

GameAware exists to bridge that knowledge gap, and explore the complexity behind games, the people playing them, the psychology of their design, and what healthy gaming looks like.  We firmly believe that it takes one to know one. This value is embodied by all of our work. The GameAware team has a variety of backgrounds that are essential to being able to connect with our clients, but every one of us is a gamer, and that relatability is our superpower.

It’s quite common for clinicians to struggle to build rapport and access their many valuable skills if they aren’t able to “speak video game”, and that’s exactly where we come in.  We know that gamers at risk of gaming disorder need a dual diagnosis solution. A clinician’s work is so important and we want to help enable more successful interactions with gamers by either teaming up to help, or offering our workshops so that they can talk the talk, even if they can't walk the walk. The connection is the key to breaking through a gamer's defensive wall and inspiring a different way of seeing things.

Top 3 tips when working with a gamer using the CARED model.

  1. Explore the intrinsic motivators behind why they are playing(CAR), and whether or not they are finding ways to fill these buckets in real life.
  2. Establish whether they are playing to escape their real life circumstances and/or mental health struggles.
  3. Get the child to coach their parents in the game of their choice so that there is a hands-on experience that helps to understand the nuance of the game and the motivation to play it.

Case Study: Matthew - ABC RN Story

The importance of connection when inspiring change.

  • 16yo male
  • Struggled to connect with clinicians because they didn’t understand his passion / problem. His defensive wall went up immediately.
  • Neurodivergent (ASD and ADHD)
  • School refusal
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Mother had said that they tried 5 clinicians in 3 years who didn’t understand video games and got nowhere.
  • Our goal was to help prepare him to go back to a clinician and work on those issues after being primed by the program, and connect to his real life hobbies again.
  • Success came with finding fulfillment more in real life with the intrinsic motivators.
    • Activity to connect with his father and push Competence and Autonomy was to create an old school arcade machine. Hitting all buckets very well in that example.
    • In a MamaMia followup story on Matthew (8 months later), we learn that he is holding onto part time jobs and getting his driver’s license.
    • This was the power of relatability, metacognition, and self reflection.

This impact was significant nearly 5 years ago, and we have come a long way since. Our mentoring and gaming clubs services have grown and evolved since and we feel that our impact has as well. Our mentoring adds the benefits that come from elements of motivational interviewing and improved content. The really complex cases work best when we can liaise with clinicians to take the dual diagnosis approach by working on problematic gaming and mental health at the same time.

4 Ways we can help


Helping you connect with gamers.

  • Professional Development Packages, custom to your organisation
  • Online Professional Development Course(ready for early 2024)
  • Monthly Online Workshops
  • The GameAware mentors can liaise with mental health supports for a necessary dual diagnosis approach.


We educate parents and guide gamers to play intelligently, build resilience and find fulfillment in real life.

  • Services include 1on1 or 1on2 Mentoring, and the Neurodivergent Gaming Club.
  • Resources include the parent online short course with insights, strategies and tools


Parents. Students. Teachers. Esports.

  • We help the entire school community build healthier relationships with gaming.
  • Free school starter kit to set up a social gaming club or esports program at school.
  • Online Courses and Live Presentations for Parents, Students, Teachers, Esports.


From grassroots to professional

  • Grassroots: Scholastic Esports Hub 
    • Esports Performance Short Course
    • Connecting Schools to Competitions with the Scholastic Esports Hub
  • Professional: Esports Performance Coaching
    • GameAware coaching services aim to use performance psychology, mindset, and evidence based practices to help players perform their best in competition, under pressure.

If you work with a lot of neurodivergent clients, you might find this interview with Tony Attwood helpful.

We would love to work with you. Please contact us by filling out our enquiry form and 

feel free to explore our blog posts or media page..

3 ways we help families