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Centerstone offers Dungeons & Dragons experiential therapy group

Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments, is offering a new Dungeons & Dragons Therapy Group, hosted virtually on Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m., beginning January 22.

The Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) Therapy Group will be available to adults in substance use disorder and/or mental health services at Centerstone. The group will utilize role-playing and fantasy alongside real life teamwork and communication to succeed in missions and accomplish tasks the group encounters. It will serve as an outlet during COVID-19 and an opportunity for creative coping with like-minded individuals.

The main goal of the group is to enhance clients’ skills in communication, socialization, creativity and adaptability. Through tabletop role-playing games like D&D, players learn to better understand teamwork and character strengths of themselves and others. It provides an opportunity for increased mindfulness, as players think through their decisions as their characters rather than as themselves.

“I’m excited to offer this group virtually to give people an opportunity to connect during a time when it feels nearly impossible to do so,” says Dani LaPlant, Outpatient Counselor for Centerstone and ‘Dungeon Master’ of the D&D Therapy Group. “From playing D&D even outside of a therapeutic context, I’ve seen the way it can serve people as a comforting creative outlet. A D&D group provides a safe environment for people to talk through and process relationship issues, grievances and successes, and can even help boost self-esteem.”

While this is not the first D&D experiential therapy program to exist, Centerstone’s D&D Therapy Group is the only one of its kind in Southern Illinois. The group is offered in addition to, rather than replacement of, counseling services, and adults of all backgrounds and levels of role-playing experience enrolled in Centerstone’s services are welcome to play.

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