What is Healthy Gamer Coaching? Personal vs. Group Coaching and more.

Healthy Gamer Coaching
Kabir Lal
Kabir Lal
Community Manager

The History of Healthy Gamer Coaching

Dr. Alok Kanojia, Harvard-trained Psychiatrist and co-founder of Healthy Gamer.
Dr. Alok Kanojia, Harvard-trained Psychiatrist and co-founder of Healthy Gamer.

Healthy Gamer started in 2019 because Dr. K found himself having the same conversation with every gamer. How do I stop playing video games? How do I get unstuck in life? How do I do the things I know I need to do but cannot bring myself to do them? How do I become more confident, form authentic relationships, and spend more time with people rather than in front of a screen?

After talking with people on his Steam friends list, he realized that this is a major problem that nobody is addressing. He heard again and again from gamers that they went to see a psychiatrist, got diagnosed with depression, were given a pill, sent home, and then they spent the rest of their days playing video games. Their life did not change in any meaningful way.

Drawing on his training in psychology, along with his own experience with video game addiction, failing out of school, and eastern approaches to the mind, he started streaming these conversations with gamers on Twitch. Over time, he realized that he could not help every person on his own — meaningful change required a different approach. He could not rely on traditional structures of mental health to help gamers. Therefore, he started the Healthy Gamer Coaching program.

Even though the Healthy Gamer Coaching Program started to help people with problematic gaming habits and getting unstuck in life, it has since scaled to help the internet generation with almost any non-clinical or subclinical mental health challenge.


What is Healthy Gamer Coaching?

If you feel ill, you should probably go to a medical doctor to look at your body and give you a treatment plan tailored to your needs. But what if you are not sick but want to be healthier? What if you want to exercise and get in shape but don’t have the motivation?

The chances are that your doctor will not be able to help you with that. Medicine is about fixing something that’s broken; it doesn’t focus much on building health. That is where Healthy Gamer Coaching comes in.

Not all physical health is a pill, and not all mental health support is clinical therapy. Healthy Gamer Coaching bridges the gap in mental health with affordable, online coaching that helps people build the lives they want to live. Coaching gives you the tools to locate, analyze and solve your and other people’s problems. That is the space the HG Coaching occupies.

To demonstrate what HG Coaching is, we need to answer the question: what is NOT HG coaching? There are many misconceptions about what coaching is, how it works, and why it’s effective. 

Coaching is NOT a substitute for mental health treatment for a licensed medical professional. Coaching can NOT help clients find solutions for mental illness. Our coaches are NOT trained in the same way that therapists and medical professionals are, so they literally could not help people with mental illness even if they wanted to. They cannot diagnose or provide treatment plans.  

Traditional mental health focuses on illnesses, whereas Healthy Gamer Coaching focuses on self-understanding, emotional processing, and moving forward to build the life you want. Therefore, HG Coaching is NOT therapy.


Benefits of Healthy Gamer Coaching

After 16 weeks of Healthy Gamer Coaching, our clients see:

  • 45% improvement in feelings of anxiety.
  • 47% improvement in feelings of depression.
  • 32% improvement in sense of life purpose.
  • 25% improvement in sense of control.

Healthy Gamer is a very science-driven organization, so we measure the impact of HG Coaching on feelings of depression and anxiety, as well as life purpose. If you are dealing with a problem on your own, feel hopeless and isolated, then HG Coaching can help with that.

  • HG Coaching helps you find someone in your corner, whether that is your coach or a peer. This person is trying to understand you and what makes things so hard for you. Having somebody understand and validate your feelings and help you work through them can be uplifting. It can be a motivator in itself for the client to do better. 
  • Once clients understand themselves better, they feel like their issues aren’t so overwhelming. They don’t feel constrained because their problems are no longer a giant unknown variable in their life that randomly prevents them from building the life they want to live.
  • Clients feel like they should be “normal” but aren’t. A coach can help you realize that what you’re going through is perfectly normal because of the hand you dealt in life.
  • Coaches help clients understand why they are feeling the way they are. Understanding why they feel this way can help a lot, even without a diagnosis or treatment of any particular kind. That is why coaching is a subclinical intervention but not a solution to clinical problems. 

For example, if a client has issues with sleep and asks their Coach about what to do to get more sleep, the Coach cannot help with that problem; Coaches aren’t subject experts. However, the Coach can ask their client questions to help them uncover the root of their behavior. They can help the client understand why they stay up till 4 AM, how it feels to wake up with 3 hours of sleep and not function, and what that means for their life and happiness.

For more information about how we measure outcomes of the Healthy Gamer Coaching Program, click here.

Personal vs. Group Coaching

Personal Coaching

healthy gamer personal coaching pros and cons

In Personal Coaching, you meet with a Healthy Gamer Coach for 50 minutes, once every week, for a minimum of 8 sessions. The focus of personal coaching is on you and you alone. 

Pros
  1. You get to talk about the struggles that you’re facing in your life. You get to pick what you want to work on, and your coach acts as a mirror for you to see your own problems, and by doing that, allow you to analyze them better and come to a solution yourself. 
  2. Coaching is about empowering the client to learn how to face life. It's not about the coach providing the client with solutions or giving them advice. Think about the number of times someone in your life has given you advice - were you able to follow through on that?
  3. Coaching realizes that most of the time, people have the information they need to move forward. However, they lack someone in their corner. They lack someone who can support them through the ups and downs of creating and following through on their plans to achieve their goals.
Cons
  1. All of the attention is on you. Your coach relies on the information you give them, so there is not much room for another perspective. You have to do most of the heavy lifting in personal coaching to figure out and work through your struggles.
  2. Your coach is not there to give advice or problem-solve for you. They are there to ask the right questions, validate your frustration, shame, anger, resentment, and other emotions, as well as root for you throughout your journey. We’ve noticed that this continued support is what empowers clients to make meaningful changes in their lives.

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Group Coaching

healthy gamer group coaching pros and cons

In Group Coaching, you meet with a Healthy Gamer Coach and eight others for 90 minutes, once every week for a minimum of 16 sessions. Group coaching focuses on elevating the group and empowering the group members to support each other towards their goals and through their difficulties, emotional or otherwise.

Pros
  1. You get compassion, perspective, and understanding from people who aren’t getting paid to be there. These people are on the same playing field as you. To hear, “Hey, I think what you’re going through is tough, and having known you for x number of weeks, I believe that you can get through this” can be very motivating. Hearing that from one person can give you a lot of hope, so imagine what happens when an entire group of people feels that way about you.
  2. The coach is a facilitator who teaches the group members how to coach each other. When you’re getting the personal coaching experience but from each group member, it has a massive AoE healing effect. To see that someone else is going through the same things as you, and seeing them get through it, can be inspiring in its own way. 
  3. Seeing your problems in someone else, helping them through that, and then realizing, “Hey, this is something I've been ignoring for some time, and something I can do as well”, can be very empowering. It's like watching a stream and saying, “I relate to that person a lot.” You can see that person’s problems clearly and have empathy for them when you’re the one typing in chat, but when you are the one who is going through the problem, it becomes hard to see. Therefore,  If you feel lonely and isolated, Group Coaching can help with that.
Cons
  1. It takes time for a group to figure out its pace. The first few sessions are what it takes to establish group dynamics and teach the group how to help each other. The coach is quite active in the first few sessions, pointing out particular responses, asking people how they feel upon hearing certain things, and validating people’s perspectives. 
  2. Not everyone gets equal time to talk and discuss their problems in one given session. In most sessions, the group may spend time talking about just one or two member’s problems. However, throughout the lifecycle of the group, the aim is to help all the members equally. Clients who drop out of groups in the first few sessions miss out on this benefit of group coaching. For people who need personalized attention, Group Coaching may not be a good fit.
  3. Groups take time to come online; they are an investment that takes time to yield results. The clients that benefit the most from groups are the ones that take the time to stay in the group for at least 16 sessions. Some groups run for over a year, and they become a source of consistent support in the clients’ lives.

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Conclusion

sign up for healthy gamer coaching

Not all physical health is a pill, and not all mental health support is clinical therapy. Healthy Gamer Coaching bridges the gap in mental health with affordable, online coaching that helps people build the lives they want to live. Coaching gives you the tools to locate, analyze and solve your and other people’s problems.

Traditional mental health focuses on illnesses, whereas Healthy Gamer Coaching focuses on self-understanding, emotional processing, and moving forward to build the life you want. Therefore, HG Coaching is NOT therapy.

In Personal Coaching, you get to talk about the struggles that you’re facing in your life. You get to pick what you want to work on, and your coach acts as a mirror for you to see your own problems, and by doing that, allow you to analyze them better and come to a solution yourself. The downside is that all of the attention is on you. Your coach relies on the information you give them, so there is not much room for another perspective. You have to do most of the heavy lifting in personal coaching to figure out and work through your struggles.

In Group Coaching, you get compassion, perspective, and understanding from people who aren’t getting paid to be there. These people are on the same playing field as you. To see that someone else is going through the same things as you, and seeing them get through it, can be inspiring in its own way. The downside is that it takes time for a group to figure out its pace. The first few sessions are what it takes to establish group dynamics and teach the group how to help each other. Not everyone gets equal time to talk and discuss their problems throughout a session. However, throughout the lifecycle of the group, the aim is to help all the members equally. Clients who drop out of groups in the first few sessions miss out on this benefit of group coaching.

 Both Personal and Group Coaching have their strengths and weaknesses. If you have any questions about the Healthy Gamer Coaching Program, drop us a line at support@healthygamer.gg

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