We offer a range of one- to three-hour workshops on topics of interest across games, targeted to general audiences, leadership, game designers, and community managers
Mental Health 101
This workshop is designed to get everyone on the same page and provide some context for understanding mental health, mental illness, and the tools available to address both. The workshop will also cover the difference between therapy and empathic support, including how to maintain good boundaries and protect and foster your own mental health.
A lot of people are suffering from burnout – especially as the pandemic and quarantine continue into year two. What is burnout (beyond exhaustion and overwork)? How do we recognize it, what are the factors, and what are some key tools to addressing it? How can we ever mitigate the conditions of burnout, given how challenging our external environment is?
These sessions are designed to provide a space to discuss ongoing issues in employees’ work experience. These are not therapeutic services. They are open spaces for sharing and reflection, carefully and heavily moderated by trained Take This staff and volunteers. In some cases, summary reports of feedback are provided to leadership following sessions, but no individually identifying information is ever shared.
Mental Health AMA
Take This can host AMA sessions on a variety of mental health topics. AMAs can be wide-ranging, or cover specific topics such as:
- Anxiety & Depression: The two most common mental health diagnoses are familiar to many, but the details of what it means to experience the symptoms and challenges of these diagnoses can be hard to understand and live with.
- Going to Therapy: Therapy is an excellent and effective way to address mental health needs, but it carries a healthy dose of stigma – as well as plenty of incorrect myths (lying on a couch, anyone?).
- Video Games and Mental Health: There are lots of misconceptions about the ways in which games can help or hinder mental health. This AMA would be useful for game creators of all backgrounds to better understand the uses and effects of games.
Coping with Crisis & Anger in Live Interactions
Managing online communities and interacting live with your players presents certain challenges. One common challenge is being approached for help with your community members’ urgent emotional needs, especially if you’re trained to offer technical and practical support, rather than emotional and friendly engagement. Heavy focus will be placed on role clarity and boundary setting, quick rapport building, and greater knowledge of outside resources.
Crisis Listening for Managers
Crises are – by definition – stressful. Being able to compassionately listen to others’ stress while managing your own role is a challenging task, but it is easier with some practice. Managers are often caught between their desire to support their team completely and their responsibilities to the larger company. This workshop will cover some concrete skills for active, empathic listening, as well as how to clarify your role to others.
Leadership & Self-Care Roundtable
We’ll start this roundtable off with a rundown of the science on why self-care and time away from work is so important (and why modeling it matters), as well as an overview of self-compassion as a tool for approaching self-care with greater success. The session then moves on to a guided brainstorming session and conversation about the specific tactics and tools each person can draw on to more effectively create separate spaces, including time to build emotional resilience, for themselves.
Online Harassment: Communities & Creators
This workshop is designed to be an “Online Harassment 101” course. In this workshop, we will overview the scope of harassment in gaming communities with a focus on the harassment of game creators through social media. This is designed to be a one-hour workshop. An additional two hour solutions-focused round table about how to integrate effective policy and support structures within your specific organization can be added to this workshop package.
Video Game Effects: What Do Games Really Do?
Concern about the potential impact of digital games on its players is as old as video games themselves. Once digital games expanded beyond the university labs where they were first developed, the attention they garnered from researchers and the press began to reflect a fear of this emerging media. Despite video games’ 40+ year history, the world of video games is seen as a treacherous place by many. This ‘moral panic’ surrounding video games can create incredible amounts of stress on employees in the industry and lead to confrontation between the press, public, and gaming studios. The aim of this workshop is to provide participants with a better understanding of the influence that digital games can have on players to better combat this panic with scientific rigor.
Optimizing Game Design: Diversity, Representation, and Psychological Impact
Digital games are often discussed as tools for learning and change, but how can industry professionals optimize the conditions for change? Drawing on work from psychology, sociology, and media studies, this course is specifically designed for game makers to gain a better understanding of how representation and diversity are critical for optimizing their games for impact and engagement.
Design Deep Dive
This workshop is design specific, hour long intensive on the needs and challenges of creating a space that fosters diversity, inclusion and belonging. This workshop will highlight several empirically grounded approaches to understanding diversity in design as it relates to mental health, including representation in games, designing for and with vulnerable populations, and ethical considerations. Suggestions for how to implement this information in day-to-day design work will also be discussed.
Psychological Safety, Creativity, and Delivering Bad News
Psychological safety is something we do not talk about enough, especially as it regards studio culture and operations. It is an often misunderstood concept that can influence creative output and employee sustainability but may also have an impact on how business decisions affect employee wellbeing. This workshop will focus on offering a foundational understanding of psychological safety, how it can directly affect your studios, and how considering it may minimize the negative impact of bad news and difficult decisions on employees, particularly layoffs. This will be a 90-minute, lecture-style presentation with slides, which also combines a heavy emphasis on classroom-style interactivity and brainstorming opportunities, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A.