I met Elsa Brais-Dussault, psychologist via the various social networks dedicated to video games. She now writesfor Écran Partagé about psychology and video games.
I want to speak with her today because I know she is interested in the gaming industry as a whole, whether it’s board games, role-playing games, or video games. She is also interested in how gamification can help parents and children in everyday life.
Inevitably, our interests come together so here is his interview:
Marc: Hello Elsa! Could you please tell us what your current profession is?
Elsa: Hello Marc, I am currently a clinical psychologist in a private environment. I work with children, teenagers and adults with different needs and problems in terms of their well-being. With my LudiPsy:mental health and gamification platform, I integrate gamification, observation and analysis of games into my intervention practices.
Marc: And is this your first job related to the game?
Elsa: In fact, I’ve already worked as a group leader for “escape rooms” (full-size board games in which players have to solve puzzles to get out of a room in a building),in a board game shop. This was my first job directly related to games.
Marc: What studies did you do?
Elsa: I did a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in international and intercultural communication and a phd in psychology. My research was oriented towards the double minority and school adaptation, which had no direct link with the use of games.
M: What has been your background in working in the video game industry?
E: During my master’s degree in international and intercultural communication atUQÀM,I had the pleasure of meeting Maude Bonenfant, professor-researcher and director of the Homo LudensResearch Group. She taught me the semiotic approach and the analysis of representations and the meaning given to symbolic and pictorial representations. In short, it allowed me to see the potential of the analysis of symbolic and cultural representations in television and pictorial content. The idea then simmered to carry out the analysis of the games, to dissect them in order to understand their meaning and the analysis of the various components related to mental health and cognitive development.
M: What does a typical day as a Playful Psychologist look like?
E: At the moment I work mainly in telework. I use video conferencing platforms for my clinical procedures. The approach is different than in the office for the use of games. I adapted myself by using digitalized gaming sites, such as Board Game Arena or screen sharing during in-game intervention activities. As part of LudiPsy (this is the personal work concerning gamification and mental health that Elsa brings together under the same name on the Internet), I try to offer informative, awareness-raising and educational content in a playful and interactive approach. I am involved in various projects and on several social media to offer resources to different player profiles. This requires good organization and a good capacity for self-motivation. It is a great challenge at the moment and the positive feedback encourages me to continue my efforts to promote the integration and adaptation of games in intervention approaches.
M: What are the points you enjoy the most while working in the industry?
E: To collaborate with various people; players, game designers, content creators, in the field of video games, among others. Collaborations allow me to constantly learn more in the field of gaming, to better understand certain issues and to create current and relevant content.
M: What are the negatives when working in the industry?
E: The organization of interviews and discussions, audio and video editing and project management are time-consuming, especially in front of a computer. Being an active person, I enjoy moving and being outside. I must therefore set myself personal limits, in order to respect myself, even if it is difficult, because I have several ideas and projects in mind that I would like to concretize and make accessible to all.