How to Teach Social Skills with Role Playing Games: Session 190 with Rob Harvey


Manage episode 330651062 series 2804419
By Matt Cicoria. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Have you ever felt the thrill of rolling a 20-sided die? If you're in the general demographic of a Behavioral Observations listener, I'd guess probably not. However, it may not surprise you to learn that being the cosmically uncoordinated and socially challenged kid of the 80s, I certainly have.

Which is why I jumped at the chance to speak with Session 190 guest, Rob Harvey, about how he uses role-playing games, like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D for short), to teach social skills to his clients.

If you're not familiar with D&D, don't worry. We go over what that is in this podcast. Rob also goes on to explain that by playing these games, clients get to practice skills like speech prosody, turn taking, teamwork, conflict resolution, perspective taking, and so much more. So even if you are not interested in role-playing games in principle, you might want to check this show out nonetheless because of the benefits it may have for the people you work with.

I would also offer that this type of activity seems like an unexplored area for research. Rob shared some of the anecdotal outcomes he's seen in this podcast, and it just made me think of how great it would be to see if these findings could be scientifically investigated. As far as numbers go, Rob has some data that suggest over 90% of his clients go on to play these games with peers outside of therapeutic hours, so it definitely seems like something is there.

Here links to things we discussed:

Session 190 is brought to you with support from:

  • HRIC Recruiting. Barb Voss has been placing BCBAs in permanent positions throughout the US for just about a decade, and has been in the business more generally for 30 years. When you work with HRIC, you work directly with Barb, thereby accessing highly personalized service. So if you're about to graduate, you're looking for a change of pace, or you just want to know if the grass really is greener on the other side, head over to to schedule a confidential chat right away.
  • Behavior University. Their mission is to provide university quality professional development for the busy Behavior Analyst. Learn about their CEU offerings, including their brand new 8-hour Supervision Course, as well as their RBT offerings over at
  • The University of Cincinnati Online. UC Online designed a Master of Education in Behavior Analysis program that is 100% online and asynchronous, meaning you log on when it works for you. Want to learn more? Go to and click the “request info” button.
  • Lastly, need CEUs on the go? Check out the podcasts that are available for BACB Continuing Education.

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