When the ladybug has to count her spots

When the ladybug has to count her spots
This is a screenshot cover of "Ricky and the Spider." Credit: picture: Huber Nathalie

About two percent of all children suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which consists of obsessive thoughts and acts. Obsessive thoughts are intrusive thoughts such as fear or contamination, injury or violent notions that are perceived to be pointless or distressing. Obsessive acts are ritualized acts that have to be repeated frequently, such as washing one's hands, asking questions, counting, touching, checking or collecting. Without treatment, OCD often has serious consequences, such as children no longer being able to go to school on account of their symptoms.

Game supports psychotherapists

Nowadays, , possibly supplemented with medication, is considered to be the most reliable method of treating in children. To help with evidence-based OCD treatment, the Center of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Zurich has developed the "Ricky and the Spider". The game incorporates the key treatment elements of the cognitive-behavioral approach and makes it easier for children to understand the disorder, its consequences and the treatment.

Ladybug has to count dots

In the game, a spider forces Ricky the Grasshopper and Lisa the Ladybug to do things they do not really want to do. For instance, Ricky is only allowed to hop across the meadow in a particular pattern and Lisa has to count the spots on her wings every evening before she goes to sleep. Fearing the spider, they become entangled deeper and deeper in OCD's web. In the end, Ricky asks Dr. Owl for help.

Distribution of treatment

Veronika Brezinka, who devised the game, hopes that it will help evidence-based treatments to spread beyond the university. "The game is designed to encourage affected children to confront their OCD and help psychotherapists to treat the disorder," explains Brezinka. Much like the computer game "Treasure Hunt", which was developed at the Center of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry three years ago, "Ricky and the Spider" is not a self-help game, but rather a professional tool and should only be used for the purposes of psychotherapeutic treatment.

Provided by University of Zurich

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study finds young children can develop full-blown OCD

Sep 30, 2008

A new study by researchers at the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center has found that children as young as four can develop full-blown obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and often exhibit many of the same OCD characteristics ...

Young children with OCD benefit from family-based treatment

May 15, 2008

Although children as young as 5 can be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), few research studies have looked at treatments specifically geared toward young children with this disorder. Now, a new study from ...

Wrong type of help from parents could worsen child's OCD

Jun 17, 2009

For most parents, soothing a child's anxiety is just part of the job. But for a parent whose child has obsessive-compulsive disorder, soothing anxiety and helping with behaviors linked to the disease could lead to more severe ...

Recommended for you

Suicide risk falls substantially after talk therapy

6 hours ago

Repeat suicide attempts and deaths by suicide were roughly 25 percent lower among a group of Danish people who underwent voluntary short-term psychosocial counseling after a suicide attempt, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ...

Brains transform remote threats into anxiety

Nov 21, 2014

Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. An onslaught of news ...

Mental disorders due to permanent stress

Nov 21, 2014

Activated through permanent stress, immune cells will have a damaging effect on and cause changes to the brain. This may result in mental disorders. The effects of permanent stress on the immune system are studied by the ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.