Pokémon and Progression: A Lesson in Mental Health

Daniel A. Kaufmann, Ph.D
Dr. Gameology on Twitch & The Gaming Persona Podcast
Owner of Area of Effect Counseling

This Mental Health Moment is a direct tie-in to the chapter

written by Dr. Gameology in

The Psychology of Pokémon, Available Now!

Chapter 16 – Learning to Be the Very Best: The Trainer’s Journey

by Dr. Daniel A. Kaufmann


All right, we are back at Twitch.tv/DrGameology, and I am setting the timer to have another great conversation about mental health. This time, it is coming from Pokémon Sword and Shield. We have just started a new game on the channel. We’re level five, and we haven’t gotten very far, and it’s a role-playing game.

In this RPG kind of game, you have to start small and you have to look at the challenges in the game like, “I’m going to go for that challenge later, and it’s okay to go after things later.”

When I’m talking with people to help them as a counselor or as a teacher, a lot of times we have a goal in our mind and we feel like we just want to reach for it and grab it now so we can make it ours. However, sometimes we have this thing called PROGRESSION, and it’s not standing in the way; it’s standing with us. We still have to be willing to walk with it and let it happen in our lives.


Pokémon and Progression: When we view obstacles as a problem, we give them power. If we take the time to level up (or in real-life, preparation), we can take a step forward until we are able to break through.


Role-playing games teach us that you can start small and you can take a step here and a step there. You can catch a few Pokémon. You can level up. You can defeat the next gym. One after the other, after the other, and before you know it, you start to see yourself as a hero.

Eventually, you become the Pokémon league champion!

Life offers us a lot of the same challenges, but we just want to succeed now.

I guess the Mental Health Moment that I’m thinking about at this low level of Pokémon Sword and Shield is to give yourself room to grow. You can’t be the very best like no one ever was without working for it. That’s really what life is all about.

Give yourself time to experience the progression, and when you continue the journey you’re going to make it. It may not look the way you thought it would, but it will be even better when you get there.

Thanks to everyone for watching (and reading). That was our Mental Health Moment. If you’re enjoying these, please like and subscribe to my channels on Twitch and YouTube.

This is Dr. Gameology, and as always…


Continue the Journey


Kaufmann, D. A. (2022). Learning to Be the Very Best: The Trainer’s Journey. In Bean, A. M. (Eds.), The Psychology of Pokémon (259-279). Leyline Publishing, Inc.

Dr. Gameology YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/c/DrGameology/featured

Dr. Gameology Twitch Page: https://www.twitch.tv/drgameology

Other Posts