SuperBetter is an online game and iPhone app for recovering from serious setbacks. Learn more about the game, and get information on when it is appropriate to use it, find out what young people thought of it, and read professional advice and young people’s tips for using it in practice.
This tool will assist with:
- building resilience in young people suffering social or physical difficulties
- goal setting and achievement for any young person
- social interaction and fun game playing.
SuperBetter is a free online interactive self-help game designed to increase physical, mental and social resilience in young people. Based on principles from cognitive behavioral therapy, flexible optimism, mindfulness, positive psychology, goal setting and self-acceptance, the game is most suitable for individuals wanting to achieve difficult recovery goals, such as recovery from depression. Players support their friends or “allies” in the game, highlighting the importance of maintaining strong social networks. Available as an iPhone and iPad application, new users are required to complete a brief registration form before playing.
Where to access this tool
When to use SuperBetter
SuperBetter can be introduced to any young individual willing and ready to develop emotional and physical resilience. The application can be helpful for young people suffering from significant social difficulties, a serious injury or disability, stress, lack of motivation or a family breakdown. It can also provide assistance to individuals wanting to gain further success in other challenging endeavours such as sports.
What young people thought of SuperBetter
- Interface is vibrant and engaging.
- Settings can be customised to personal preference and players have the ability to choose which tasks they would like to undertake.
- It’s interactive – players receive notifications on progress and can share results with others.
- Information and research behind challenges is relevant, helpful and concise.
- The terminology and navigation can be difficult to understand.
- Unable to use offline on mobile.
- Challenges can be boring and do not cover other issues like lack of motivation.
Professionals’ advice on using SuperBetter in practice
Once a professional has become familiar with the game’s navigation, they should present the tool during session as a form of supplementary therapy or homework.
Looking at the application together and using an example, professionals can advise clients which activities would be beneficial and assist with program personalisation.
It is essential that the professional highlight and revise with the client any activities they suggest which are NOT beneficial or are harmful to the client.
Feedback from clients on progression or any issues should be obtained during sessions.
Although SuperBetter is a self-help tool, in the mental health setting, professionals should work with young people to develop and individualise the key aspects of the program for the following reasons:
- I met some young people who have developed unhealthy coping strategies without realising it. For example when they feel sad they tell themselves "Don't be stupid you shouldn't be sad" and they think they just need to remind themselves of this more often (which would only increase shame and feelings of worthlessness). The risk with using SuperBetter for mental health difficulties is that some people may use the program to perpetuate negative coping strategies, such as avoidance, reassurance seeking or excessive dieting; or develop band aid solutions with adverse side effects.
- Some young people do not know how to develop realistic, achievable and graded goals (a key requirement of the game).
- Some young people cannot identify what their triggers or maintaining factors are ("Bad guys") or what activities (Power-ups) can counter them.
I found this tool very difficult to navigate initially and would strongly recommend familiarising yourself with this game before introducing it to a client.
Advice from young people
If the tool is introduced during session and professionals query young people regularly on their progression, they will be reminded that it is not just a game and something that has to be won.
If the young person is not self-motivated, notifications are perfect to help them stay on track.
This tool was reviewed by Anna and Doris, young people from ReachOut.com. Professional advice was provided by Justine Stephens-Reicher (Psychologist) and Lauren Mills (Youth Worker).
Using this tool
- Suggest it for young people requiring additional motivation for significant recovery challenges.
- Practice using the app and website so that you can assist the young person to use it and set appropriate goals.
- Check in with the young person regularly to ensure it is a helpful influence.