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Pesky Gnats! – Game for children in therapy

Pesky Gnats is a computer game and app for children to play in therapy. gNATs are little flies whose sting leads to certain negative ways of thinking . These Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs) develop without the person noticing.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) was developed for adults and is not very child friendly. To make CBT easier to use with children, Dr Gary O’ Reilly from the UCD School of Psychology along with his colleagues Dr David Coyle and Dr Nicola McGlade designed and developed Pesky Gnats! The game revolves around the story of a trip to an island where the child’s character meets the famous explorer David gNATenborough.  As the story unfolds the child helps David gNATenbourough with experiments in his gNAT lab.  This helps the child to learn how best to deal with Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs).

Pesky Gnats!  is designed for use in clinical practice where children play the game along with a suitably qualified mental health professional .The social narrative of Pesky Gnats helps children to think in a social context which helps them to develop their CBT related thinking skills.

Media Services recorded voiceovers by five professional voiceover artists playing the Pesky Gnats characters – Shona, Beach Dude, Kirsten and Scott. The audio was edited and processed to a tight deadline for training the mental health team who have begun the first research study into the game.

Further information from the Pesky Gnats!website

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