Dr. Thomas Lucking, PhD, LMFT

The World Health Organization has added 'gaming disorder' to its International Classification of Diseases

I help individuals and families with video game addiction. My background in software engineering combined with my doctoral research on social media and well-being gives me unique qualifications and insight into gaming addiction. Technology is humanity's most important tool - the awe-inspiring result of human passion and creativity. Our astounding creations, video games included, can be used for good or bad. It is the question of right or wrong use that determines whether video games are health-promoting or health-destroying.


Video games can be addictive but not all are equally addictive. It's important to understand what games your child or loved one is playing. Video games target natural interests of children. Males are more prone to addiction than females because of the nature of aggressive and violent games which they are attracted to. The more highly addicting video games allow for self-authored identities. You can be whoever you want without the work that's required in the real world. Social connections are much easier with one's virtual identity and anonymity. These games offer behavioral reinforcement with rewards, levels, and obligations to teammates. All of this adds up to high-risk behaviors if adequate discipline and controls are not in place.


When the amount of time spent playing video games gets into the 15 to 30 hours per week range problems start to surface and you could be dealing with an addiction. Problems that stem from video game addiction include:


  • Poor academic or job performance

  • Lying and manipulation of others

  • Negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, and anger

  • Using video games as a coping mechanism for stress

  • Continued play despite real world consequences

  • Social isolation, escape into a virtual world


My approach to the treatment of video game addiction is holistic on an individual and systems level. Behavior never occurs in a vacuum and the context must be taken into account. A comprehensive intake is essential to treatment. Certain parenting styles lend themselves more towards addiction than others. Stressors also increase the risk of addiction, especially when healthy coping strategies are absent. The longer an addiction has been present the harder it is to change. Treatment occurs within all three time frames of a person's life: past, present, future. Treatment modalities include but are not limited to:


  • Cognitive and behavioral therapy

  • Identifying codependent relationships

  • Trauma healing

  • Stress management

  • Neurofeedback

  • Spiritual support

  • Positive prosocial relationships

  • Interventions

  • In-patient referrals

  • Internal and external family systems


If you, your child, or a loved one is suffering from video game addiction please know they may not be able to help themselves. They may need help even though they won't admit it. If you have any questions about treatment please contact me. I provide diagnoses, treatment plans, and accountability. View my website (www.ThomasLucking.com) to learn more and schedule a consultation.

Office Locations:

  • Los Gatos, CA

  • Santa Cruz, CA

  • Remote – Video & Phone



Dr. Thomas Lucking, PhD

PO Box 2013

Los Gatos, CA 95031