I think we talked about this in class but would virtual reality simulations be qualified as a game? They after all have rules constructed by their coders so maybe it could fit into a subcategory of game. We also have been talking about how games can cause "gamer addiction." However, through "virtual reality exposure," games can actually help people with psychological disorders.
In my psychology class we have been discussing psychotherapy methods to treat psychological disorders like phobias, post traumatic stress disorder, etc. One method is called flooding where a person is exposed all at once to their greatest fear without any negative consequences (if afraid of heights they might go to the top of a building but be perfectly safe). This idea of flooding can be taken further by exposing a person (for one to several hours) to a virtual reality simulation with their greatest fears like battle zones (PTSD), flying, spiders, etc. This helps people not avoid their fears (for psychologists avoidance leads to negative reinforcement which continues undesirable patterns of behavior) and eventually learn to face them.
The benefit of having a simulation is that exposure can be done multiple times without the cost or danger of doing it in real life. For example, flying would get expensive and time consuming. Also when treating PTSD, it is safer to simulate a battlezone rather than to go to an actual one.
I know by summarizing I probably left out some details, but please weigh in on what you think. Do simulations count as games if they help people in this way?