Do your friends, family or coworkers still cling to old-fashioned notions of video games as the provenance of social misfits and those who can't stay focused on the demands and rewards of real life? Take heart -- there are professionals out there who understand the gaming perspective and are working to help normalize gaming as mainstream pastime it has actually become. One of the many leading the charge is WoW player and master's-level psychology student Erinia of Cenarion Circle, whose track toward becoming a licensed mental health counselor includes helping both players and other mental health professionals understand the pulls, demands, and concerns of players who enjoy games like WoW.
Erinia has discovered that magic sweet spot where work, play, and a passion for all of it come together. "Am I an exceptional player?" Erinia asks. "Probably not, but WoW has opened up a lot of doors for me in the real world." We would accuse the lady of understatement here; click past the break for more on counseling, World of Warcraft, and new perspectives on how to help troubled people -- who happen to enjoy playing games -- understand themselves.