Paul Holinger, MD is a therapist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst who works with children and adolescents. He writes regularly for Psychology Today and runs a column on his own site.

Dr. Holinger translates key concepts of the psychoanalytic world in a very useful and clear manner to help parents raise their kids.

His book What Babies Say Before They Can Talk: The Nine Signals Infants Use to Express Their Feelings explores ways for parents to better understand their kids’ early language and consequently to improve their ability to be empathic with their kids.

So, when he recently asked that I contribute to a column about video games for Psychology Today, I naturally jumped at the chance.

One of the core ideas of psychoanalysis revolves around the concept of meaning. That which carries meaning for us can hold sway over our internal and emotional worlds.

Around the time of my fellowship and afterward I was interested in the idea of playing video games in a healthy way. Far too often, I would run into someone, either a colleague or a media source, vilifying games. I knew from playing games myself and from my discussion with clients and their parents that when gaming became problematic, it seemed to be about much more than about the games themselves. The very meaning of playing the game, whether it involved staying away from a parent, avoiding various difficult developmental paths, among other ideas, were more the issues. The games were only a symptom.

My project in fellowship became “Video Game Addiction” which eventually turned into the book Video Game Play and Addiction: A Guide for Parents.