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File:DLS-CSBStudentsplayingChess.JPG

Chess therapy is a form of psychotherapy that attempts to use chess games between the therapist and client or clients to form stronger connections between them towards a goal of confirmatory or alternate diagnosis and consequently, better healing. Its founder can be considered to be the Persian polymath Rhazes (AD 852-932), who was at one time the chief physician of the Baghdad hospital. His use of tactics and strategies in chess games as metaphors in real life to help his patients think clearer were rediscovered and employed by Fadul and Canlas.[1]

One of the earliest reported cases of chess therapy involves the improvement in an isolated, schizoid, 16-year old youth that took place after he became interested in chess.[2] Chess provided an outlet for his hostile impulses in a non-retaliatory manner. Good use was made of the patient's digressions from the game and his newly acquired ability to speak about his feelings, fantasies and dreams which the particular emotional situation of the game touched off. The report demonstrates how the fact that chess is a game, and not real, enabled the patient to exert some conscious control over his feelings and thus learn to master them to a limited extent.

In a relatively recent review by Janetius[3] chess therapy is considered to be a form of creative therapy.

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