Ben Michaelis, PhD, an evolutionary clinical psychologist and author of Your Next Big Thing ($10; amazon.com), isn’t surprised by these reports. In fact, he’s already seen Pokémon Go help one of his own clients. “I think it’s a genuinely positive development,” he says.
Michaelis believes apps like this one are most likely to help people with mild to moderate cases of anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia. “The game could provide motivation to go outside and explore the world through a sort of enhanced reality,” he explains. “It could also provide people with enough of a distraction from their fears and inner monologue to get them to do something that might be challenging for them.”
And, as we already know from research, getting more exercise and spending time outdoors can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.