Session Zero

Session Zero is a discussion podcast that seeks to explore the psychology of role-playing. Each episode will feature a new aspect of the experience of role-playing, viewed through the lens of psychology by clinical psychologist Porter Green and industrial-organizational psychologist Steve Discont, They’re doing the thinking, and you get to do the listening.

Porter Green is a clinical psychologist living in Chicago with zer spouse and their three cats. Ze is a long time RPG enthusiast both of the tabletop and digital varieties. Porter loves to learn about people and share their stories, and often writes zer own as well. Currently ze is working on adding more queer shapeshifter novels to the world. “

Steve Discont loves live-action role-playing and tabletop gaming a lot. Like… a lot. He is an industrial-organizational psychology Ph.D candidate, living in Chicago with his wonderful husband who helps to produce this show. When he isn’t gaming, he can be found having strong opinions about hip hop dance styles, fandom communities, and queer issues.

Episode 21: Research on Roleplaying

The Session Zero duo are joined by Ben Aldred, Assistant Professor and Liaison and Reference Librarian from The University of Illinois at Chicago, to discuss why it can be so difficult to find research on roleplaying and roleplayers in the field of psychology.

Full Show Notes

Episode 20: Therapy with Characters: Spit, from the Uhuru

Today, Session Zero will be doing something a little different by pulling out our pretend therapy couch. Porter is joined by Spit, seasoned sky pirate from the good ship Uhuru, after Spit has been sent to mandatory therapy by order of his ship’s HR.

Full Show Notes

Episode 19: Running Games with ADHD

Another episode, another special guest! This week, The One Shot Network’s James D’Amato joins the Session Zero duo to talk about the strengths and challenges of being a gamemaster with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The three of us jump right in and discuss strategies for success, workarounds for common struggles, and  how to be kind to...

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Episode 18: Colonialism in Gaming, Part 2

This week,  the Session Zero duo have a Special Guest!  Join us while we speak with James Mendez Hodes about colonialism in gaming and its impacts on the worlds we build. In this second part of a two-part Mendez special, we explore what colonialism looks like in traditional fantasy and cyberpunk, and investigate what games...

Full Show Notes

Episode 17: Colonialism in Gaming, Part 1

This week the Session Zero duo have a Special Guest!  Join us while we speak with James Mendez Hodes about colonialism in gaming and its impacts on the worlds we build. In this first part of a two-part Mendez special, we learn broadly about colonialism, as well as its place within the sciences.

Full Show Notes

Episode 16: Rituals at the Table

The Session Zero duo delve into what the field of psychology thinks rituals are, what purpose they can serve at the table, and explore some of their own tried and true rituals together. 

Full Show Notes

Episode 15: Personal Growth & Development

Our characters have taught us all sorts of interesting and useful life skills, like public speaking and picking locks!  Come join Porter and Steve while they discuss personal growth through gaming and explore the ways that we support and scaffold each other towards our developmental goals and values.

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Episode 14: Escapism

Escape from your day to day with the the Session Zero duo as we explore the concept of escapism.  Learn about how our imaginary journeys can serve in managing psychological distress and emotional wellbeing as well as being a really good time.

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Episode 13: Representations of Mental Illness in Gaming

The Session Zero duo delve into mental illness and its function in game worlds. Join us in thinking a little deeper about the tropes and traditions of our hobby and how they sometimes mimic  people’s lived experience of pain.

Full Show Notes

Episode 12: Personal Stigma and Gaming

The Session Zero duo explore those awkward feelings of concern and fear of judgment that some tabletop and live action roleplaying gamers feel when interacting with non-gamers. We will dive into the concept of stigma and explore what it’s like to experience the stigma of being a gamer.

Full Show Notes