A container is an intentionally designed and maintained environment that affords certain types of experiences, usually of a transformational, cathartic, vulnerable, edgy, or intimate nature. Arising from psychoanalysis and group dynamics, the concepts of containers and containment have become popularized by personal development programs in recent decades.
Technically, each larp creates a space within which play can occur that is mediated by implicit or explicit social contracts of play, also called a magic circle. However, application of container theory to this process helps conceptualize the construction of the play space as a holding environment, where conscious and mindful attention is placed upon creating a perception of security and nurturance in the participants. Larp containers are designed to emphasize this perception of "being held" by the organizers and other participants. The purpose of these containers is to encourage participants to push their edges for growth within the fictional frame. e.g. enacting difficult content, processing painful emotions, sharing vulnerable parts of themselves, or practicing new skills in a less risky environment where they feel more supported than they normally would.
While larp containers are not considered substitutes for traditional forms of individual or group therapy, designers and facilitators acknowledge the potentially sensitive and transformational potential of larp. Thus, the design emphasis for containers focuses upon creating intentional structures of support for players, organizers, and designers before, during, and after the larp process.