How to work with gambling addiction

I have always found this a tough subject to work with in therapy. So I thought I would write an article and hope that people find it useful of what I have used.

  • Assessment: This is highly important to provide a good clear assessment of the persons problems and their life. Gambling can be a method of coping for the individual. They may have had trauma or they have things in there life that may be causing a problem for them at that particular time. This is important to assess and to recognise as this needs to be brought into the treatment.

  • Assessing potential triggers: This is very important as it needs to be identified as early as possible with someone and these can be brought into be worked on.

  • Symptom Removal: Do not attempt symptom removal. It is potentially dangerous and leaves someone very vulnerable and leaves the potential for something else to be replaced instead which could be potentially worse.

  • Psychoeducation: This is one of the most important aspects of working with gambling; this allows the client to understand about certain concepts such as “The Gamblers High” etc. and they need to have a good understanding of the biology and the cognitive factors that play a large role in this.

  • Distress tolerance: This is essential in regards to developing and working with the person's ability to withhold from acting on the addiction and building up levels of tolerance to the amount of distress experienced. Hypnotherapy and mindfulness can be utilised to help with this as well as a large amount of cognitive based exercises.

  • Parts therapy/schema therapy: I find this particularly useful when working with people that have a gambling addiction as I usually find that the gambling tendencies manifest from the impulsive child part of the unconscious and this can be very useful to work with.

  • EMDR: There is some evidence that shows that EMDR may be useful when working with addictions - more specifically if there are memories attached to the individual behaviours.

I have found that usually working with gambling addiction is never a quick thing and there has to be 100% commitment from the client when working with addiction or problem.

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Written by Douglas Kidd RMN,CertCBT, DipClinHyp, DipHyp, DipCouns, DipSN, DipHE

My name is Douglas Kidd I have a background as a Mental Health Nurse and also work privately as a hypnotherapist in private practice. I am currently working towards my Masters degree with the London College of Clinical Hypnosis. I love working with trauma, anxiety issues and lots of other issues.… Read more

Written by Douglas Kidd RMN,CertCBT, DipClinHyp, DipHyp, DipCouns, DipSN, DipHE

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