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George Hartwell M.Sc. - a professional counselor with 30 plus years of experience - uses the tools of Listening Prayer Therapy and Life Transformation Therapy.

Gambling addiction - Problems with Gambling

© George Hartwell M.Sc., 2003, www.HealMyLife.com, (416) 234-1850

Treat gambling addiction with exclusive "Life Transformation Therapy."

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Who has a problem with gambling? 

Problem gamblers (gambling addiction, compulsive gambling, pathological gambling, problem gambling) are those whose job, finances, marriage, friendships, employment or sanity is at risk because of money spent on gambling and the related activities and behaviour that support the gambling habit.

Ontario wants to reduce the risk to problem gamblers. What is the risk?

  1. Gamblers bit with gambling addiction may wake up to find they have spent $20,000 to $50,000 creating debt or eliminating life savings.

  2. Ontario counted 15 gambler-related suicides in 2004. Gamblers caught up in the addiction soon find they are overwhelmed by deep debt and may choose to commit suicide.

  3. Gamblers bit by the gambling addiction bug trigger deep debt which can lead to other bahviour casuing probglems for themselves ro others: abusive or homicidal behaviour, alcohol over-consumption, sexual infidelity, theft, drug use. The crisis caused by gambling addiction puts job, friendships, marriage and financial security at risk.

Why is Life Transformation Therapy helpful with gambling addiction?

Gambling is driven by a variety of social and emotional causes that can be explored in counselling.  Life Transformation goes beyond insight to activate change in core beliefs and identity patterns.

What is the background of Problem Gamblers?

The background of problem gamblers (based on a study authored by Dr. Bonnie Lee, University of Ottawa):

How are marriages effected by Gambling Addiction?

Marriage interaction with problem gambling in one spouse includes: blame, sarcasm, "degraded" by non-gambling spouse, unable to talk to each other, loss of trust, suspicion and control; despair; suicide, and avoidance of conflict. To see how Life Transformation Therapy deal with problems in marriages see Problems in Marriage

What are the Core Beliefs and Needs behind Problem Gambling

There are a variety of beliefs, motivations and needs expressed in gambling addiction (compulsive gambling, pathological gambling, problem gambling).  Listening Prayer Therapy, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, replaces core misbeliefs with truth. 

"When I'm bigger and better, I'll show 'em!" (Need for power and revenge.)

"If I had enough money, I can solve anything." (Need for money.)

Rebellion against the "no's"of childhood. (Need for autonomy and breakout.)

"I can do what I want!"and "I don't have to tell anyone."

"I deserve this. I've been working since I was 11 years old." (Need for relief and breakout.)

"I can make life better by being a good provider." (Need for money and respect.)

"It was a vacation for me - a place I could have fun." (Need for relief and breakout.) 

"I lost total control. It gives me relief." (Need for relief and breakout.)

"It's a safe place. They call you 'Sir'and serve you drinks." (Need for respect.)

"I wanted to win. It's something I did by myself." (Need for achievement and power.)

Losing was a way of "torturing" and puniching himself for having made a "mistake." (Need for self-punishment, acting out failure.)

"I don't deserve it." (Need for self-punishment, acting out failure.)

Recent life transition or crisis associated with start of gambling addiction (compulsive gambling, pathological gambling, problem gambling) includes: retirement, marriage, birth of first child, immigration and loss of former profession, job demotion, job loss and financial loss. Husband who could do whatever he liked while she was stuck at home with the kids. Home is "terrifying."

Triggering events and states before a gambling episode include: boredom, loneliness and isolation, fatigue, anger, helplessness, unpleasant feelings, stress, lack of support, overwhelmed by work and demands.

Lorne Korman, Ph.D., C.Psych. (Head, Anger and Addiction ClinicCentre for Addiction and Mental Health  the University of Toronto) notes the need to treat the links between problem gambling,  anger problems and addictions (alcohol and drug abuse.) He found it helped to address anger, substance abuse and gambling addiction at the same time. He believes the presence of problem anger may make gambling and other addictions treatment less effective if anger is not addressed concurrently in treatment. Bottom line: in the treatment of gambling addiction it is neccesary, in some cases, to treat substance abuse and anger problems at the same time.

Every year Ontario-based Responsible Gambling Council brings counselors and academics together to seek solutions to problems caused by gambling addiction (also called: compulsive gambling, pathological gambling,  and problem gambling.)

For more about this conference see www.responsiblegambling.org. Included in the conference content: The role of ADHD in problem gambling, Responsible Gambling Challenges Posed by the Internet; Self-Exclusion: Is it Working or is it Time for a Change? Problem Gambling and Suicide: What Can We Do to Help?