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What is counselling?

Your questions answered

Counselling is a safe, confidential therapy which involves talking through your situation and your feelings with someone trained to listen with empathy.

GamCare Counselling offers you the chance to explore the causes of your gambling behaviour and the effects gambling has on your life, and helps put it in context of your life experiences.

Your counsellor will help you explore and consider your life and relationships and will help you find the best method to deal with the effects that your gambling has. They will also work with you to help you make a sustained change to your gambling behaviour and support you during the process of change.

If you are affected by a friend or family member’s gambling, speaking to a counsellor can help you to explore the impact that gambling has on your life and to focus on your own needs.

GamCare offers both individual and group sessions. Our service is:

  • Free
  • Confidential
  • Flexible
  • Delivered by qualified counsellors

How can counselling help?

The type of counselling treatment you'll receive at GamCare is called psychotherapy. One of the key objectives of psychotherapy is to help you gain a better understanding of the issues that are troubling you.

The main aims of GamCare counselling are:

  • To help stop or reduce the frequency of problem gambling
  • To help develop ways of coping with problem gambling behaviour
  • To help understand some of the underlying reasons why gambling has become a problem
  • To help address related issues that are causing harm or damage
  • To help develop a productive and healthy life without problem gambling

So you'll tell me what to do?

No. Your counsellor is there to support you and respect your views. They will work to help you understand your problems better so you can find ways to cope with them and overcome them.

We have an integrative approach to counselling, which means that we can help you explore both the problem gambling as well as the thoughts and feelings which may motivate this behaviour.

Who can receive counselling?

GamCare provides a confidential counselling service for anyone who is experiencing difficulties resulting from a gambling problem or gambling 'addiciton' – including partners and family members. It is available for anyone over the age of 16 in England, Scotland and Wales, who has been affected by their own or someone else’s problem gambling in the last 12 months.

Where can I receive counselling?

Free GamCare counselling is available either online or face-to-face at one of three convenient locations in London. If you're not in London, we also provide face-to-face counselling at many locations around the UK, delivered our network of partner agencies who are trained and funded by GamCare. 

To find out about GamCare counselling services in your area you can look at our interactive map or see our partners list.

If you cannot see a listing for your area, please contact the the National Gambling HelpLine on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or talk to our NetLine Advisers for more ideas about support and counselling treatment close to you. You can also ask the team about online counselling.

How many sessions will I have?

We offer brief interventions, from around three sessions, however generally your treatment will have the most impact if you are able to commit to around 12 weekly sessions, each lasting 50 minutes. Sessions will usually be on the same day and at the same time each week, however we will try to be flexible if you are unable to make a regular weekly session.

How quickly will I be seen by a counsellor?

This will depend on your availability to attend a regular weekly session. When your initial assessment is completed, we will allocate you to a counsellor as soon as possible, and book you in for the same appointment time each week. If you are able to commit to an appointment time, you should be able to start counselling within two weeks at the most.

What if it doesn't work?

Counselling 'works' differently for all of us. The process of recovery for problem gamblers is also different for each person, but talking to a counsellor is a good way to begin to understand why you or someone close to you may feel compelled to gamble. 

If you change your mind about receiving counselling at any time, this is your choice and you can let your counsellor know you don't wish to continue. Likewise, if you feel that you would benefit from more sessions or a different type of counselling in the future, you can contact our team to make another referral.

How can I register for counselling?

To register for GamCare counselling services in your area you can look at our interactive map or see our partners list to find contacts for the counselling service in your area. If you're interested in speaking to a counsellor in one of our London offices, you can register through our online form.

Alternatively you can contact the GamCare NetLine or HelpLine on Freephone 0808 8020 133.

If you know someone who may benefit from specialist problem gambling counselling, please do recommend GamCare. Please remember that the person you are recommending will need to contact us and arrange an assessment themselves. 

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